In my mid-south, zone 7 garden I grow ‘Shoals Creek’ vitex as a small tree. I have planted four around the water feature at Moss Mountain Farm. They were a second choice for the area. I had originally planned to plant ‘Naragansett’ crabapples, but could not find them. Where I was once cursing my misfortune I now consider myself lucky. The blooms are absolutely stunning and butterflies and bees are as thrilled as I am.
‘Shoals Creek’ vitex has multiple trunks, a lovely vase-shaped form and open, spreading habit. The leaves are palmate and bear a striking resemblance to those of the cannabis plant. Huge spires of periwinkle blue, fragrant flowers appear at the tips of the branches in mid- to late summer. It can be grown as a small, deciduous tree or as a shrub.
Plant your vitex in full sun and loose, well-drained soil. I’ve yet to experience any pest or disease problems with this shrub. Once established it is fairly drought tolerant. No pruning is necessary if you are training your vitex as a small tree. However, in regions where it dies back in winter, or if you would like to control the size, you can cut it back to the ground in early spring.