How to plant a vitex tree


How To Plant A Vitex Chaste Tree from the Experts at Wilson Bros Gardens

How To Plant A Vitex Chaste Tree from the Experts at Wilson Bros Gardens

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Posted by Brent Wilson on 10/5/2016 to Fertilizing & Watering Tips


When planted right and in the right spot, Chaste Trees are one of the easiest flowering trees you'll ever grow.

Depending on your preference, Chaste Tree quickly grows into a multi or single-trunk shrub or small tree to about 10 to 20 feet tall and wide, depending on the variety. In design, I use it most often as I would a Japanese maple or crape myrtle tree: as a small focal point specimen, in groupings of three or more, or to frame in the corners of homes and other structures. When grown as a shrub chaste trees make a colorful hedge planted in staggered or straight rows. They look especially nice around garden ponds and boulders.

Here's a breakdown of what you need to know to plant a Chaste Tree...

Cultural Preferences

Soil

Chaste Trees will grow in most any average soil, including clay soils. They prefer a well-drained soil however will tolerate temporary wet conditions. Avoid planting in soil that stay constantly soggy or wet.

 

How To Test Soil Drainage 

If you are uncertain about soil drainage in the area you intend to plant your chaste tree, it's well worth taking the time to test the drainage. To test soil drainage, dig a hole 12" wide by 12" deep in the planting area. Fill the hole with water and let it drain. Then, after it drains, fill it with water again, but this time clock how long it takes to drain. In well-drained soil the water level will go down at a rate of about 1 inch an hour. A faster rate, such as in loose, sandy soil, may signal potentially dry site conditions. A slower rate indicates poor draining soil and is a caution you might need to improve drainage, plant in a raised mound or bed, or look for plants that are more tolerant of wet or boggy conditions.

Soil pH

Chaste trees grow best in an acid to slightly acid soil ranging from 6.0 to 7.0 on the pH scale. Most average garden soils fall between a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. 

Testing Soil pH 

Soil pH is a measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of soil and is measured on a scale of 1-14, with 7 as the neutral mark. Any measurement below 7 indicates acid soil conditions, and anything above 7 indicates alkaline. If you're unsure about the pH of your soil, and whether or not it's suitable for growing chaste tree, it's a good idea to test the soil pH in the planting area. You can quickly test soil pH with an inexpensive soil pH tester probe or kit. 

To raise the pH (make more alkaline) you can add pelletized limestone to the soil. To lower the pH (make more acid) you can apply Soil Sulfur, Aluminum Sulfate, or Chelated Iron. Adding organic compost to the soil or using compost as mulch can also help to increase acidity and maintain acid soil conditions.

Learn More:  What is Soil pH and How To Adjust It?

Light Needs

Chaste trees grow and flower best in full sun. A little shade is tolerated, however the best flowering occurs with at least 6 hours or more of direct sunlight per day. The more sun the better! 

Planting A Chaste Tree In The Ground

Scroll down for container planting instructions

Step 1

Start by digging your planting hole at least three times as wide and as deep or not much deeper than the root ball of your crape myrtle. The wider the hole the better. Place native soil removed from planting hole around the perimeter of the hole, in a wheel barrow, or on a tarp.

Step 2

Depending on the type, fertility and porosity of the soil in the planting area, it may be beneficial to amend the native soil. When planting your chase tree in dense clay or other compacted soils it is beneficial to thoroughly mix in some bagged top soil or a good planting mix at a 50/50 ratio with the native soil removed from the planting hole. When planting in very sandy, quick-draining soil you might want to consider mixing in some top soil, peat moss and/or compost to help retain moisture. When planting in well-drained but moist soil of average fertility there is no need for adding a soil amendment.

Step 3

TIP:  It's beneficial to water the root ball deeply before removing your chaste tree from its container.

To remove your chaste tree from the nursery container it was growing in, firmly grasp the tree or shrub by the base of its trunk and try to gently lift and remove it from its container. If the root ball is stuck in the container either cut the container away or place the plant on it's side and tap on the side of the container to loosen the root ball. After having removed the plant from the container, use your fingers or a claw tool to loosen some feeder roots around the surface of the root ball. If root bound, you can spray the sides and bottom of the root ball with a stream of water from a garden hose. This will help to wash away some soil from the exterior of the root ball making it easier to loosen roots.

Step 4

Set your chaste tree in the planting hole so that the top edge of the root ball is at or slightly above ground level. If necessary, add some backfill soil mixture to the bottom of the hole to achieve proper planting height. 

