Vitex, Chaste Tree, Lilac Chaste Tree, Monk's Pepper 'Montrose Purple'

Vitex agnus-castus

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Vitex (VY-teks) (Info)
Species: agnus-castus (AG-nus KAS-tus) (Info)
Cultivar: Montrose Purple
Synonym:Agnus-castus robusta
Synonym:Agnus-castus vulgaris
Synonym:Vitex agnus
Synonym:Vitex hybrida
Synonym:Vitex integra





Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Medium Blue

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall


Grown for foliage



Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; direct sow after last frost

By simple layering

By stooling or mound layering

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Piedmont, Alabama

Bigelow, Arkansas

Nicolaus, California

Littleton, Colorado

Milton, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Hammond, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Sulphur, Louisiana

Pass Christian, Mississippi

Logandale, Nevada

Albuquerque, New Mexico

High Point, North Carolina

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Altus, Oklahoma

Columbia, South Carolina

Manning, South Carolina

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Memphis, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

Beaumont, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Galveston, Texas

Houston, Texas (2 reports)

Jacksonville, Texas

Katy, Texas

Kendalia, Texas

Mabank, Texas

Magnolia, Texas

Nome, Texas

Port Arthur, Texas

Portland, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Spring, Texas

Tyler, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 21, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Valued for its lavender-violet flowers in late summer. There are white and pinkish forms, but I much prefer the violet cultivars like 'LeCompte' and 'Montrose Purple'.

I've seen several plants here in Z6a that have been reliably wood-hardy. Responds well to hard pruning in spring. Very late to leaf out in spring, and blooms here in late summer.

In Z5 where topgrowth may be killed to the ground, it can be treated like a buddleia or a herbaceous perennial and cut to near the ground in spring. This does not impair flowering, which occurs on new growth. Vitex should be planted in spring, especially towards its northern limit of hardiness.

Reliable sources state that this plant is deer-resistant, as might be expected of a plant with fragrant foliage.... read more


On Sep 17, 2012, ladygold from Houston, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I fell in love with this plant after seeing several of them in bloom at the local library's parking lot in Farmers Branch, TX

I bought a ~4 foot plant from a local nursery and other than watering it occasionally and trimming the lower branches so we can get the lawn mower under it, I have done nothing. It's now well over 6 feet and is covered with blossoms in the spring and is blooming now (September) again. I'll upload some photos eventually.


On Apr 16, 2011, b_arnold1976 from High Point, NC wrote:

Bought a small vitex from Chapel Hill. Over the summer it had some black spots on the leaves and I wasn't sure it would make it. The nursery said to keep it watered until established. I think it enjoys a good drink every now and then because it thrives when I water it. I haven't seen it bloom yet but it already has new growth as of April 16th. I hate the mess that crape myrtles create. Hopefully the Vitex will be much cleaner without the berries from the crape.


On May 21, 2010, gordon820 from New Orleans, LA wrote:

These plants are just grand in New Orleans and Coastal Mississippi every spring from May on. has the answer to pruning and deadheading for Shoal Creek and Agnus-Castus. Purpurea had bad damage but survived our 17 degree freeze for several days Jan 2010 and is roaring back in Pass Christian MS (coast).


On May 5, 2010, protospheric from Houston, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

Mine's not growing. I planted it in full sun, and well draining soil. I've started to water it more thinking it might get a flush of growth this season. Since I planted it 2 years ago it hasn't grown much at all. Any ideas?



On Apr 5, 2010, bungalow1056 from Winston-Salem, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

This is such a great tree for the mid-south. I don't know why it's not planted more. It's hardy, tolerates Summer drought and never fails to bloom. In July (usually right along with Crepe Myrtles) the tree is smothered with lavender colored spikes that bees, butterflies and birds go crazy for. It can be pruned hard (for shrub shape), lightly (for tree shape) or just left alone to form multiple trunks. It drops its leaves cleanly in the Fall and there are no fruit droppings or unwanted seedlings to speak of. There is one humorous caveat. The leaves closely resemble those of a certain illegal crop grown for its hallucinogenic properties. Each Spring the tree gets some curious looks from passersby.


On Jul 11, 2007, 2hot2plow from Garden Grove, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Saw this in local nursery, but with no plant tag. "What is it?" says I. "Snow Bush," he replied. Hah! After searching, found this lovely leaves-of-green-on-top/soft, powdery-purple-underneath with racemes of tiny purple blobs that turn into flowers is a Vitex agnus-castus. Gorgeous. Planted on North side of house, in Orange County (near LA) CA--it gets hot morning sun, shade after Noon. We have sandy soil. So far, growing like crazy! Zone 9b. I water on the light side, it seems to like that. Long, graceful stems cover the water faucet and pipes, so it's doing its job. Now if I could only find some more--MUCH better than Butterfly Bush because less mess and no need to chop it down in winter; neater than Honeysuckle.


On Jul 17, 2006, mininissandog from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love these, since everyone has crape myrtles (and I dont' like the way you have to cut them back to stumps in the winter) I wanted something a little different and they are wonderful. They grow quickly and can be trained into a bush/hedge or a "tree" w/ several trunks very similar to a crape myrtle only you don't have to cut it back to nothing in the winter...the blooms are similar to butterfly bushes only you don't have to deadhead constantly to keep them looking good, the blooms last longer and the spent flowers don't take over. You can just put it in the ground w/ fertilize and water (and can let it go) I even put some in some very poor rocky soil at my father's house (and I know he didn't water them more than 2 or 3 times and they look amazing. Just give them enough room to fill out... read more