Seven Son Flower Info – What Is A Seven Son Flower

Seven Son Flower Info – What Is A Seven Son Flower

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

A member of the honeysuckle family, the seven son flower earned its interesting name for its clusters of seven buds. It was first introduced to American gardeners in 1980, where it is sometimes referred to as “autumn lilac” or “hardy crapemyrtle.” Read on to learn more about this interesting plant.

Seven Son Flower Info

What is a seven son flower? Native to China, seven son flower (Heptacodium miconioides) is classified as a large shrub or small tree with a vase-like growth habit and a mature height of 15 to 20 feet (3 to 4 m.).

Tiny, white, sweet-scented flowers provide contrast against the dark green foliage in late summer to early fall, followed by cherry red seed capsules that are even showier than the blooms. The peeling, whitish-tan bark on mature trees adds interesting color and texture to the garden during the winter months.

Seven son flower is easy to grow, and the plant doesn’t tend to be invasive. However, suckers may be a frequent problem for young trees.

Growing Seven Son Trees

Seven son trees don’t tolerate extreme cold or heat, but growing seven son trees is easy if you live in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 9.

This lovely little tree shows its colors best in full sun but tolerates light shade. It is adaptable to a wide range of soil conditions, although it prefers fertile, moist, well-drained soil.

While growing seven son trees is possible via seeds or cuttings, most gardeners prefer to plant young, nursery-grown trees.

Heptacodium Seven Son Care

Heptacodium seven son care is almost non-existent, but here are a few tips for growing a healthy plant:

Keep the soil moist until the tree is established. Thereafter, the seven son tree is drought tolerant, but benefits from an occasional drink of water during hot, dry weather.

Heptacodium generally requires no fertilizer, but if your soil is poor, you can feed the tree lightly in spring using a plant food formulated for woody plants. A rose fertilizer also works well.

Seven son flower doesn’t require much pruning, but you can prune lightly to remove wayward growth in late winter or early spring. You can also prune to create a single-trunk tree or keep multiple trunks for a natural looking shrub shape. Remove suckers until the main stem is well established.

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Heptacodium is an unusual shrub for the garden it may look exotic, but plants are fully hardy and there are plenty of reasons to grow one in your garden. The late summer blooms are creamy-white and deeply fragrant, and even when they fall, they leave behind colourful, pink-coloured calyxes. The foliage is also attractive hanging in elegant pairs of glossy green leaves.

Heptacodium miconioides can be grown either as a shrub or compact, manageable tree in the garden, so is ideal for small gardens. Plants are quick-growing and easy to maintain. Height: 6m (20'). Spread 3m (10').

Plant height and spread is seasonal therefore we list by pot size rather than a defined plant size. The height and spread of the plant delivered will vary depending on the season, meaning arrival images are an indication only.

2 x 9cm potted heptacodium plants (TKA7879)
2 x 12 litre potted heptacodium plants (TKA1918)
2 x 25 litre potted heptacodium plants (T68357P)
2 x 10 litre potted heptacodium plants (T68355P)
2 x 3.6 litre potted heptacodium plants (T44289P)
1 x 9cm potted heptacodium plant (KA7514)
1 x 12 litre potted heptacodium plant (KA1917)
1 x 25 litre potted heptacodium plant (68356)
1 x 10 litre potted heptacodium plant (68354)
1 x 3.6 litre potted heptacodium plant (44288)

Seeds and garden supplies will normally be delivered within the time period stated against each product as detailed above. Plants, bulbs, corms, tubers, shrubs, trees, potatoes, etc. are delivered at the appropriate time for planting or potting on. Delivery times will be stated on the product page above, or in your order acknowledgement page and email.

Orders for packets of seed incur a delivery charge of £2.99.

Orders which include any other products will incur a delivery charge of £4.99.

Where an order includes both packets of seeds and other products, a maximum delivery charge of £6.99 will apply - regardless of the number of items ordered.

Large items may incur a higher delivery charge - this will be displayed in your shopping basket.

Please see our Delivery page for further details, and more information on different charges that may apply to certain destinations.

For more information on how we send your plants please visit our Helpful Guide on plant sizes.

