Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?

Share

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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

Care for non-native Centipede grass
February 27, 2013 - My lawn is Centipede. I have created a new lawn area. Can and when should I seed/overseed my lawn? I have Rye in the new area.
view the full question and answer

Recommend a plant similar to Corkscrew Willow for Austin, TX.
June 16, 2015 - Do corkscrew willows do well in Austin, TX? If not, can you recommend a willow like tree to plant along the banks of a creek?
view the full question and answer

Care of Ecuadorian penco century plant
December 17, 2007 - I was recently given a Penco, Century plant from Ecuador. It doesn't seem to be doing well. Two of the leaves have turned dark, then yellow, and died completely. Five remain, one seems to be dying as...
view the full question and answer

Weed prevention in vegetable gardens
September 26, 2007 - Mr.Smarty Plants - I know this isn't your area, but we have a vegetable garden that has been plagued by summertime weeds. Do you have a recommendation for a control plan we could implement during t...
view the full question and answer

Plants native to Caribbean from Charlotte NC
August 10, 2011 - Do you know of any shade tolerant plants native to the Caribbean that may be available to buy at a local nursery? I know this is a tough question to answer on many levels.. essentially, if I wanted t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.