Note:  If the soil is poorly drained (constantly soggy or wet) either improve drainage, plant the root ball in a raised mound, or select a different plant species more tolerant of wet soils. 

Step 5

After setting your chase tree in the planting hole, use one hand to hold the tree straight and your other hand to begin back-filling your soil mixture around the root ball, tamping as you go to remove air pockets. When you have filled the hole to the halfway point you can soak the soil. Then continue back-filling to the top edge of the root ball. To avoid suffocating your plant, avoid placing any soil on top of the root ball. You can place mulch on top of the root ball later.  

Step 6 (Optional)

When planting a chaste tree in a location that is far from a water source, you can use remaining soil mixture to build a water retaining berm (catch basin/doughnut) around the outside perimeter of the planting hole. This basin will help to collect water from rainfall and irrigation often reducing the need for hand-watering. The berm can be removed after a year or so when your tree has established itself.

Step 7 

Next, deeply water the planting area, including the root ball, to a depth equal to the height of the root ball. For an extra boost, to stimulate early root formation and stronger root development you can also water you newly planted chase tree with a solution of Root Stimulator, which reduces transplant shock and promotes greener, more vigorous plants.

Step 8

To conserve moisture and to suppress weed growth, apply a 1 to 2" layer of cured, shredded or chipped wood mulch or pine straw around the planting area. As the mulch decomposes it will add vital nutrients to the soil that your tree will appreciate. Avoid the use of freshly chipped or shredded wood for mulch until it has cured in a pile for at least 6 months, a year is better. Avoid placing or piling mulch directly against the base of your tree as doing so could cause the bark to rot.

Planting A Chaste Tree In A Pot

A chaste tree growing in a pot will appreciate a moist but well-drained soil. Constantly soggy or wet soil can and often will cause root rot or other harmful or deadly plant diseases. Therefore, I recommend using a quality potting soil or potting mix, or a 50/50 combination thereof in a container with a drainage hole(s). You can also add about 10% pumice or perlite to the soil mixture to help with drainage. 

Make sure to choose a container with drainage holes at the bottom and one that is large enough to allow for 2 to 3 years of growth before having to shift up to a larger size container. This might mean your planting pot would be 8 inches or more in width than the root ball of your chase tree. 

Note:  Keep in mind the wind. When planting taller growing trees in containers, wind is always a factor. Choose a pot with a low profile and make sure to place your container where it will not be exposed to high winds. Square pots tend to be more stable than round pots. You can also place a brick(s) or other heavy objects in the bottom of the container for stabilization.  

Container color will matter as well. Not only will you want to pick a container color that goes well with the flower and foliage color of your chaste tree, you'll also want to pick a container that matches the style of your home or other structures and other plants in the surrounding environment. 

Many nursery & garden centers offer a wide variety of containers to choose from. Before heading out to buy a container take pictures of your home and the surrounding environment. Doing so will help you to choose just the right color and style.

Container Planting Instructions

Step 1

Before filling your container with the soil mix, I recommend lining the bottom with shade cloth or a porous landscape fabric. This will keep the drain holes from becoming stopped up with soil. If you use stones or brick in the bottom of the pot lay the fabric on top.

Step 2

To remove your chaste tree from the nursery container it was growing in, firmly grasp the tree or shrub by the base of its trunk and try to gently lift and remove it from its container. If the root ball is stuck in the container either cut the container away or place the plant on it's side and tap on the side of the container to loosen the root ball. After having removed the plant from the container, use your fingers or a claw tool to loosen some feeder roots around the surface of the root ball. If root bound, you can spray the sides and bottom of the root ball with a stream of water from a garden hose. This will help to wash away some soil from the exterior of the root ball making it easier to loosen roots.

Step 3

Pour a small amount of your soil mixture in the bottom of the container. Set your crape myrtle in the container and make necessary adjustments by adding or removing some soil so that the top edge of the root ball will sit 1" or so below the rim of the container.

Step 4

Backfill with your potting soil around root ball, tamping as you go, until the level of potting soil is even with the top edge of root ball.

Step 5

Water thoroughly until water starts to drain from the holes in the bottom of the container. Add more potting mix if settling occurs during watering.

Step 6 (Optional)

Apply a 1/2" layer of wood chips or sphagnum moss to soil surface to help conserve moisture. You can also incorporate low growing, spreading plants in your container planting that will serve as a permanent soil cover.

