Spacing: 12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m) 15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
Hardiness: USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F) USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F) USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F) USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F) USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F) USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F) USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F) USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F) USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F) USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Bloom Color: White/Near White
Bloom Time: Late Summer/Early Fall
Other details: Flowers are fragrant Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater Provides winter interest
Soil pH requirements: 5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
Patent Information: Non-patented
Propagation Methods: From softwood cuttings From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
On May 22, 2012, Dorkpatch from Minneapolis, MN wrote:
Minneapolis, zone 4a ...
I purchased a one-foot specimen at a local plant sale about 8 or 9 years ago. It didn't seem to do well the first couple of years (hardly grew at all, moved it twice), and this had me thinking that the zone 5 designation was right.
The third place I put it was similar to where I first planted it, but slightly sheltered with more late afternoon sun. (The first spot was sunny morning thru mid-afternoon, then was shaded by a lilac, the place where it is now doesn't get much sun until late morning but gets full sun the rest of the day.)
Upshot for zone 4a-ers: could be this plant just takes a few years to get going here or it may need a spot that gets the most hot sun.
Anyway, my seven son flower has thrived ever since and is now about 12 feet tall with a nice Dr. Seuss-like tree shape.
On May 9, 2012, rkwright85 from Horton, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:
This is an easy plant to grow, I have three of them in my yard. Also a fast growing plant, 18-36" a year. There might be some die-back (never severe) but that is common with any shrub or tree that grows late into the season. Not very common still so could be expensive, try to find a small plant since it won't take long to get big. In hot areas, might need some shade to avoid leaf scorch.
On Apr 24, 2012, ms_greenjeans from Hopkins, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:
I'm in Zone 4a. I got a very small specimen of this plant two years ago. Because I was unsure about its hardiness in my area, I planted it in a sheltered spot that is apparently too shady. It has survived and grown, but hasn't really taken off. I am going to move it to a sunnier and less sheltered location this spring; I hope it will grow to be a nice screening shrub/tree in my front yard. It will be on a hill facing north, so only time will tell if it is hardy here.
On Jun 28, 2011, BoPo from Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5b) wrote:
I agree with much of what is said here except for the fact that it needs acidic soil.
Mine was planted as a pencil size specimen three or four years ago. It is now approx. 10 feet in height, but does need some training into a tree form if that's what you are going for. I have mine staked for a more upright habit rather than the open branching habit it was taking on. I have left it as a multi stemmed specimen, and I trim lower foliage off those branches. New growth is tender, and wind storms can cause breakage.
Mine grows in full sun, rich black soil somewhat clayish and compact. Peeling bark is interesting, up close, but not a standout yet and the branches though tall haven't gained significant width to make notice of the peeling bark from afar. Calyxes are interesting and the fall color is stunning.
Nice, interesting tree not too commonly seen in my area, zone 5b. You can probably go to a nursery to purchase a larger specimen at planting time, but glad I purchased the pencil size, saved hundreds of dollars in doing so, as several years later I have a 10 foot specimen.
On May 27, 2011, Calistoga from Calistoga, CA wrote:
I bought it as a one gallon plant locally. I planted it in the full sun, where I also have some roses. The deer ate it back so I installed a wire cage around it. It grew lots of branches through the wire which the deer did not eat anymore so I removed the wire and the tree is growing very well in slightly acid soil. I am looking on this site for guidance on shaping and pruning which I have refrained from doing, never having seen this tree growing. Al
On Dec 27, 2010, coyotehollownur from Weldona, CO wrote:
Ask a nurseryman near where you LIVE if you want an honest and informed answer about this plant. I made the mistake of noticing the plant at Tagawa Gardens in Parker, CO and then was told it was "the new wave" in flowering plants, a "miracle plant" for "our area" and that it would literally "grow anywhere". So, upon impulse and being talked into it, I purchased the 5 foot 10 gallon monster, took it home and planted it, and then slowly watched it DIE the whole summer due to alkaline intolerance and the heat we have on the Plains here in Northeastern Colorado. It does NOT grow well outside of Zone 5b, and certainly does NOT like high Ph soils. Plant a hybrid lilac--you'll be much happier and not out $175 (which the "dude" said was SO CHEAP for such a "rare plant" as this "recently intro'd plant from China". I would have been treated better by a hyper selling used car salesman than this person at that nursery--I got sold a lemon for where we live, and he knew it. Live and learn--but if someone says it "grows anywhere"--this is certainly NOT the case. Having said that, if you happen to come upon one growing in the right spot at the right zone, etc--you will see one heck of a small tree. They ARE beautiful, of that there is NO doubt. By the way, since that time I, myself have become a licensed nurseryman--so I do hope I know what I am talking about here!
