Scarification: Soak in water, let stand in water for 24 hours
Stratification: cold stratify for 90 days
Germination: sow seed 1/16" deep, tamp the soil, mulch the seed bed
Vitex agnus-castus, also known as Lilac Chastetree, Monks Pepper Tree or Chaste Tree, is a native of the Mediterranean region and is best grown in loose, well-drained soil and full sun. In USDA Zones 5 and 6, this shrub often suffers winter die back or dies to the ground in severe winters. However, even though plants may die to the ground in these zones, the roots often survive and push up 5' of new growth in the following year. This species of chaste tree is typically grown in warm winter climates as a vase-shaped, deciduous shrub (to 10-15' tall) or trained as a single trunk tree to 20' tall. The plant is known for its aromatic, compound, palmate, grayish-green leaves and tiny, fragrant, lavender to pale violet flowers that appear in mid to late summer and are quite attractive to butterflies. Agnus castus has been used for thousands of years for its beneficial effect on the female hormonal system. Modern research has confirmed this use, with the seeds being used to restore balanced functioning to the female reproductive system. In traditional medicine, the leaves, flowers, and/or berries are consumed as a decoction, traditional tincture, cider vinegar tincture, syrup, elixir, or simply eaten from the plant with presumed benefits as food, and it is believed that the berries are a tonic herb for both the male and female reproductive systems.