Related Articles

How To Fertilize, Prune & Water A Chaste Tree >

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How to Grow Vitex Chaste Flowering Shrubs and Trees

Vitex agnus-castus

Vitex is one of the most liberally reseeding plants I have ever grown.

In an interesting twist, it got a couple of its nicknames – chaste plant and monk’s pepper – from old beliefs that utilizing potions made from the plant’s berries helped maidens remain maidenly, and helped monks adhere to their vows of chastity.

Hardy in Zones 6 to 9, V. agnus-castus is sometimes referred to as “lilac of the South” because its beautiful, five- to 12-inch purple, lavender, off-white, or light pink flower spikes resemble those of lilac. Other nicknames include sage tree, and Indian spice vitex.

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Yet another nickname, hemp tree, stems from the appearance of plant’s leaves, which resemble those of the cannabis plant. Fortunately, the DEA has never beat down my door.

This butterfly-attractor can be pruned into shrub form, or allowed to reach tree heights – 15 to 20 feet – with a spread as wide as 10 to 15 feet. As a tree, expect it to be multi-trunked and vase-shaped, similar to crape myrtle.

Photo by Gretchen Heber.

Native to China and India, V. agnus-castus has been planted in the United States for many years, and this fast-growing and deer-resistant plant has even naturalized in the southern United States.

Here’s what’s to come in this article:

Vitex Growing Guide

  • A Plethora of Purposes
  • Happy to Reproduce (And Where to Buy)
  • In the Dark of Night
  • A Hard Prune, and That’s About It
  • Maybe, Maybe Not
  • Big or Small, It’s a Keeper

Let’s take a look at the history and growing habits of this attractive plant, so you can grow your own.

A Plethora of Purposes

Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans ascribed many healing powers to the seeds of vitex, mostly gastrointestinal.

And as I mentioned above, vitex has long been associated with sexual passion, or rather, a lack of it. Ancients put the leaves in the beds of maidens whose maidenhood they wished to preserve.

Today, some women take vitex-containing supplements to ease symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome. Other people take it to curb acne.

Happy to Reproduce (And Where to Buy)

Vitex loves hot and dry growing conditions. It wants full sun and well-draining soil – either acidic or alkaline.

We planted ours in native soil mixed with leftover builder dirt, with nothing special added in. The area where we planted it – that strip between the sidewalk and street common in suburban neighborhoods – was formerly home to St. Augustine grass.

Photo by Gretchen Heber.

At the top of this article, I mentioned that vitex reseeds generously. In actuality, I would go so far as to say it’s invasive.

Ours have multiplied all over the stinkin’ place.

If you don’t cut the spent blooms off, the plant will form attractive berries, which contain seeds that are more than happy to make more vitex plants wherever they fall.

With that in mind, if you’re thinking you want to add vitex to your landscape, you can buy nursery starts in containers of varying sizes.

Purple flowering plants are available in #3 or #5 containers from Nature Hills Nursery.

Chaste Tree

This traditional chaste tree specimen has a mature height and spread of 15 to 25 feet. This variety can be grown in Zones 5 to 9.

Looking for something a little smaller? The ’Blue Puffball’ cultivar is perfect for growing as a shrub. Live plants are available from Nature Hills Nursery.

V. agnus-castus ‘PIIVAC-Il’

It will reach a maximum height and spread of three to four feet, and is available in #1 or #3 containers from Nature Hills Nursery. It can be grown in Zones 6 to 9.

The ’Pink Pinnacle’ cultivar is also available exclusively from Nature Hills.

V. agnus-castus ‘V07-SC-OP-4’

These are available in #3 containers, and will reach a mature height and spread of three to four feet. This pink variety will grow well in Zones 6 to 9.

’Shoal Creek’ is another outstanding cultivar with violet-blue flower spikes, and it’s available from Nature Hills.

‘Shoal Creek’ Chaste Tree

It will reach a max height and spread of 10 to 12 feet, and plants are available in #3 containers. It grows best in Zones 6 to 9.

In the Dark of Night

You can also propagate vitex from cuttings.

To do this, nab a four- to six-inch softwood cutting from your neighbor’s plant in late spring or early summer. It’s important that you choose a piece of stem that’s neither brand new, nor fully mature.

You can determine this by bending a stem. It if breaks with a snap, bingo! Softwood. If it bends but does not break, that section is too immature. If the stem doesn’t bend at all, it is hardwood and not suitable for propagation.

Photo by Gretchen Heber.

Prepare a destination container by filling it with a soilless mix containing a good bit of perlite, moistening the mix, and dipping a pencil into the mix to create a hole for your cutting.

