Description & Overview

Seven Son Flower is an underrated plant. Temple of Bloom is a smaller-scaled cultivar of Heptacodium miconioides with outstanding appeal. A high-impact landscape plant with minimal maintenance, they are coveted for their stellar display of late-season, fragrant, nectar-rich white flowers drawing in pollinators like a magnet. After the veil of flowers fades, a sturdy calyx encompasses the rounded seedpod in vivid colors of cherry red to rosy purple. This multi-stemmed plant also features tan bark that exfoliates to reveal an attractive brown inner back, which provides appealing winter interest.

Core Characteristics

Category: Tree

Wisconsin Native: No - Introduced

USDA Hardiness Zone: to zone 5

Mature Height: 6-10 feet

Mature Spread: 6-10 feet

Growth Rate: Moderate

Growth Form: Upright, vase - shaped.

Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Site Requirements: Moist, well - draining soil.

Flower: White, fragrant

Bloom Period: July, August, and September

Foliage: Green

Fall Color: Red sepals

Urban Approved: No

Fruit Notes: Small, purplish - red fruit covered by showy, rose - pink calyces.

Suggested Uses

Temple of Bloom is nearly half the size of the larger growing Seven Son Flower, making it great for those with limited space. It is adaptable to most soil types as long as it is well-drained and receives regular watering.

This plant is well-suited to be used as a landscape specimen or focal point, drawing the eye with its exfoliating bark and beautiful flowers. Plant your Temple of Bloom in a prominent part of your landscape where it can be seen often and enjoyed at any time of the year.

Their blooms are nectar-rich and draw in insects by the masses for a late summer feast.

Seven Son Flower is an underrated plant. Temple of Bloom is a smaller-scaled cultivar of Heptacodium miconioides with outstanding appeal. A high-impac…

Wildlife Value

The multi-stemmed habit of Temple of Bloom provides cover for songbirds, and the flowers provide nectar for an ample amount of pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

Maintenance Tips

Easy to care for, Temple of Bloom requires little to no pruning to obtain a beautiful form. If you need to shape your Seven Son Flower, prune it during the winter before the flower buds are set. Pruning in spring or summer will remove the flower buds and prevent them from flowering that year.

As with all trees, your Seven Son Flower will benefit from a maintained mulch ring at the base.

Seven Son Flower is an underrated plant. Temple of Bloom is a smaller-scaled cultivar of Heptacodium miconioides with outstanding appeal. A high-impac…

Pests/Problems

Black Walnut Tolerant: Yes
Deer Resistant: No
Rabbit Resistant: No

Thankfully, there are no serious insect problems that have been observed on Seven Son Flowers.

It can, however, be attacked by Verticillium Wilt, a fungal pathogen that causes injury or death to many plants. Infected plants cannot be cured and will eventually die. The best prevention is a healthy and happy tree. Proper siting and watering practices are key and avoid damage while mowing the lawn.

Leaf Lore

Heptacodium miconioides is another Asiatic species introduced to the western world by famous British plant explorer and collector Ernest Henry Wilson. Wilson is responsible for introducing nearly 2000 Asian plant species to the West. In 1907, Wilson set off on an expedition to China on behalf of the Arnold Arboretum. During that expedition, he collected a herbarium specimen in the Hubei Province. The individual was said to be 10′ tall, had tiny white flowers, and was clinging to a cliff, and noted that it was “very rare!”

Several months later, Wilson returned, presumably to collect seeds. He also collected a second herbarium specimen with only a single fruit with ripe seed. The two samples were sent back to the Arnold Arboretum. In 1916, Wilson’s colleague Alfred Rehder determined that the specimens belonged to a new species. He named it Heptacodium miconioides.

The genus name ‘Heptacodium‘ comes from the Greek word ‘eptá,’ meaning “seven,” about the flower clusters typically made up of seven parts. The specific epithet ‘miconioides‘ refers to the plant’s similarities to the unrelated genus Miconia.

In 1980, the Arnold Arboretum’s taxonomist, Stephen Spongberg, was one of five American botanists invited to participate in a joint research expedition back in the Hubei Province. At the end of this research expedition, the researchers toured the Hangzhou Botanical Garden in Zhejiang Province. The garden staff allowed the Americans to collect seed of it Heptacodium miconioides to take home. It was the first introduction of this species into North American cultivation. In 1981, additional seeds from the same source were provided to the Arnold Arboretum. Those seeds are believed to be the source of nearly all Seven Son Flowers in the United States. At the Arnold Arboretum today, five of the six plants grown directly from the 1980 gift are located near the Centre Street entrance.

Companion Plants

Consider pairing with colorful perennials like Geranium, Willowleaf Amsonia, and Montrose White Calamint. Add ornamental grasses like Little Bluestem and Feather Reed Grass for added texture. You could also pair it with ground-covering plants such as Canada Wild Ginger.

Pairing with a nearby shade tree is also possible, thanks to their shade tolerance. For example, a red or yellow flowering buckeye such as ‘Early Glow’ or ‘Mystic Ruby’ nearby would help balance out bloom times.

Seven Son Flower is an underrated plant. Temple of Bloom is a smaller-scaled cultivar of Heptacodium miconioides with outstanding appeal. A high-impac…
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Written by Beth DeLain