Vitex negundo var. cannabifolia | Hemp-leaf Chaste Tree
Hemp-leaf Chaste Tree, also known as Chinese Chaste Tree, Five-leaved Chaste Tree, Cut Leaf Vitex, Cut-leaf Chastetree, Horseshoe Vitex, Asian Chasteberry, Huang Ping, or Nisinda, is considered a subspecies of Vitex negundo – var. cannabifolia. It’s a hardy, deciduous, aromatic shrub growing 6-10 ft tall. The palmate foliage of Hemp-leaf Vitex is nearly identical to that of Hemp. Its large, dense, branched panicles of flowers are composed of a multitude of smaller pale purple-blue flowers that are produced over many weeks at the end of summer. It’s in leaf from June to October, and in flower from August to October, with the seeds ripening from October to December.
Suitable for light sandy soil, medium loamy soil, well-drained soil, and even nutritionally poor soil. Ideally, Hemp-leaf Chaste Tree should be sited in a well drained site in full sun. Will become drought tolerant once established. It will not grow well in the shade and is intolerant of water-logging.
For the Hemp-leaf Chaste Tree, any pruning is best carried out in the spring (April or early May) and should consist of cutting out dead wood and shortening last year’s flowering branches.
The flowers attract a variety of pollinators, including smaller, shorter tongued bees like Honeybees, and larger native bees, like Bumblebees.
Seeds of Vitex negundo var. cannabifolia do not require a pre-treatment or cold-stratification. Germination is usually quick and easy with heat, humidty, and light. It is advised to keep rooted plants in pots with protection or a greenhouse through the first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year.
Sun exposure: Full sun
Mature height: 6-10 ft
Mature width: 4-6 ft
Hardiness zones: 6-10