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Chaste tree

Mönchspfeffer pflanzen

If you plant a chaste tree, you will get an undemanding, pretty ornamental shrub with a flowering time that extends into early autumn.

   
 
Chaste Tree 'Blue Diddley'®

Vitex agnus-castus 'Blue Diddley'® has late, blue flowers

£23.40 *

Chaste Tree 'Latifolia'

Vitex agnus-castus 'Latifolia'

From £21.40 *

Chaste Tree 'White Spire'

Vitex agnus-castus 'White Spire'

From £21.40 *

   
 

More useful information about Chaste tree

From July to September, the Mediterranean verbena plant, also known as the chaste tree, adorns itself with beautiful flowers in lavender blue, light violet or white, bringing colour to the garden or onto the terrace. With its divided leaves and the distinctive flower spikes, the chaste tree is an eye-catcher in the background of a perennial bed or in a container. From there, it exudes an aromatic fragrance and attracts a large number of visitors from the insect world with its flowers.

Also known as monk's pepper tree, this plant reveals two things: the fruits of this tree can be used in the kitchen as a spice, and the plant had a special meaning in the monastic life – it was used to promote abstinence. We do not know if this was effective, but it is undisputed that the chaste tree is an ancient medicinal plant that is still valued today. Take a look at our Lubera® range: we have several attractive varieties of Vitex agnus-castus, which feature different growth heights and flower colours. Planted in a warm place, the chaste tree has good hardiness. But even in unfavourable locations, it shows vitality and pleases the garden owner every year anew with its flowers.

 

Planting the Chaste Tree – An Aromatic Shrub from the Mediterranean

All types of chaste trees love a sunny, warm and sheltered location. With their broad, loose growth, they always start to grow well after a spring cut. At Lubera® we have the following flowering varieties on offer:

'Latifolia' provides strong colour accents in light violet,

'White Spire' enchants your garden with its white flowers from July to the beginning of October,

• 'Blue Diddley' is a dwarf chaste tree with lavender blue flowers, which, with its compact growth habit, fits wonderfully in a perennial bed or blends in perfectly with mixed bedding borders.

Mönchspfeffer pflanzen

Origin & Appearance

The chaste tree belongs to the mint family. Even in the scientific name Vitex agnus-castus there is an indication of the chastity-promoting properties: 'agnus' is the Latin word for 'lamb' and 'castus' means 'clean' or 'chaste'. The original forms of the monk's pepper thrive in the Mediterranean and in Southwest Asia, where they are often found near streams and rivers or near the coast.

A chaste tree is often kept as a perennial, but it is actually a semi-shrub. It shows a broad, loose habit and can grow up to 3 metres high and wide. If the plant is strongly pruned in the spring, it can reach a height of about 1.5 metres.

Its leaves are reminiscent of hemp and have a grey-coloured, felt underside.

The fragrant flower panicles consist of fine single flowers, from which spherical fruits of 3 to 4 mm in diameter develop. These contain an essential oil and taste quite peppery.

In the spring you may need a bit of patience until the shrub sprouts, but it will return to its full beauty by early summer.

Use as a Medicinal Plant

The dried berries called chaste berries are used as a popular herbal supplement, for example to treat women’s cycle abnormalities. Since the fruits have a hormonal effect, they should not be used during pregnancy or breast-feeding.

The Suitable Location

When planting a chaste tree, it prefers sheltered location in full sun with a nutrient rich and well-drained soil. The soil should tend to be slightly moist; it should never completely dry out. In the winter, however, the soil should not be too wet. Therefore, work in soils that tend to compact; for example use sand, gravel or expanded clay, so that the water drainage can take place unhindered.

In a spring planting, place this medicinal plant in a warm place. For example, against a wall, then the chaste tree is often completely hardy. If you live in a climatically favourable area (viticulture area) you can also use the chaste tree as a medicinal plant. The fruits will ripen reliably.

In large containers, the chaste tree is also decorative on a balcony or terrace. It should be remembered, however, to overwinter the container. The root ball of the monk's pepper must not completely dry out in the cold season, but should also not be too moist in the long run. As the plant loses its foliage in the winter, it can also be overwintered in a half-dark, cooler room.

Care

Overall, a chaste tree is quite undemanding. If you cut back the shrub to about 10 to 20 centimetres in the spring, all of the frozen shoots are eliminated and the shrub remains compact and willing to bloom.

The plant is grateful for a regular watering. The chaste tree does not need much fertiliser; a gift of compost in the spring may be sufficient. Too much fertiliser, especially later in the year, even reduces the winter hardiness since the shoots cannot mature properly until the first frost.

Suitable Plant Partners

When you buy Vitex agnus-castus, your chaste tree plants look very decorative near late-flowering perennials, for example asters or Sedum. It also likes to share its place in the sun with other greyish-green ornamental plants such as lavender, Russian sage or Clary sage.

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