This large, upright, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub from western China is a unique looking plant and provides year round interest. In late summer the bush is covered for a month with clusters of small, fragrant, white flowers that attract butterflies. The flowers are followed by showy rose-purple sepals that remain attractive for at least a month. The elongated dark green leaves become tinged with purple in the fall and the thin light tan papery bark exfoliates to show the darker brown inner bark providing winter interest. This attractive bark can be made more visible by limbing up the plant and growing it as a small tree. It has good salt and drought tolerance one established and is attractive as a specimen, in a shrub border, or in a woodland garden and does well in an urban setting. Use it with hydrangeas or azaleas to hide its legginess in summer. The common name, Seven-Son flower, and genus name Heptacodium (seven flower head) refers to the number of blooms in a cluster.
Type: Flowering deciduous shrub or small tree
Outstanding Features: Year round interest with flowers, fruits, and exfoliating bark
Form: Upright, multi-stemmed, vase-shaped
Growth Rate: Fast
Bloom: Small white, fragrant flowers are borne in clusters of 7 in late summer followed by rose-purple fruits that persist into winter
Size: 15-20’ H x 8-10’ W
Light: Full sun but tolerates some shade
Soil: Average, medium moist, well-drained, acidic
Hardiness: Zones 6-8
Care: Prune to maintain habit; water weekly in extreme heat
Pests and Diseases: None of significance
Propagation: Seeds sown when fresh; softwood cuttings in spring.