On Sep 7, 2010, suentommy from Souderton, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:
I have been growing two heptacodium trees out front for about 18 years. I purchased them from a mail order company and they came looking like two little dead sticks. The dead sticks, much to my surprise, sprouted and are now each about twelve feet tall and maybe twenty feet across. They have beautiful peeling and twisted bark. One of the trees I believe was hit by a canker and for two to three years it kept growing less and less leaves. The part that appeared to be affected was the largest branch and I hated to cut that part out. I am glad I did this spring because now the tree has sent up a number of new shoots that have grown at least five feet. I was afraid it would take several years to fill in the part that had died out but it has filled in very nicely and in a year or two at this rate of growth, it will be hard to tell where it was damaged. In late August to early September the trees are abuzz with bees, butterflies, and humming birds that have finished with my butterfly bushes. I have a home office and look out on the trees everyday and they are wonderful to see. Overall they are an undemanding plant that provides interest in all seasons.
On Jun 14, 2010, ktarisaema from East Lansdowne, PA (Zone 7a) wrote:
I just got this plant for a new shrub border,from the Tyler Arb's plant sale. Looking it up, the PennHort Society(Philadelphia) has chosen it as one of its Gold Medal plants meaning it is superior for use in Phila.are(zones6-7usually).Arnold Arb introduced it about 1900but began to promote it in the ?1980's? so it has a good rep and I'm eager to see how it does for me. You can get more info from the PHS gold medal site, and the Arnold Arboretums plant database, both excellent resources.
On Apr 7, 2010, jardinomane from Gatineau Canada wrote:
I live near Ottawa, Canada (USDA 4a), and I have had two of those for a few years now. No winter dieback. It is hardier than described here since it is reported to grow well even in Quebec City (USDA 3b ?).
The one in the front yard was a small plant that I had shipped to me from British Columbia a good 5 or 6 years ago, It is now a wonderful small tree (kept to a single trunk by occasionnal pruning) reaching 10-11 ft, if not more. It took a little while before I saw the reddish calyxes developping in the fall, but they have been consistent for the last three years. I do not find the perfume THAT exceptionnal , though, but bumblebees LOVE it. They pass out, as if drunk, in the flowers, and you can see quite a few of them sleeping there, in the white petals, when the sun rises. So, if you are allergic to wasps or bees, site this plant carefully!
I was delighted (and very surprised!) to find my second specimen at a local nursery. It was a bit bigger and already a multistemmed shrub, wich I did not do anything to change. I planted that one in the back yard, not too far from one of those awful Norway maples, and, although it did not grow as fast as the other one, it is ginving a very good performance, given the root competition and the dryness it brings. It also flowers and reddens quite faithfully.
I love the pale exfoliating bark: it is very unique. The foliage is sooo clean, too! No bugs nor diseases so far. The fall foliage is okay, but I think it varies frow year to year. The only downside is the stifness of the branches. It makes it difficult to give it a nice "bonsai shape". But I guess you have to respect a plant's habit...
