Growing the Seven Son Flower Shrub in the Home Garden

The seven son flower is loved by butterflies
Image by peganum under a Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License

The seven son flower (Heptacodium miconioides) is a large deciduous shrub (or small tree) that starts blooming in late summer when many other plants have stopped blooming, which can help you maintain four season interest.

The reintroduction of the plant to the horticulture world in 1980 has helped to save the plant from extinction.

Latin Name:

This shrub is classified as Heptacodium miconioides and is the only member of the genus. As a member of the Caprifoliaceae family it is related to cape honeysuckle, viburnum shrubs and the common elderberry.

Common Names:

You may see this plant listed as seven son flower, crape myrtle of the North, autumn lilac or seven son plant. The name seven-son refers to the fact that most of the flower clusters contain seven blooms.

Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones:

Heptacodium miconioides will grow in Zones 5-9. It is a shrub that is endemic to China.

Size & Shape:

Once it has achieved its mature size, Heptacodium miconioides will be 10-30' tall and 6-15' wide.

Exposure:

Choose a site where your seven son flower shrub will receive full sun or partial shade.

Foliage/Flowers/Fruit:

The dark green leaves have three prominent veins, are cordate and are 3-6" long.

Clusters of scented white flowers open in late summer and autumn.

Once pollination has occurred, the red fruit forms and the sepals of the flower lengthen and change to a pink color.

Design Tips for the Seven Son Flower:

Butterflies are attracted to the flowers on this shrub. Use it as a specimen plant in your garden.

Growing Tips for the Seven Son Flower:

You can propagate Heptacodium miconioides using seeds or cuttings.

Maintenance/Pruning:

No pruning is likely to be needed for seven son flower shrubs except for cases where branches are dead, diseased or damaged, to control suckers, or if you want to create more of a tree form.

Pests & Diseases:

This shrub is usually carefree with no pest or disease problems.