Seven Son Flower
Heptacodium miconioides or commonly referred to as seven son flower is a wonderful deciduous shrub with distinct three-veined leaves that are retained into early winter. The small, white, fragrant flowers are followed by showy bright red calyx in fall. When you include the unusual peeling bark you have a plant that is appealing in all four seasons. You will get the most striking results when you plant it in shrub borders or as a foundation planting against a dark background.
Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive, root system. Watering can be reduced after it has become establishment. Feed with a general purpose fertilizer before new growth begins in spring.
The seven sons flower thrives in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. It will tolerate wide range of soil types.
The seven son flower is essentially a large, fountain-shaped, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub that typically grows 15-20′ at maturity with a 10′ spread (select your site for this plant carefully). You can also shape this plant into a single-trunk tree. One of the outstanding features is the terminal clusters of fragrant, creamy-white flowers that begin to appear in late summer and continue to early fall. The flowers appear in whorls within each branched cluster, with each whorl containing 7 tiny flowers (hence the common name of seven son flower). Flowers are followed in fall by an equally showy (if not showier) display: small, purplish-red fruits (1/2-inch-long drupes) crowned by five very showy, sepal-like rose calyces which elongate after bloom and last into late fall. In additional to this the tan bark exfoliates to reveal attractive brown inner bark, which provides outstanding winter interest. Leaves are narrow, shiny, ovate-oblong, and are medium-green in color. This plant is native to China and has recently become available in local nurseries. It is rapidly increasing in popularity as an ornamental shrub. If your goal is to attract butterflies the plant is a good source of nectar.
There are no serious insect or disease problems.
Seven son flower is a somewhat rare and unique plant with year-round interest. It can be useful in both a shrub border or woodland garden. It is excellent as a lawn specimen or accent around the home. This is a perfect large shrub for background planting with a seasonal color display. Use along foundation walls or fence lines. It makes a good windbreak hedge or component for shelterbelts. You can add it to the back of a mixed shrub border to screen off adjacent land uses.
Consider grouping this with other sizeable flowering shrubs for the structural framework of a landscape using Magical Forsythia, (Forsythia x intermedia ‘Kolgold’), Angel’s Blush Hydrangea, (Hydranage paniculata ‘Ruby’), Sensation Lilac, (Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’), Cardinal Candy Viburnum, (Viburnum dilatatum ‘Henneke’) and Blue Moon Kentucky Wisteria, (Wisteria macrostachya ‘Blue Moon’).
Family: Caprifoliaceae (related to cape honeysuckle, viburnum shrubs and the common elderberry)
Key Feature: Year-round Interest
Plant Type: Large mult-istemmed shrub or tree
Hardiness Zones: Zone 5 – 9
Light Needs: Partial to full sun
Water Needs: Needs regular watering – weekly, or more often in extreme heat
Height: 15 to 20 feet
Spread: 8 to 10 feet
Growth Rate: Fast
Flower Attributes: Fragrant, showy flowers on 6” panicles
Flower Color: White
Blooms: Late summer – August to September
Fruit: Sepals change color from green to burgundy and last up to 3 weeks
Leaves: Simple and opposite with a rounded base and acuminate tip. Length is 2″ to 6″ long
Foliage Color: Green
Bark: Exfoliating tan bark that comes off in strips and is reminiscent of crape myrtle or beautybush
Special Features: Attracts butterflies, fall color, year-round interest
Google Images … seven son flower
Flicker … seven son flower