Thompson & Morgan strives to ensure that all its plants are delivered to you in the perfect condition for planting. Sadly, the time it takes to deliver to certain locations in the UK means that we can't guarantee this, so regretfully we are unable to ship live plants to the following areas: HS, IV41-IV49, IV51, IV55-56, KW15-KW17, PA34, PA41-48, PA60-PA78, PA80, PH40-PH44, TR21-TR24, ZE1-ZE3

Seven Son Flower, Seven Son Flower Tree, Seven Son Flower of Zhejiang

Native to China, Heptacodium miconioides (Seven Son Flower) is a unique plant with year-round interest. This large, fountain-shaped, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub features clusters of fragrant, creamy-white flowers at branch ends over a long bloom season in late summer to early fall. The blooms appear in whorls, with each whorl containing 7 small flowers (hence the common name of Seven-Son Flower). They are a great source of nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds in the fall and are followed by even showier crops of purplish-red fruits crowned by eye-catching rose calyces which last into late fall. The large, heart-shaped leaves are shiny green and deeply veined. Heptacodium miconioides remains attractive in winter when strips of pale bark peel away to reveal dark brown inner bark.

Increasingly popular as an ornamental shrub, Heptacodium miconioides is one of the most beautiful flowering shrubs and is well displayed as an ornamental in many gardens.

  • Grows up to 15-20 ft. tall (450-600 cm) and 8-10 ft. wide (240-300 cm)
  • Recipient of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society, the GreatPlants award of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and the Cary Award which recognizes plants that are particularly adequate for New England, offer superior landscape appeal, are winter hardy and pest resistant.
  • A full sun or light shade lover, this plant is best grown in average, medium moisture, well-drainedsoils. Tolerates a wide range of soils.
  • Perfect as specimen plant or in shrub borders, cottage gardens, coastal gardens, woodlands or naturalized areas. May be trained as a single-trunk tree
  • No serious insect or disease problems

Seven-Son flower: be the first on your block!

Seven-Son flower is a small tree to large shrub. This unusual member of the honeysuckle family is not a vine but a handsome vase-shaped woody plant and one that is relatively unknown to most gardeners. During the growing season, Seven-Son flower is covered with 4-6 inch long thick, glossy leaves. The flowers appear in mid to late July in tight, whorled sets of seven hence its common name. Following flowering, the sepals at the base of the flowers not only persist, but also continue to elongate and turn bright red as the seeds mature. Seven-Son flower also has a soft tan-colored, striping bark that provides winter interest making this plant a welcome spectacle in all seasons.

The plant was first discovered by the western world in 1907 in China, but not cultivated commercially. A 1980 expedition re-collected specimens and it was introduced by the Arnold Arboretum. Seven-Son flower has since been grown and trialed at botanic gardens and universities all across the United States but is still relatively unknown in many retail markets. This is an adaptable and versatile plant and will tolerate a very wide range of conditions where it can reach 15-20 feet tall and 10 foot wide. Although Seven-Son flower tolerates moderately dry conditions it should not be grown entirely non-irrigated. It is sure to be the centerpiece and focal point in many wonderful gardens hopefully yours will be one of the first.

View the plant profile here. Or watch the video here.

Seven-Son Flower (Heptacodium miconioides)
Large shrub or small tree
Height: 18-25 feet
Width: 10-15 feet
Blooms: August to September
Sun: Full sun to partial shade
Soil Moisture: Moderate to dry
Hardiness: USDA zones 5-9
Culture: Loam or sandy soil

Thanks to Mike Bone, Denver Botanic Gardens, for writing this piece.

81 responses to “Seven-Son flower: be the first on your block!”

Are any parts of the tree poisonous to dogs? What do the seed pods look like? Does the seed drop result in a lot of seedlings under the tree? How does it do in our Spring/Fall snow storms?

In most parts of the country this tree blooms so late it doesn’t have time to set seed, so seedlings are not usually a problem. It’s in the honeysuckle family so I doubt there are any poisonous parts, but I don’t have that information at hand. It holds up reasonably well in snow storms. If there is breakage it’s usually not a problem because it’s a very twiggy, densely branched plant and new growth easily covers up lost branches. They also don’t get that big – they’re not shade trees – so any damage incurred is not as extensive as on older shade trees. The worst problem we’ve seen is hail storms beating up the leaves in the middle of summer.

