Summer is a fun and exciting time of year and my favorite season. Thoughts turn to a trip to the beach, the pool, a cookout with friends and family. Maybe a shot a catching that record breaking fish that I chase every year. How about an outdoor concert and don’t forget the firework shows that are scheduled around the 4th of July. Lots of things to do and never enough time to hit all of the fun spots and activities that are happening during the summer.
The other thing that summer brings in the south is the long hot days and humid conditions. Some plants wilt in the heat others develop problems because of the high humidity that seems to take our breath when we’re outside working in our gardens. Don’t get discouraged about gardening when the heat turns up and the humidity seen unbearable.
There are some great plants that thrive in the heat and humidity of the south. Vitex agnus-castus or Chaste tree says bring on the heat I love it. The Vitex is a large shrub or small flowering tree that has beautiful dark lavender flower spikes that start blooming in June and bloom well into July. The Vitex has unusually dark green foliage that forms a perfect back drop for the large flower spikes. The flower spikes are 8 to 12 inches long and the plants is covered with multiple flower spikes.
As the heat of the summer really cranks up the Vitex seems to grow better and the humidity that may cause issues with other plants has no affect on the Vitex. Winter or very early Spring is the best time to prune a Vitex as it blooms on new wood. You can let your Vitex grow into a small tree or prune it to be more shrub like. If you let it grow into a tree form it will mature out at around 20 feet but can easily be kept in the 8 to 10 foot range. Humming birds and butterflies are attracted to the Vitex blooms so you can enjoy seeing those as you also enjoy the beautiful blooms.
Plant a Vitex in your yard and your neighbors will be asking what is that beautiful plant in your yard.