Vitex agnus-castus is truly useful in so many different ways.
And perhaps the common names of “Monk’s Pepper”, “Chaste Tree” or “Chaste Berry” will reveal some of the traditional uses.
Noted for exceptionally long blooming
Firstly Monk’s Pepper makes a shapely tall shrub with a graceful vase like form.
Adorned with violet-blue flowers in great trusses right through summer and autumn.
So it is particularly useful for months of colour in gardens of any size.
Fragrant handsome foliage
Vitex agnus-castus also has beautiful foliage.
Because the leaves have the scent of sage, and handsome grey-green colouring with silver undersides.
So the whole shrub shimmers in the slightest breeze.
Perfumed flowers adored by bees & birds
The long trusses of blooms are also beautifully fragrant and full of nectar.
So native honey-eating birds and bees are besotted by the flowers and sustained with food for months on end.
As well as providing us with months of entertainment watching birds performing acrobatics as they sip.
Thrives in heat & drought hardy
Vitex agnus-castus is also highly valued by gardeners with hot, dry summers and limited water.
Because it revels in the sun, thrives in heat, and is robustly drought hardy once established.
It can also tolerate partial shade, though the spectacular flowering is best with plenty of sun.
Low maintenance & salt tolerant
Monk’s Pepper shrub makes a wonderful wind-break or shelter hedge because of it’s hardy, easy-growing nature and dense structure.
It can tolerate salt in the air – so is ideal for coastal shelter planting or as a spectacular solo specimen.
Vitex prefers well drained positions and is perfectly at home in sandy, rocky or poorer soils.
Useful shelter hedge, wind-break or spectacular solo
It also tends to grow naturally in an attractive, vase like shape.
Though you can shear it hard if you want a more formal shape or hedge.
And you can also prune off the lower branches to make it into a decorative multi-trunked small shade tree to sit under.
It is fast growing to approx. 2-4m. High (depending if it is left to grow naturally or pruned).
Rabbit, deer & pest resistant
Rabbits and deer tend to ignore Vitex because of the strong flavour of the aromatic foliage.
It is also rarely if ever troubled by any pests and diseases.
Traditional hormone regulator
The autumn berries from Vitex agnus-castus were traditionally used to tame unseemly urges amongst monks in monastic life, hence the common name of “Monk’s Pepper” and “Chaste Tree”.
It was also used as a fertility aid for childless women and to regulate hormonal balance.
SEED SOWING ADVICE: QUICK & EASY
Suitable for beginners & gardening with kids
Sow indoors in punnets at any time / or scatter in garden in spring.
INDOORS: First sow the seed on the surface of good quality seed raising mix.
Then pat the seed gently to the surface of the mix to ensure good contact.
Then barely cover the seed only very lightly with sieved mix / sand / grit.
Do not cover the seed to a depth more than the diameter of the seed.
because light helps germination.
Now moisten the punnet thoroughly by standing it in a shallow water bath.
And allow the moisture to percolate to the surface of the mix from below.
Then place the moist, sown punnet in a warm, well-lit position (not in direct sun).
Continue to keep moist.
Temperatures of 15-20°C optimum for rapid germination.
Seeds germinate in 7-14 days approx.
SEED COUNT: 15 seeds per pack approx.
(We always aim to exceed the stated seed count, and give a generous serve).
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