Make sure the end of your propagation piece is cleanly cut, remove the lower leaves, and then dip it in rooting hormone – liquid or powder.

Place the cutting in the prepared container and gently press the potting mix up against the stem. Place a plastic dome, if you have one, or a clear plastic bag over the container and place it in bright, indirect light to create a miniature greenhouse.

Photo by Gretchen Heber.

Check the cutting daily, adding a bit of water if the potting mix feels dry. After four to five weeks, check for roots by either seeing if any are peeking out of the holes in the bottom of the container, or gently lifting the plant out of the container.

When you see roots, you can remove the plastic, and transfer to a larger container filled with 80 percent soil and 20 percent perlite.

Leave the starts in their pots for several months, and then transplant to the garden the following spring.

A Hard Prune, And That’s About It

Experts say this deciduous plant should be cut to the ground every winter to keep it a manageable size. That doesn’t happen at my house. We have a hard enough time just keeping it off the sidewalk, so it doesn’t annoy passersby.

Prune as you like for shape – into a full shrub, or more tree-like. Ours sends up these crazy, skinny, long, top-heavy canes from the base; we whack those off because they look stupid, and they fall over into the sidewalk or into the street where my son parks his car. Our car.

Photo by Gretchen Heber.

The literature will tell you to water vitex infrequently but deeply from April to October. I guess if you count the five or so rainfalls we might get during that time in Austin, then that’s what ours gets.

We give it no supplemental water and no fertilizer. And yet, it’s unstoppable.

If your vitex looks like it needs a little pick-me-up, give it a dose of 10-10-10 (NPK) fertilizer in early spring and in early summer.

Maybe, Maybe Not

Although our V. agnus-castus plants have never been bothered by pests or diseases, other gardeners have had to watch out for a few problems.

If you see aphids, trying blasting them away with water, or try an insecticidal soap such as this one from Bonide, available at Arbico Organics.

Bonide Insecticidal Soap

It is available in 12- or 32-ounce ready-to-spray bottles.

Scale can also be water-blasted off, or you can use neem oil to smother them. Consider this neem oil also from Bonide, available from Arbico Organics.

Bonide Neem Oil

This potion is also effective against whiteflies, which some gardeners have reported seeing on vitex.

Big or Small, It’s a Keeper

If you have a large space that needs filling quickly, or if you’re diligent with the pruners, vitex might be a good choice for you.

This fast-grower can be kept trimmed to bush size or allowed to grow into a multi-trunked, vase-shaped tree. Either way, you’ll be rewarded with attractive, lilac-like boom spikes all summer long.

Have you ever grown V. agnus-castus? Which of its many nicknames does it go by in your neighborhood? Tell us in the comments section below. If you’d like to try your hand at another shrub-slash-tree, consider Chinese fringe flower.

Photos by Gretchen Heber © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Arbico Organics and Nature Hills Nursery. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.

The staff at Gardener’s Path are not medical professionals and this article should not be construed as medical advice intended to assess, diagnose, prescribe, or promise cure. Gardener’s Path and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet or using plant-based remedies or supplements for health and wellness.

Vitex - cultivation and care, purchase

Description of Vitex

Latin name:
Vitex.

Family:
Verbena.

Origin:
Europe.

Alternative names:
Prutnyak,
Abraham tree,
Chaste,
Monastic pepper.

More than 250 species of deciduous trees and shrubs up to 4 m high belong to the genus Vitex (Vitex). They are characterized by opposite complex leaves on long petioles, consisting of 3-7 leaves of a grayish-green color, slightly pubescent. The flowers are small white, yellowish, red or various shades of blue, collected in very lush dense apical spiky inflorescences.

The most common species is the Abraham tree (Vitex agnus-castus), which is often found in nature. This is a shrub with complex palmately divided leaves of 5 (rarely 7) lanceolate leaves, covered with a light fluff on the underside; If the leaves are rubbed, they emit a pleasant smell. The flowers are fragrant, purple-lilac in color, collected in dense branched apical ears, bloom in July-August. Flowering occurs on young branches and shoots of the current year. This shrub has a long lifespan. Decorative form 'Motley' has variegated foliage, 'White' has white flowers, 'Broadleaf' is characterized by wider leaves than the botanical species.

American vitex (Vitex negundo) is much less common, a species with complex, from 3-5 wide lanceolate leaves, pubescent on the underside with leaves. Lilac flowers.

