Seven Sons in Fall

In the fall, there are just simply fewer landscape plants that offer great appeal.  Sure, goldenrod, asters, plumbago, turtlehead, sedums and mums should be a part of just about any landscape, but the ratio of spring and summer bloomers is probably about 3:1 or even more.  For that reason, let’s highlight one more fall appealing plant – the Seven Sons tree/flower/shrub.  The slashes are included here because depending on who you talk to, there might be a slightly different term used.

Actually, this plant is gaining in popularity because it has 4 season appeal – cool flaky bark in winter, green leaves in spring, white slightly fragrant flowers in mid to late summer and mauve flower covers – calyces – in fall.  At this point in the season, the Seven Sons tree/shrub is one of just a few that stands out in the landscape.  Rose of Sharon, pagoda dogwood and burning bush euonymous are a couple of others.  

In addition to the 4 season appeal feature, this plant has the capacity to be grown as either a shrub or a small tree.  This adds a good option for the gardener, as some open spaces or “landscape holes” are bigger than others, it makes a great front yard tree for small lots and a good backdrop in the flower border.  Finally, Seven Sons doesn’t have too many pests other than occasional chewing insects and canker diseases that are common on other similarly sized plants.

John Fech
Horticulture Extension Educator at Nebraska Extension
John Fech is a horticulturist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. The author of 2 books and over 200 popular and trade journal articles, he focuses his time on teaching effective landscape maintenance techniques, water conservation, diagnosing turf and ornamental problems and encouraging effective bilingual communication in the green industry. He works extensively with the media to extend the message of landscape sustainability, making over 100 television and radio appearances each year.
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