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The Plant Guide

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Smoke tree

Cotinus coggygria

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This bushy shrub or small tree has generated many notable cultivars, all of which add great textural qualities to the landscape. It has 6-inch-long frothy plumes that appear after the flowers and give a long-lasting, smoky haze to branch tips. Its green leaves are smooth and rounded and produce brilliant fall color.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsCotinus are outstanding specimens in a shrub border, and are a great choice for massing or for hedges. They need minimal pruning to maintain a healthy framework, or alternately, may be coppiced to produce large, dramatic foliage on varieties with colorful foliage (this is at the expense of generous flowering). 

CareGrows best in moderately fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade, but is tolerant of alkaline soils, moist, clay soils, dry, rocky soils, and drought.

PropagationSow seed in autumn, layer in spring, and take softwood cuttings in summer.

ProblemsVerticillium wilt.

  • Genus : Cotinus
  • Plant Height : 10 to 15 feet
  • Plant Width : 10 to 15 feet
  • Zones : 4, 5
  • Moisture : Adaptable
  • Tolerance : Drought Tolerant
  • Bloom Time : Early Summer, Late Summer, Summer
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Flower Color : Green, Yellow
  • Growth Rate : Moderate
  • Maintenance : Moderate
  • Characteristics : Showy Fall Foliage, Showy Seed Heads
  • Plant Type : Shrubs
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Summer Interest
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