On Apr 3, 2010, OKplantnerd38 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:
When I lived in Seattle, I planted 3 of these (1-gallon specimens from mail-order source). They grew to be ten-foot-tall small trees in just 2 years (no kidding). They had large, clean, bright-green foliage and interesting peeling bark that added winter interest. Mine produced clusters of fragrant white flowers by mid-August with persistent calyces that turned purple. In addition, I spaced them far enough apart, in a triangular pattern, so that I was able to plant 3 Rosa 'Sally Holmes' (own-root) in between them. Wow! I wish I had a picture to upload. This is a great plant from the honeysuckle family that really should be grown in many more parts of the country. I think Heptacodium miconoides would love it here in Oklahoma. I wish we could get the growers that supply the local nurseries to grow Heptacodium. I could easily convince a lot of nursery shoppers to buy one.
On Jan 5, 2010, DenverJude from Denver, CO (Zone 5b) wrote:
The Denver Botanic Gardens has a few of these that look fantastic (though none are in a prominent spot). Our soils tend to be slightly alkaline and clay, sand or some combination (poor in any case).
The smell when they are in bloom is wonderful! I seek it out each year. Eventually I want to find a spot to plant this at home.
On Sep 19, 2008, winterkill from Walworth, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:
This is a beautiful plant which does not seem to be widely used in my area, despite it being fully hardy. I only recently saw a large specimen in full bloom for the first time, and I must say the fragrance is heavenly. The fragrance is similar to that of angelwing jasmine; it has the same delicate floral note. The bark is very attractive as it exfoliates with age. I have heard that this tree tends to be weak stemmed, though by all accounts even if the branches are damaged or snapped off, the plant will grow back within a season and its shape is usually better if this happens. A very interesting and novel tree as it blooms later than most. Although it will make a much larger plant, it's a good substitute for jasmine if you love fragrance but live in a cold area and hardiness is a problem.
On Jul 4, 2008, cactusman102 from Lawrence, KS wrote:
Great looking foliage on this plant. We want to know how tall the plant has to be to flower. Can you grow it as a large shrub and expect flowers? Can you keep it at 6' or rejuvinate every other year and expect flowers on the new growth that same summer?
I haven't planted mine yet. I will be planting a 4' one come the beginning of May. I really am excited. I've been drooling over this plant and trying to locate one for the last year. I live in zone 5b almost 6a. It will be on the north side of my home but far enough away from all obstructions to be virtually in the sun all day. I'm also concerned with any winterizing this plant may need. Our snow, while this year was the worst in 50 years, has been very very light for the last 10. While I want everything I plant to be successful, this plant is new to me, and I really want to give it the best care possible.
Update: I ordered a 4' Heptacodium from Forest Farm, what I received was actually a little over 6' feet. Also, I didn't get it planted till probably about mid July 08. It has done wonderfully. I'm growing it as a multi (3) trunk tree. It flowered about 1 1/2 months after I planted it and the pealing bark is really attractive. This year it has grown at least 4' and is over 10' tall and lots of new branches. It actually looks like a tree now. A few suckers (not aggressively) came up at the base of the trunks but they snap off easily. It's been setting flower buds for a few weeks now and I am really looking forward to them. In fact, this has done so well for me and grows so fast that I planted 4 more (babies from Forest Farm again).
On Jul 13, 2007, spicecat from Toronto, ON (Zone 6b) wrote:
I would dispute the claim that this plant needs acid soil. Mine is in neutral to slightly alkaline and is thriving. I planted it in 2003 as a 4' shrub, and it's now about 15' tall.
It is a tree (I just can't bring myself to call anything this big a shrub) that needs to be pruned to really be used to best effect. I remove all but the main stems from 3' down, and cut back some of the higher branches by 1/3 in spring.
As this plant is not widely grown in my area (Toronto, ON) cuttings have great novelty value at local flower shows (last fall it received 'best in show' for a cultural entry at my local Horticultural society). It's also one that most causes most plant people walking through my garden to ask "what's that?!?"
