Vitex, Texas Lilac, or Chaste Tree
Deciduous large shrub or small tree with distinctive palmately compound leaves. Profuse spikes of lavender flowers, blooming heavily in the early summer, and then sporadically throughout the summer and fall. Vitex is heat, drought and pest tolerant. ‘Texas Lilac’ is our group designation for several recommended cultivars including ‘Montrose Purple,’ ‘LeCompte,’ and ‘Shoal Creek,’ all of which are considered Texas Superstars®.
Hardiness: Zone 7
Exposure: Full sun; partial sun
Size: Height — 10–15 feet tall; width — up to 15 feet wide
Bloom time: May till frost
Care: Vitex is coarse growing and will become a small tree quickly; flowering is more spectacular if the plant is pruned heavily after bloom
Note: A concern has been raised about the “invasive” nature of vitex. Vitex is not on the official list of noxious plants/invasive plants published by the Texas Department of Agriculture or by the USDA. Having said this, there is a concern about its weedy nature in certain areas. On the texasinvasives.org website, it is listed as “Found in limestone outcrops and dry creek beds throughout Central Texas.” We would caution persons in these favorable environments about potential weediness. The opinion of the Texas Superstar® Board is that vitex can be safely used as an ornamental in all parts of the state that do not fit this description. However, if you are in an area where vitex has been noted to behave in a weedy manner as described above or you observe a large proliferation of seedlings around ornamental plantings, we recommend that you avoid the use of vitex in your landscape.
For further information:
Blue–Blooming Vitex and Plumbago: Butterflies Love 'Em, Deer Don't
Vitex photo gallery