Growing


Vitex

The Abraham tree is grown outdoors in parks and gardens, they are finally planted on the site in the spring. There are no special soil requirements. The main fertilization - when planting, in the spring, well-rotted manure or compost is used at the rate of 5 kg / m 2 . Only if the soil is very infertile, from May to August, once a month, a complex mineral fertilizer is added to the water for irrigation in the amount of 10-30 g per bucket. At the end of winter - beginning of spring, old branches are cut to 2 / 3 lengths so that new ones develop better, on which flowers form.

Watering

Only necessary for young plants immediately after planting in the ground and during particularly dry periods.

Reproduction

The most common method is cuttings. In July-August, semi-lignified cuttings 10-12 cm long are taken from side shoots and planted in a mixture of peat and sand (1: 1). After the roots are formed, the seedlings are transplanted one by one into pots filled with a mixture of peat and fertile soil with the addition of complex mineral fertilizers at the rate of 20-30 g per bucket of soil. In the first year they are kept in a cool room. Planted at a permanent landing site after 1-2 years.

To a lesser extent, sowing seeds is used for propagation. It is held in autumn or early spring, using a mixture of peat and sand. The grown seedlings are transplanted into pots and treated in the same way as with seedlings from cuttings.

Location

Plants prefer a sheltered position in full sun.

Temperature

Abraham wood is resistant to high air temperatures, so it is especially suitable for mild warm climates. Plants also tolerate cold winters, because only the bases of the bushes are damaged by frost, and new shoots grow from the roots.

Diseases and pests of Vitex

Plants are susceptible to damage by fungi of the genus Cercospora (Cercospora), which cause spots on the leaves, weakening of plants. They get rid of them with fungicides. The fungus phymatotrichum omnivorum (Phymatotrichum omnivorum) causes root rot, called Texas root rot, which manifests itself in too dense soil. Fungicide treatment is recommended, but it is better to transplant the plants into looser, suitable soil.

Purchase

The Abraham tree is quite easy to find in gardening centers and specialized nurseries. Choose small plants, they are easier to plant in the ground. Check for leaf spots, blackened stems, or dead roots.

Vitex care summary

Cultivation simple
Watering needed for young plants and during periods of drought
Transplantation not produced
Maintaining appearance not required
Location in the open sun
Temperature high temperature resistant
Flowering summer
Height up to 4 m

Sources

  • Vitex // Great Soviet Encyclopedia - M .: Soviet Encyclopedia, 1969-1978. - 630,000 copies.
  • Ilyina E. Ya., Sterligova E. I. Indoor plants and their use in the interior - Sverdlovsk: Ural University, 1991 - 208 s - 130,000 copies. — ISBN 9785752502118
  • Turdiev S. Yu., Vecherko L. I. Flowers in our life - Alma-Ata: Kainar, 1986. - 217 s - 50,000 copies.
  • Chub V. V., Lezina K. D. Complete encyclopedia of indoor plants - M .: Eksmo, 2003. - 416 p. - 7000 copies. — ISBN 9785040060771.
  • Vitex // Indoor and garden plants. — M.: Premiere, 2005. — 1274 p. - 300,000 copies. — ISSN 1729-1828.
  • Golovkin BN What the names of plants say about. — M.: Kolos, 1992. - 192 p. - 70000 copies. — ISBN 9785100025054.
  • Golovkin BN 1000 amazing facts from the life of plants. — M.: AST; Astrel, 2001. - 224 p. - 10000 copies. — ISBN 9785170105342, ISBN 9785271030529.

Vitex (photo) planting and care at home

Contents ✓

  • ✓ Vitex: planting
  • ✓ Vitex: home care

Vitex sacred - tree-like perennial shrub, known by many names: chaste tree, common prune, monastic pepper, chaste lamb (agnus cast us) .

Vitex leaves and fruits are used as a spicy spice with a sharp taste: they are added when frying and stewing meat dishes, in marinades, sauces and for preserving various vegetables.


EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR THIS ARTICLE IS HERE >>>

Vrtex agnus castus is a new plant for me. I bought its seeds among other spices in a chain store in Moscow.

Abraham's tree - so the plant was named after the prophet Abraham, known for his longevity and chastity. According to legend, the forefather of all Jews once rested under vitex. Another legend says that if you make a staff from Abraham's wood, then no matter how long a person is on the road, his legs will not get tired, and if you put leaves in shoes or socks, the pain in the legs will disappear.

