Few plants can provide great textural qualities in the landscape like Cotinus. They are grown for their large, plumelike panicles, which appear after the flowers, and give a long-lasting, smokey haze to branch tips. Their smooth, rounded leaves come in exceptional shades of clear pinkish-bronze, yellow, deep purple, and green. Most species and cultivars produce magnificent fall color.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsOutstanding specimens in a shrub border, smoke trees are also 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). C. obovatus is native to the southeastern United States.
CareGrow in moderately fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. Tolerant of moist, clay soil or dry, rocky soil and drought. Purple-leaved forms are more vibrant in full sun.
PropagationSow seed in autumn, layer in spring, or take softwood cuttings in summer.
ProblemsPowdery mildew, verticillium wilt