Q: Can you identify the plant that has lavender blue flowers and is blooming right now beside the downtown connector just above Brookwood Station? My carpool friends and I were stuck in traffic there last week and wondered what it was.
A: You have discovered that being stuck in traffic isn’t always boring! My son hates our trips downtown because I’m compelled to quiz him on spelling words while we’re driving slowly. I’ll bet the plant you are seeing is a vitex (Vitex agnus-castus).
Dr. Gary Wade, my Extension Service horticulture colleague, says he has a nice one in his back yard. He planted it because the vitex was chosen as Georgia Gold Medal Plant for the year 2000. It joins a number of outstanding annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees selected for their outstanding characteristics by a committee of nursery professionals and horticulturists.
Also called chastetree and summer lilac, the vitex is very drought tolerant, is almost pest free and it blooms when other plants have retired for the season. Bees and butterflies love the longlasting flowers. Enjoy your commute!