Plant of the Month: Vitex or Chaste Tree

June 5, 2023

Learn more about Vitex agnus-castus, Chaste Tree or Monk’s Pepper

This small tree provides spring and summer color, and is great for pollinators!

Vitex or Chaste Tree
Trees typically have purple flowers but look for cultivars with pink or white blooms.


Bloom Period: Summer

Mature Height x Spread: 25 x 25 ft (8 x 8 m)

Exposure: Full sun

Cold Tolerance: -10°F (-23°C)

Origin: Southern Europe



This is a large, deciduous shrub commonly grown as a multi-trunk tree. The aromatic leaves are deep green and are made of leaflets. Chaste trees have a slow to moderate growth rate and produce 3-inch (8 cm) spikes of flowers off and on through the summer that attract bees. The most common flower color is purple, but pink and white cultivars are available. Once flowers fade, small brown seed heads remain. The amount of flowering is related to heat; the hotter it is, the more they flower.

Vitex or chaste tree in backyard
Vitex is a great tree for a patio or for small yards.

Use in the landscape and care

Use in areas where other plants provide winter interest as the chaste tree isn’t beautiful in winter. Avoid overwatering, which leads to lusher foliage but fewer flowers. Instead, focus on deep, infrequent irrigation. In spring, prune to the desired shape.

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Did you know that up to 70 percent of water use is outdoors? That’s why we love desert plants and feature them each month. You can learn more about Vitex and other plants on our Arizona Low-Water-Use Plants page. Visit our page on Choosing and Planting Low Water-Use Plants for tips on plant selection and how to plant properly. Also, be sure to read through all of our featured Plant of the Month blogs!

Find these other fun blogs about small desert trees:

This content is an excerpt from the new book, Dry Climate Gardening, by Noelle Johnson. It has been reprinted with permission. The book can be purchased at the author’s website: Noelle, aka AZ Plant Lady is an urban horticulturist, Certified Arborist and freelance garden-writer who helps people create beautiful, low-maintenance gardens. She resides in Chandler, AZ.