Regina P. Bracy, Gill, Daniel J., Owings, Allen D.
If you want a tough, yet gorgeous, shrub or small tree that is a butterfly/bee/hummingbird magnet, then vitex Shoal Creek is a must for your garden.
Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus) is a native of China and India, although long ago it became naturalized throughout certain areas of the United States. It has a long history as a medicinal plant. The English name "chaste tree" and the common name "monk's pepper" refer to beliefs that parts of the plant reduce libidinal desires. Early-American physicians used it to stimulate lactation and as an emmenagogic.
In the gardening world, it is known as a spectacular, butterfly-attracting plant. The 12-inch, fragrant flower spikes of deep lavender blue provide a wonderful addition to summer landscape color without the work involved with bedding plants. The flowers appear in May/June with a second flush of flowers in August
This versatile plant can be trained as a large shrub or small multi-trunked tree about 10 to 15 feet tall and wide. Shoal Creek vitex is more vigorous and produces larger flowers and deeper color than common vitex.
Once established, vitex is very drought tolerant and fits in well to a lower-maintenance landscape. It prospers in hot and dry environments. It is deer-resistant in that deer will not eat it.
So whether you want to stimulate the presence of butterflies in your backyard with a drought-tolerant, pest-resistant plant, or whether you want to try some ancient herbal remedies, this Louisiana Super Plant will make a statement in your garden.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture