Vitex agnus-castus var. latifolia
Vitex have not been used greatly in the UK, but this hardier variety can be of great value for long lasting summer colour. Can be grown as a large deciduous multi-stemmed shrub or a more compact plant if cut back annually. Palmate grey green leaves much like those of cannabis (hence one common name) and bright blue flower panicles which are Buddleia like and appear throughout a long season from early summer through to autumn. Flowers are also slightly scented and good for butterflies and so altogether a good value plant.
Climate/Position: Full sun prefered for best results - ideally against a sunny wall. Latifolia is hardier than the species and so more suited to UK planting.
Height/Spread: 3 x 3 metres if pruned annually, up to 6 x 6 metres sprawly growth if unpruned.
Soil Requirements: Well-drained soil.
Pruning: Can be left unpruned for large shrub or cut back annually in spring for a more compact plant. Flowers produced on the new seasons growth.
Special Requirements: A slightly sheltered sight and free draining soil prefered to ensure overwintering.
Apparently, the ancient Greeks used an extract of this plant to “calm the male inner fire.”