Name: Vitex agnus-castus aka chastetree
Type of Plant: A large shrub that flowers in mid to late summer. Hardy in Zone 6-8
Why I Love/Hate this plant: I love this plant because it likes the good drainage of Cape Cod’s sandy soils. I love the fact that it has larger, showier flowers than a butterfly bush but attracts butterflies in the same way. I love how I can cut this plant down to 6 to 12” tall in early spring and it will grow to 5 feet tall and wide by mid-summer.
Vitex foliage is a light, sage green in color and this makes a good combination with darker foliage plants, perennial hibiscus, panicle hydrangeas and purple-leaved ninebarks. And I love that the seeds are attractive in winter arrangements at this time of year.
A Word to the Wise: Be sure to plant Vitex in full sun. Know that it will most likely die to the ground in the winter, and you’ll need to prune the stems back hard in April or May. The good news is that this shrub flowers on new growth, so no matter how hard you prune it in the spring, it will grow new stems that produce large, showy flowers in mid-summer.