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Vitex agnus-castus 'Rosea': 'Rosea' Chastetree

Edward F. Gilman, Dennis G. Watson, Ryan W. Klein, and Deborah R. Hilbert


Chastetree can be grown as a large, deciduous, multistemmed shrub or small, 10 to 15 feet tall tree, and is noteworthy for its showy, summer display (late springtime in the deep South) of fragrant, upwardly-pointing, terminal panicles of pink blooms which are quite attractive to butterflies and bees. The tree is often planted where honey is marketed to promote excellent honey production. The trunk is gray and blocky and somewhat ornamental. The sage-scented leaves of chastetree are shaped liked a hand, or palmate, and were once believed to have sedative effects. Vitex has the common name "chastetree" since Athenian women used the leaves in their beds to keep themselves chaste during the feasts of Ceres. Vitex seeds itself into landscaped beds and can become somewhat weedy.

Flowers and foliage of Vitex agnus-castus 'Rosea': 'Rosea' chastetree.
Figure 1. Flowers and foliage of Vitex agnus-castus 'Rosea': 'Rosea' chastetree.
Credit: Marc Frank, UF/IFAS

General Information

Scientific name: Vitex agnus-castus

Pronunciation: VYE-tecks AG-nus-KASE-tus

Common name(s): 'Rosea' Chastetree, ‘Rosea' vitex

Family: Verbenaceae

USDA hardiness zones: 7B through 11 (Figure 2)

Origin: not native to North America

Invasive potential: not considered a problem species at this time, may be recommended (North, Central, South)

Uses: specimen; container or planter; trained as a standard; deck or patio; highway median

Figure 2. Range.
Credit: UF/IFAS


Height: 10 to 15 feet

Spread: 15 to 20 feet

Crown uniformity: irregular

Crown shape: vase, round

Crown density: moderate

Growth rate: fast

Texture: fine


Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite (Figure 3)

Leaf type: palmately compound

Leaf margin: entire

Leaf shape: lanceolate

Leaf venation: pinnate

Leaf type and persistence: deciduous, fragrant

Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches, 4 to 8 inches

Leaf color: green, blue or blue-green

Fall color: no color change

Fall characteristic: not showy

Foliage of Vitex agnus-castus 'Rosea': 'Rosea' chastetree.
Figure 3. Foliage of Vitex agnus-castus 'Rosea': 'Rosea' chastetree.
Credit: Marc Frank, UF/IFAS


Flower color: pink (Figure 4)

Flower characteristics: showy

Flower of Vitex agnus-castus 'Rosea': 'Rosea' chastetree.
Figure 4. Flower of Vitex agnus-castus 'Rosea': 'Rosea' chastetree. 
Credit: Marc Frank, UF/IFAS 


Fruit shape: unknown

Fruit length: unknown

Fruit covering: fleshy

Fruit color: black

Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; not showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches droop; showy; typically multi-trunked; thorns

Pruning requirement: needed for strong structure

Breakage: resistant

Current year twig color: green

Current year twig thickness: thin, medium

Wood specific gravity: unknown


Light requirement: full sun, partial sun, or partial shade

Soil tolerances: sand; loam; clay; acidic; alkaline; well-drained

Drought tolerance: high

Aerosol salt tolerance: moderate


Roots: not a problem

Winter interest: no

Outstanding tree: yes

Ozone sensitivity: unknown

Verticillium wilt susceptibility: unknown

Pest resistance: resistant to pests/diseases

Use and Management

Chastetree is used effectively in the mixed shrubbery border or as a specimen. It is usually seen as a shrub with a multiple trunk but can be trained in the nursery into a tree with one or several trunks if so desired. Occasionally used as a street or median tree since it will not grow up and into powerlines, but branches tend to droop toward the ground and would hinder traffic visibility if planted too close to the street. Median planting would be fine if there is adequate horizontal space for the crown to develop and spread. Since the flowers attract bees, locate it accordingly.

Chastetree prefers a loose, well-drained soil that is moist or on the dry side, not wet, but will tolerate drained clay or sandy soils. The tree often suffers from dieback in organic, mucky, or other soil which is kept too moist, such as in the New Orleans or Dallas areas. Chastetree should be planted in full sun or light shade, and will tolerate hot weather extremely well, moderate salt air exposure and alkaline soil.

In the colder regions (USDA hardiness zones 6b and 7), chastetree can be killed to the ground by severe winters and is more often seen as a multistemmed shrub. Chastetree is a fast-grower and can easily recover its size when cold weather prunes it. Very similar to Vitex negundo, which also is called chastetree, Vitex agnus-castus is not as cold hardy as Vitex negundo (grows in USDA hardiness zone 6a). Vitex agnus-castus may survive in USDA hardiness zone 6a if protected from winter winds.

Several other cultivars are available which offer flower color variety. ‘Silver Spire' and ‘Alba' have white flowers.

Propagate by softwood cuttings in early summer or by seeds.


No pests are of major concern.


Leaf spot can almost defoliate the tree. Root rot can cause decline in soils which are kept too moist.

Publication #ENH-823

Release Date:May 8, 2024

Related Collections

Part of Southern Trees Fact Sheets

Related Topics

  • Critical Issue: 1. Agricultural and Horticultural Enterprises
Organism ID

About this Publication

This document is ENH-823, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2006 and April 2024. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering; Ryan W. Klein, assistant professor, arboriculture; and Deborah R. Hilbert, UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center; Department of Environmental Horticulture; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Michael Andreu
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