The Q&A Archives: Care Of Tree

Question: I just bought a smoke tree and want any information on it, care of it, when will it bloom. Thank you

Answer: Cotinus coggygria, the Smoketree or Smokebush, often
grows as a multistemmed bush and forms a rounded yet
open crown. It grows in a wide variety of situations but prefers a sunny spot with average soil or better.

According to Michael Dirr's Manual of
Woody Landscape Plants, the ultimate size should be in the
10 to 15 foot range in height and width and it is considered
a "medium" grower in terms of speed. Most plants grow
more quickly in youth, so it would not be unusual to expect
about two feet of growth a year from a young plant if it is
well cared for. This plant is native to Southern Europe and
to China and Himilaya.

The size your plant reaches will
depend on your localized growing conditions and on the
specific variety you have planted. It will also depend on
your pruning -- some gardeners will cut these to the ground
each year in order to encourage larger and brighter foliage. This pruning will however remove the current year's flowers.

In any case this plant is highly adaptable to soil types and
exposures but will do very well in full sun on average soil. It blooms in mid summer and the flowers last for a long time. The fall color is often spectacular, but this can vary between individual plants.

Although it is unlikely you have this one, there is also the American Smoketree (Cotinus obovata) which is somewhat
similar but grows larger, into the 20 to 30 foot range, and is
native to certain areas of the eastyern US and Texas. This
tree is known for its spectacular fall color and is somewhat
unusual in commerce.

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