Friday, June 4, 2010

Texas Lilac Vitex, Another Cool Purple

Texas Lilac Vitex is also known as Mexican lavender, lilac chaste tree, hemp tree, monk's pepper, Indian spice or Vitex. Vitex agnus-castus is not a native plant in the US.

Vitex is a great alternative to buddleia where butterfly bushes do not thrive, as here.
This morning this Vitex was abuzz with bees and butterflies.

Besides the butterflies and the hummingbird hawk moth there
was a golden skipper, a big black/white striped bee
that buzzed my head and many tiny bees swarming.

This is one of four Vitex that I grew from cuttings from a Vitex 
that Nurse Gwen bought at a local nursery. I moved this one
from a shadier location after it was a big tree, cutting it to the ground.
The Vitex in shadier places are in bud, but not yet blooming.
They really bloom best in full sun and can be cut back to the ground
every Spring for fuller but fewer blooms, which I do not care to do.

After I made these pics Thursday morning, I limbed up the Vitex
for the convenience of mowing. I didn't think to wait until after
mowing to make pictures after Bahia seed heads were clipped.

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean at in the hot, humid depths of Southwest Georgia USA where Gardenias perfume the air and mophead hydrangeas are disgracefully lush.


  1. Those things are pretty cool!

  2. NellJean: Very beautiful pictures, especially love the last one. Your garden always looks so beautiful, and I love the color combination of purple, white and yellow! Is the tree in the distant with white flowers Crape Myrtles?

  3. I love Vitex, and am hoping to plant one here this fall.
    We had a white one, in our old garden. Wanted purple, but didn't find one that would make a good tree form. Every spring, it looked like a giant snow ball.

    Have a good weekend.

  4. Great pics and post. Look at those hydrangas, ours are just now starting to flower. How do you get them soo blue? We've dumped coffee grounds for a year but it looks like the flowers will be pink. jim

  5. Thanks, Linda, Ami and Kyna. The tree in the distance is a white Crape Myrtle, yes. The Colonel's Wife's daughter helped me pull seedlings from her garden. All were white save one. I'm still moving them around the garden until they get too big to move, like that one.

    Jim, some Aluminate Sulfate used according to package directions might turn your pink hydrangeas blue. Ours are always blue unless they get near some limestone rock or are grown in purchased potting soil.

  6. They are lovely trees and loved by butterflies and bees.

    I must move mine OUT of the garden and into the meadow. The seedlings are driving me nuts since it is now too tall for me to deadhead! It needs to be over grass and not my good garden soil. My husband promised today that he'll help me move it next spring before it begins new growth.

  7. I just planted three of them for a client who loves buddleias but hadn't heard of chaste trees. I like them a lot. Nice photos with the swallowtail enjoying the flowers.

  8. Love the flowering shrubs and the butterflies. We still aren't having many, just lots of small whites and another very small one that I have bothered to identify.

    I so envied all the pictures of the vitex in the southern gardens that I found one that is supposed to work here. I think this is starting its third year. It is still very small, maybe 30 x 30 inches. I do hope it gets much larger.

  9. They are lovely, and clearly loved by pollinators!

  10. Vitex is new for me. Thanks for the education.

  11. Hi Nell. What lovely blooms your Texas Lilac has. Looks like a butterfly magnet as well. Your large patch of Susan's is so pretty.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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