How to Prune a Vitex Agnus-Castus


Vitex is a species of summer flowering shrub or small tree that thrives in the temperate and warm climes of USDA zones 7 and 8. It is also commonly known as chastetree. Depending on the cultivar, the flowers can range from snowy white to deep lavender and resemble a slim-line lilac bloom. According to North Carolina State University, vitex cultivars can tolerate extensive pruning in the spring, if needed, and will benefit from seasonal maintenance to remove spent flower heads.

Step 1

Deadhead spent vitex flowers throughout the blooming season from late spring through summer to keep the shrub tidy and urge fresh bloom formation. Cut the wilted or dead blooms down on the stem to just above the first or second pair of healthy leaves, discarding the cuttings in the compost or trash.

Step 2

Prune away and dead, diseased, discolored, wilted or bent branches in the spring. Cut down to the point of healthy plant tissues or down to the crown of the shrub if needed. Gently pull the cuttings from the shrub mass and discard them in the compost or garbage, but refrain from composting diseased cuttings as this can spread pathogens.

Step 3

Rejuvenate an overgrown shrub or denuded shrub by aggressive and extensive pruning in the spring after the last threat of frost. Remove up to half of the oldest shrub branches down to the crown of the plant. Distribute the pruning cuts evenly throughout the shrub so new growth will appear evenly in the shrub.

Step 4

Reduce the height and spread of the shrub in spring, if needed, to suit the landscape by reducing the length of the branches as desired. Remove up to half of the overall shrub size if needed. Cut branch by branch, just above a leaf node or pair of leaves, following the natural line of the shrub to preserve its form.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears or loppers


  • North Carolina State University: Vitex agnus castus
  • Purdue University: Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: vitex agnus castus, pruning flowering shrubs, trimming flowering chastetree

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.