Vitex (Vitex agnus castus) is a perennial deciduous shrub that grows 10-20 feet tall and wide. It produces spikes of fragrant lavender flowers in summer. Vitex is drought tolerant, grows in average well-drained garden soil, and responds well to pruning. It is appropriate for USDA agricultural zones 6-10.
Vitex do best in full sun in well-drained garden soil. Plant at the same level as it would be planted in nursery pot. Add a 2-inch deep layer of mulch around the base of plant to control weeds. Vitex will work as a potted plant, but use a large container at least 32 inches deep and wide.
Fertilizing and Watering
Apply an organic granulated fertilizer in spring according to instructions on fertilizer container. Supply a deep soaking during prolonged periods of dry weather until plant is established after 2 years. Container grown vitex should be watered as much as once a week during the growing season. Container grown vitex do not need as much fertilizer as vitex grown in the ground.
To increase flower production and to encourage a strong plant structure, prune out dead wood as it appears. Vitex bloom on new wood so you need to prune off spent blooms. This encourages new growth and more blooms. While deadheading, or removing spent blooms, use the opportunity to lightly trim other limbs to keep a neat shape. If a drastic pruning is needed and the vitex is very large, cut off one-third of the plant, wait until after the bloom period, then trim off another third if needed.
Vitex Disease Control
Vitex are prone to fungal problems if planted in wet soil that can lead to the decline and death of the plant. In fall, fungal or mildew spots may appear on leaves just before winter leaf drop. Rake or remove fallen leaves to prevent fungus from spreading into the soil and infecting new leaves in the spring.
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