When a Cotinus (aka "Smoke Tree" or "Smoke Bush") is in bloom it has the appearance of a magical image from an impressionists painting. Or perhaps an old masters’ stroke of chiaroscuro softly enchanting us at the edge of a painting.
Cotinus is a native of Southern Europe and Central China. It’s a relatively easy to grow, multi-stemmed shrub often reaching 10-15’ in width and height, depending on the variety. They are tolerant of many soil conditions, except wet, and are happiest in a sunny location with well-drained, slightly infertile soil. Many varieties are hardy in zones 4-9.
The nearly insignificant yellowish, panicle flowers appear in late Spring, then mature over
the Summer months forming the fluffy, hazy puffs we see in our August and September gardens.
Prune in late Autumn directly after the smoky puffs fade or very lightly in early Spring for the best fluffy floral display later in the season.
The oval leaf and Autumn color will vary depending on the variety. Leaf colors in growth can range from green, bluish-green to purple with Autumn leaf colors purplish-reds, orange or yellow.
Grown as a single specimen or as a hedge, these unusual shrubs make a daring statement in our late Summer landscapes. A must have for every garden aficionado’s collection and a great conversational piece.