On Mar 14, 2007, braun06 from Peoria Heights, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:
This is a very interesting plant that even though beautiful, it has left me frustrated at times. It is weedy looking in its youth so careful pruning is needed to try and shape it upward. The plant grows very fast and early in spring but this is also a liability. Here in Central Illinois late frosts usually nip at it early in the growing season several times while freezes will kill it back below even previous years growth.
Its fast growth, 3-5' a year, is a liability in that it makes it very prone to breakage in wind. The growth habit is also a liability as the stems can shoot this length without any side branching to help distribute any weight. In spring, strong storms may take out the best new upward growing branches, while in summer rather weak gusts around 20-25mph may take out already hardening stems. If you can site these guys out of wind it is highly recommended. Needless to say, green stretch plant tape has been a constant fixture in my plant adjusting for each years growth for support and training.
As the plant matures it will flower earlier and earlier each year. It flowered in September the first year I planted it. Now it flowers by the beginning of August. The flowers are lightly fragrant like jasmine. To gain a whif you will need to be within 10 feet of the plant. The tepals havent been reliable for me yet but waiting to see if that still improves with age, so far its gotten better each year. I haven't had deep red coloration. It is attractive though it hasnt occured at each spent flower.
Bark started peeling within its late 2nd year at the base but has been slower to work its way upward. The peeling bark is truly an amazing feature of this plant. No self seeding has occured in the 6 years I've grown it.
On Dec 30, 2006, terrelevin from Saugerties, NY wrote:
I've read the comments, and seen the pictures and I don't believe it!! I've had this plant for over two years in a partly shady area of a new garden. It hasn't grown very much and certainly hasn't 'bushed' out at all with the same 6-7 branches. I get a handful of flowers and bracts in the VERY late fall. I'm about to pull it out. I have it in area where my azaleas and other acid lovers are. I'm in zone 5a and it should do well here. We've had mild winters, and lots of rain.
On Apr 30, 2005, CatskillMtMan from Fleischmanns, NY wrote:
Update - November 2008. Some type of fungus or blight killed my Seven Son Flower by the end of the 2005 growing season. I removed it and planted a new one in the same spot at the beginning of the 2006 season. When I planted the new one, it was about 5' tall. The new one has been trouble-free and is now (November 2008) 12' tall with a beautiful fountaining habit. I can't sing the praises of this great little tree enough!
Originally written in 2005: This is a great small tree and it is virtually indestructible. I planted a 4' tall Seven Son Flower in the late summer of 2001 in extremely poor soil. By the end of 2003, it was easily over 8' tall. In the winter of 2003-04, a wind storm tossed heavy debris on it and snaped it of at the base. During the 2004 growing season it resprouted from the woody stump and was 4' tall by mid summer. Then something (squirrel, rabbit or vole) gnawed off most of the new growth, yet it managed to regrow a couple feet before the end of the season. It is now 2005, and this tree is sprouting again.
They don't lie when they call this the Crepe Myrtle of the North. I live in Zone 5A (very close to 4B) which makes Crepe Myrtle pretty much out of the question. Seven Son Flower makes a great alternative. It has a beautiful exfoliating bark which makes for good winter interest.
One caution: If you are allergic to bee stings, this might not be the tree for you. When it blooms, my Seven Son Flower is perpetually covered by dozens of bees throughout the day.
Heptacodium miconioides,or Seven Sons Flower is one of my most sucessfull new plants that I have grown lately.I have had no problems with it so far,no pests at all.
I have had one of these for 4 1/2 years.Got it in the late Fall as a single branch bareroot 1/2 meter tall sapling.I planted it in a mostly sunny spot in clay soil that has an inch of sandy loom on top of it,but it is on a gentle slope,so drainage is excellent.I keep it mulched and watered during dry spells,but it has missed a few watering after its first year with no ill effect.The tempertures here have hit 0 F in the Winter and in the Summer near 100 F,with very high humidty.It leafs out early,but has no trouble with the hard Spring frosts that we get here.It is the last of my non-evergreen broadleaf plants to lose its leaves in the Fall....but not much Fall leaf color.
