Smoke tree has striking foliage too.

Wispy billows of pinkish or tan blooms through June and July are what the smoke tree, Cotinus coggygria, is named for. It probably should have gotten more recognition for brilliant foliar color in autumn. It reliably turns bright yellow and orange, and if the weather is right, it can turn rich red and even purplish. Until then, the popular modern varieties have either dark purplish or light yellowish foliage. Some of the older plants have slightly bluish green foliage. The nearly circular leaves are about two or three inches long. Yellowish varieties tend to be shortest. Those with purplish or bronze foliage get larger. Old fashioned green plants are the largest, and can get twelve feet tall and broad. Smoke tree can be large shrubbery, or pruned up as small trees. Aggressive pruning in winter promotes better foliar color through spring and summer, but inhibits smoky bloom. Slightly distressed plants have better color in autumn. Plants that are watered too much are likely to succumb to disease within only a few years.

2 thoughts on “Smoke Tree

    1. It is actually good to hear someone else say that. I happen to like the foliar color as it changes in autumn. However, I am none too keen on bronze foliage prior to that. To me, the golden foliage looks sickly, and in our climate, gets scorched. The color of the formerly common green sort look like it was selected by the Navy. Of course, I can not say that in the gardening column.

      Liked by 1 person

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