Growing Smoke Tree

Be the envy of neighbors with this mystical beauty.
Similar Topics:
Smoke Tree

Smoke Tree

Smoke tree starts out with grayish-pink leaves in early spring, then blooms leaving dark burgundy foliage.

Plenty of trees go through a complete color transformation from spring through fall—consider Japanese maples, crape myrtles and ginkgos, to name a few. But perhaps no other tree does it as magically as the smoke tree.

If you’re in the market for something unique to add to your landscape, this tree’s the ticket. Smoke tree, Cotinus coggygria, is a small deciduous tree—some even call it smoke bush—that not only does a 360 on the color wheel throughout the seasons, but also offers a mystical aura, thanks to its unusual flower puffs that can resemble clouds of smoke.

The oval leaves of smoke tree, which grows 10 to 25 feet tall, emerge in late spring as a grayish-purple color before sending up clusters of fluffy, frothy pinkish-gray blooms. As the foliage turns a deep shade of burgundy, the contrast with the flowers makes the smoke-like clouds even more pronounced.

By midsummer, the leaves begin to lose their dramatic color, taking on more of a green hue for several months, before turning a spectacular orange-red in fall.

For these qualities, the multi-trunked smoke tree makes a great garden specimen as well as a nice accent for container plantings. If given full sun and well-drained soil, it’s also a reliable performer, offering drought- and deer resistance. Smoke tree encounters no serious disease or insect problems. 

Growers have introduced a number of varieties over the years. Consider:

  • ‘Royal Purple’—Red-purple foliage that turns scarlet in fall.
  • ‘Grace’—Dark burgundy-purple foliage that becomes orange-red in autumn.
  • ‘Pink Champagne’—Unusual green foliage edged in pink, which turns red and orange in fall.
  • ‘Nordine’—Bronze leaves that become orange-red in autumn.

Next Up

Growing Ginkgos

This fossil of an ancient tree is one tough beauty to behold.

Fire Up the Fall Color with Chinese Flame Tree

Unusual seed capsules ignite a canopy of blazing beauty!

Growing Flowering Trees

Choose an ornamental variety that suits your needs and space.

Trees For Winter Bark

Beauty is only skin deep. Learn how to create winter interest with trees that exfoliate beautiful bark.

Goldenrain Tree

Learn more about the goldenrain tree and its environment.

Growing Dwarf Fruit Trees

Turn your backyard into a miniature orchard—these gorgeous fruit trees are perfect for pots.

Growing Multi-Stemmed Trees

You can buy multi-stemmed trees, which require no further pruning — or you can coax a single-stemmed tree into developing multiple trunks.

Growing Sweet Autumn Clematis

Relish this fragrant climber, but keep its aggressive nature in check.

Growing Pecan Trees

Find out if planting a pecan tree is the right choice for your yard.

Growing Mums

Learn tips for planting and growing beautiful, healthy garden mums.