It is now a multi-stemed shrub,about 5 feet tall,and has flowered for at least 3 years.This growing season is the one I expect it to begin growing well since the stems are of good size in diameter...it takes plants a few years to establish themselves in the clay soil here,but once they do,they grow fast.
I have Crape Myrtles growing near this plant.It blooms near the end of the C. Myrtles's blooming season and keeps some of its red calyxes until about the same time it begins to loses some of it leaves.Unlike the C.myrtles its leaves do not change color in the fall,but neither does its leaves turn ugly in the Fall like my Cornus mas.The leaves of my Heptacodium gets a tringe of purple around its edges in the late Fall,and then when the very hard cold spells hit,the last of the leaves fall.It has not gotten big enough yet for the bark to peel and show winter color.Next Winter I will shape it so that it had only 2- 4 trunks,and thus resemble the Crape Myrtles nearby.
I am the only one around here that I know who grows this tree...I have not seen it offered in any of the local nurseries or box stores.Being a very easy to grow and a fast flowering tree-shrub,I also am puzzled why it has not become popular yet.
On Dec 17, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:
Touted as the "crepe myrtle for the northern US" in some nursery catalogs, this plant deserves to be more widely grown and appreciated. Tall for a shrub (15-20 feet), this late summer bloomer sports bright red calyces that are even showier than the white flowers. Heptacodium miconioides was discovered in China by the famous plant collector E.H. Wilson, brought into western cultivation in the late 20th century, but twenty-some years later, it's still not found in many gardens or garden centers.
On Sep 17, 2003, Puplover from Chaplin, CT (Zone 5b) wrote:
I just planted a five or six foot plant this July and it has grown about a foot. The bark is peeling nicely and each branch got a clump of flowers which started to open around Sept. 5th and are still blooming. I think the bark should bring alot of interest to my garden in winter.
On Sep 20, 2001, talinum from Kearney, NE (Zone 5a) wrote:
Unusual plant best known in the New England states. It is best used in a border, has great foliage and interesting flower and fruit characteristics.
Grows rapidly to 15' tall and 10' wide. Adaptable to sun or shade, although best color is in sun.
Flower buds appear early in summer, but do not open until August or September. Individual flowers are creamy white, fragrant and are borne in 6" long terminal panicles.
Fruit capsules change green to rose-purple and are much
more effective than the flowers.
This plant needs well-drained, acid, organic soil.
Native to China
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Indian Springs Village, Alabama Calistoga, California Davis, California Denver, Colorado Clinton, Connecticut Ridgefield, Connecticut Carlinville, Illinois Chicago, Illinois Evanston, Illinois Hanna City, Illinois Palos Park, Illinois Saint Charles, Illinois Waukegan, Illinois South Amana, Iowa Lansing, Kansas Lawrence, Kansas Overland Park, Kansas Clermont, Kentucky Georgetown, Kentucky Lexington, Kentucky Louisville, Kentucky (2 reports) Nicholasville, Kentucky Baltimore, Maryland Bridgewater, Massachusetts Chatham, Massachusetts Lynnfield, Massachusetts Millis, Massachusetts Wellfleet, Massachusetts Ann Arbor, Michigan Kent City, Michigan Goodview, Minnesota Hopkins, Minnesota Minneapolis, Minnesota Learned, Mississippi Madison, Missouri Helena, Montana Cayuga Heights, New York Elba, New York Fleischmanns, New York Jefferson, New York West Point, New York Elizabeth City, North Carolina Mansfield, Ohio Clarks Green, Pennsylvania Laflin, Pennsylvania Souderton, Pennsylvania Woonsocket, Rhode Island Berea, South Carolina North Augusta, South Carolina Amelia Court House, Virginia Aquia Harbour, Virginia Lexington, Virginia Benton City, Washington Seattle, Washington (2 reports) Spokane, Washington Milwaukee, Wisconsin Portage, Wisconsin