Our Music of the Spheres Wind Chime sale starts today and lasts for the next two weeks – ending on September 18, 2011. This happens only twice a year! During these two weeks prices on all of our Texas made wind chimes are sale priced well below our everyday price. Take advantage of this sale and stock up on holiday gifts. Enjoy free Economy Saver shipping to any of the 48 contiguous states.
These Vitex trees are in a shopping center on the West side of Houston off Eldridge Pkwy and Enclave Pkwy. I first noticed them blooming two years ago. First let me say that I really like the calming color of blue in the garden. I guess it complements my desire for Orange flowers. I love orange in the garden too. My orange hibiscus is a favorite of mine near my kitchen window.
The scientific name is Vitex agnus-castus, but commonly known as Chaste trees, Lilac Chaste Tree, Hemp Tree, Sage Tree, or Indian Spice. Originating in China and India, they became naturalized throughout the Southern US. The Vitex tree is a great substitute to the extremely overplanted crape myrtles in Houston and is hardy in zones 6-9. I only wish that my house had these instead of the crapes to line the driveway. (they were there when I bought the house in 1991).
Vitex is an good choice if you are looking for a small flowering tree or large shrub. It flowers best in full sun and prefers well drained soils.
Like most plants in the Vervain family, Vitex attracts butterflies. New improved varieties such as ‘Montrose Purple’, ‘LeCompte’, or the pink ‘Salinas Pink’ have spikes as long as 8 to 12 inches in length. In my garden this year I’ve seen a lot of monarch butterflies.
I am going to replace my Redbud tree this fall (now 18 years old and leaning) with a Vitex I bought this year. The variety of Redbud I have does not flower well here in Houston. It does provide a nice shaded spot to hang my orchids on. In the meantime, the Vitex is on my driveway in a five gallon pot, trying to get through this long, very hot summer.
Learn more about Vitex at Aggie Horticulture.
The Vitex tree is on the Houston Chronicles list of the 10 best trees to survive a hurricane. After Hurricane Ike last year, it may be worth a look for your landscape if you lost any trees last year.
We’ve been a fan of Brenda Beust Smith and the Lazy Gardener column for years. If you are looking for the Houston Chronicle’s Lazy Gardener column, you can now find it online at http://blogs.chron.com/lazygardener.
“THE LAZY GARDENER’S GUIDE ON CD” — a gardening book on CD offers gardening tips plus 12 pre-designed gardens for butterflies, hummers, sun, shade and more. Monthly what-to-do reminders for Greater Houston/Gulf Coast gardens. $20 each. Make checks payable to Brenda B. Smith & mail to: Lazy Gardener’s Guide on CD, 14011 Greenranch, Houston, TX 77039-2103.