The monks noticed an interesting fact that finely chopped vitex fruit, which they used instead of pepper, significantly reduced sexual desire. In ancient times, people scattered leaves of monastic pepper on the bed in order to curb the craving for carnal pleasures. They put the same sheets in their shoes when they went on a pilgrimage.

Spice is just great! Monastic pepper has a unique smell and taste, but I was also interested in the medicinal properties of the plant. Vitex regulates the activity of hormones. The phytoestrogens contained in it normalize the monthly cycle, soften the manifestations of menopause and eliminate the side effects associated with it.

Mature fruit extract helps stop residual lactation and reduces the level of prolactin responsible for milk production.

Reduces premenstrual chest pain. Sacred vitex has a fairly powerful and deep root system, so when growing it at home, take care of a large and deep pot. It should be at least a 5 liter container.


See also: Vitex or Abraham tree (photo) - cultivation and use with benefit


Vitex: planting

There was very little information on growing vitex sacred, and I had to be guided by the general rules for sowing seeds. In vitex, they are similar to ordinary black pepper with an olive tint, only a little smaller. Inside - a nut in a thin shell. Without carrying out any additional treatments, I sowed the seeds in a regular substrate and covered with polyethylene to reduce moisture evaporation.

It took about a month before tiny sprouts appeared from the ground. Out of 30 seeds, first 3-4 sprouted, and then another 8. The seedlings were so small and weak that the minimum drying out of the soil could be detrimental, so I often sprayed the sprouts and soil.

From some nuts, two sprouts appeared at once. I did not plant them and grew them for two months in the same container. The seedlings grew incredibly slowly. I noticed that the backlight greatly affects vitex seedlings - bright light turned out to be useful.

He also experimented with seed stratification. In the refrigerator, in wet coarse sand, he kept the seeds for about 2.5 months. Then he sowed it in a small container from under minced meat: he covered it halfway with soil, on it - a thin layer of sand mixed with seeds, and on top - 1 cm of soil. After 5 days, shoots began to appear, and after 2 weeks the vitex literally sprouted into a small forest.

Vitex: care at home

When the seedlings grew up and the first true leaves appeared, I doubted that I was growing the same sacred vitex that was in the photographs. Neither the second nor even the third real leaves were even close to the original. Only after 4 months did the typical palmate Vitex leaves appear - first consisting of three leaflets, and then of five. Here it was already enough to touch the plant, as the aroma instantly spread around.

No pests were observed on the plant during the growing period. On the contrary, the aphids even left the nearby plants away from the vitex.

Small vitexes moved to the country house during the May holidays for their summer “vacation”. At the time of the move, their age was 5 months. The height of the most developed plants was in the range of 12-15 cm. The seedlings were immediately identified in the greenhouse, where most of them successfully existed until mid-September.

No special "greenhouse" conditions were created for them in the greenhouse. On the contrary, the experiment was quite tough and multilateral. The maximum temperature on hot days in a closed greenhouse sometimes fluctuated between 38-45°. Watering was carried out irregularly, drying out alternated with a long stagnation of water (containers did not have drain holes). In such unfavorable conditions Vitex showed its durability, great potential and easy adaptation to new conditions. At the end of the season, the maximum plant height was 42 cm (average 35 cm).

Planting some of the plants in the open ground did not bring any surprises and did not reveal any growth features. Perhaps, under conditions of timely watering and a more stable temperature, the plants would reveal all their characteristics. But the experiment also convinced me of the need to grow Vitex further.

Of course, it is too early to talk about the use of monk pepper for medicinal purposes - the plants are still too small to bear fruit and collect leaves. In the meantime, I will begin my experiment with overwintering plants in the garden.

My experience of growing many southern plants shows that not all of them are so vulnerable to the conditions of our climate. For example, about 60 seedlings of Chinese and common wolfberry (goji) survived the winter in 0.5-liter pots (with almost no snow cover) in my garden in 2016 without digging and mulching. I do not remove my grapes from the trellis at all and have not additionally covered them for 8 years. There are many such examples, but it is too early to talk about such wintering of Vitex.

At home, it will be once again transplanted into large pots and sent to a cool loggia, but the temperature there will not drop much, but will remain within 10-15 °. However, it must be said that vitex tolerates the dry air of the apartment well and can winter on a cool windowsill. Bright illumination and moderate watering in such conditions are necessary for him in any case.

This wonderful medicinal plant deserves close attention and is recommended by me as extremely interesting!

© Author: O. BERKO, experienced gardener Moscow region. Author's website, we recommend https://mygardenlab.ru

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