En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
2 ratings

Sunday - August 10, 2008

From: Carrboro, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Propagation of non-native vitex
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I am interested in propagating a beautiful big vitex tree. Can I do it from seeds or what is the best way? Thanks!


Vitex agnus-castus is a member of the Verbenaceae family, native to the woodlands and dry areas of Southern Europe and western Africa. It is hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 6 to 10, and in north central North Carolina, it appears you are between Zones 7a and 7b, so you should have no problem growing this plant. It can be propagated by seed in the Spring and Fall or by cuttings which are easy to root in warm weather. We think you should also be aware that vitex is considered an invasive plant in several states. Please see this PlantWise page on Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants for vitex. A close relative, Vitex rotundifolia, Beach Vitex, is considered extremely invasive in North Carolina.

This USDA Forest Service website on Vitex agnus-castus will give you some more ideas on where and how it will grow. It can grow in part shade and full sun, and tolerates most soils as long as they are well-drained. In USDA Hardiness Zones 6b to 7, vitex can be killed to the ground by severe winters, but will come back from the roots, more often as a multi-stemmed shrub.

Seed: Sow in flats or even small paper cups in a good potting soil. The seed does not need pre-treatment and germination is usually quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a sheltered area for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in Spring of the following year.

Propagation by cuttings: Excellent instructions for the home gardener in this Horticulture Information Leaflet from North Carolina State University on Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings. This site does not specifically list vitex, but we have learned from other sources that the same treatments may be used as are used on crape myrtles, which are listed.


More Non-Natives Questions

Containing Japanese Wisteria Roots
November 22, 2015 - I have some Japanese wisteria plants that I would like to plant inside root barriers but I cannot find any info on how deep the roots go. Do you know if a 2 ft deep root barrier for trees can contain ...
view the full question and answer

Digging wild buttercup from roadside in Mechanicsville MD
May 28, 2012 - Mr. Smarty Plants, is it illegal to dig out wild buttercup in Maryland? I see them along the dirt road or just in the ditch. Since buttercup considered weed, I'm wondering what the law say about this...
view the full question and answer

Hours of darkness for non-native poinsettia to bloom
October 28, 2005 - I have a poinsettia from last Christmas still alive. I was told to get it so many hours of darkness. Do you know how many hours? When would be the best time to start displaying the plant again?
view the full question and answer

Needs Help with Peonies
January 14, 2011 - With the clay soil in North Texas (Frisco) which variety of peony would thrive and become a reliable bloomer? I do work on amending the soil with expanded shell and compost, but ultimately, we still h...
view the full question and answer

Non-native daylilies and pachysandra in same area from New York City
April 07, 2012 - Will daylilies and pachysandra thrive if planted in the same bed, or will they harm each other?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center