Being from the honeysuckle family, is the scent comparable to honeysuckle?

It is indeed fragrant, but not as strong as some of the shrub or vine honeysuckles. It’s mostly noted in the evening and morning.

Where is the best place to purchase one.

There are only a handful of growers of this plant on the Front Range and they sell them to the Garden Centers so you’ll be purchasing quality grown from any of these locations on this link-

No it will not. It will send up new shoots at the base. Seven-Son Flower likes to be a multi-stem plant more than trained as a tree.

What should the tree look like in the winter?

You’ll see lots of exfoliating bark on this fantastic plant. Great winter interest. If you are wondering if it is a live, it probably is. It’s very tough, but can almost feel like it died when you bend the branches. The Seven-Sons here in Fort Collins are just beginning to leaf out.

My tree is dying back , I’m wondering if it’s because of drought conditions.

Can, or should it be pruned? Thank you.

These fantastic plants can be mildly pruned. Instances where people have tried to prune them into trees seems to cause health decline. They should grow nicely in a vase shape given enough space.

I was told it can grow 40 inches a season. Is that true?

I think 40 inches is a bit much in a season. Unless, the plant is well watered and it’s in heavy competition for light. For example, planted close to taller established trees or shrubs. In full sun with moderate to low watering, expect a 24″ growth rate or less per year.

The past summer our year old Great Pyrenees pup has found the three year old tree’s branch ends of interest to chew on. She also scratched the lower end of bark. By spring I’ll probably put a fence around the tree but anything I can do now to make it thru winter?

This plant has exfoliating bark and your puppy probably only pulled off an exfoliating piece. The plant should be perfectly fine. As of the chewed branch ends, prune them back slightly with clean cuts less than an inch from the last node you choose to prune from. Prune to shape it next year and let this plant grow into its wonderful upright fountain shape. No need for fencing, you choose a great plant for your puppy to run around and rest under.

Should the dried blooms from last year be trimmed off this spring?

They don’t need to be. They grow through the spent blooms fine and it won’t change the shape of the tree. No need to go through the extra work.

Can the plant grow in southern full sun or dappled shade?

Yes, it should do very well. Offer it good drainage so that its roots are not constantly moist.

We have a lot of black walnut trees on our property. Do you know how this tree tolerate juglone?

Seven-Son Flower is better suited as an understory tree, but I’m not sure how it would handle juglone. I’ve seen many other woodies grown under black walnuts leading me to believe that black walnut juglone is not as potent as books state. Good luck!

We purchased a Seven Son tree in fall of 2015. The first year it did fine, especially for a first year. (2106). In 2017 the tree had really settled and grew a LOT and was spectacular in the fall. Then, in the spring of last year it wasn’t showing any signs of life by end of May. I called the place I bought it and they were uncertain but agreed that as a last ditch effort try cutting it back. I did and ultimately it sent out branches and seemed to get through the season just fine. It is more like a shrub now than the tree it started as. This spring, that centre (which has the largest “trunk”) remains but is dead. The surrounding branches are budding. Should I cut that centre down more? Leave it? Once it leafs out you cannot really see the dead part unless you are really looking for it.
Thanks for any help. Live in Canada, Zone 5b

Great to know this plant grows in Canada! This plant prefers to grow as a multi-stem shrub growing in a fountain shape. The Seven-Son plants that I’ve seen pruned into trees do not like it very well. You can prune the dead out of this plant after all the other branches have leafed out and that would be healthy for this great plant. Enjoy!

I’m growing it in Canada as well. This was its third summer 2nd winter, zone 5b also. Huge amount of growth each year. Flowers in September. I had a lot of perennials in that area: peonies, Shasta daisies etc. It’s so over crowded I want to remove much of the under planting. What is lower growing that would also attract butterflies that would work underneath it?

Try Engelmann Daisy or Kannah Creek Buckwheat or a mock bearberry manzanita. Seven-son is a favorite plant of mine. Enjoy!

Watch the video: The Seven Son Flower