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Vivacious Vitex

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Friday, March 29, 2019 - 7:00am

We’re now into the really warm days of the summer season and the vitex is blooming today on Southern Gardening.

Vitex tolerates our hot and humid weather extremely well which makes this an outstanding small tree for our landscapes in Mississippi. This is also a good plant for the droughty periods we have each summer.

The flower color varies from lavender to lilac to pale violet. The color can even be a brilliant, nearly fluorescent, blue. During the initial flush, the show of flowers may resemble a hazy blue or purplish cloud.

There is an improved selection called Shoal Creek that is worth searching for at the garden centers and nurseries. The spring/summer flush of flowers is a more intense and deeper blue than the regular species.

But the flower color is not limited to the standard bluish purple. There are some really pretty pink selections available. Pink Sensation produces clear light pink flowers. While the four to six inch long panicles are not as big as some other vitex varieties the abundant clear light pink panicles are produced all summer long.

Plant the vitex in partial shade to full sun for best flowering performance. While tolerant of a wide variety of soil conditions and textures, make sure the planting bed is well-drained. Vitex is a spectacular specimen plant in the landscape. It is particularly well suited to be grown in a large container near a patio or other outdoor living area, but be aware that it can bring in bees and other pollinating insects. It can also attract butterflies and hummingbird to gardens and landscapes. So plant one today, and sit back and enjoy the view.

I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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