Vitex agnus-castus var. latifolia

Louise Sims
Vitex agnus-castus var. latifolia

I must start by mentioning the garden where I first saw this month’s plant. A few years ago I took my mother on a little garden-visiting jaunt to South Wales and we came across this gem of a garden nestling in a beautiful and secluded valley with breathtaking views.

Tucked into the hillside, it was filled with treasures including many salvias and other Mediterranean plants. I saw their vitex in full flower and fell for it.

Vitex is a magnet for bees, butterflies and other insects and bears upright sprays of fragrant, lavender blue flowers from July, August or September depending upon your location. Buddleias are in flower at the same time, but for me the grey green foliage of vitex is more attractive, and its flowers die more gracefully too. It is hardy, to -10 as long as it has shelter (south facing wall or fence is ideal) and good drainage.

If you search for it online you are more likely to find results for herbal remedies and tinctures; it is not a plant that is widely offered and this could be because it looks rather sad in a pot. Seek it out … it’s worth it!

A note on pruning … it can be left untouched, in which case will attain 4 metres plus. However a hard prune in early spring will keep it to a size more acceptable for the average garden. 


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