Purple smoke tree, known botanically Cotinus coggygria, is a small deciduous flowering tree. It is commonly grown as a specimen tree and has multi-season appeal. Abundant purple flowers appear in spring and summer, and the bark and foliage add to the dramatic effect. Reaching a maximum height of 20 feet, the multiple trunks have dark, nearly black, bark, and the foliage is a rich eggplant purple that ages to a reddish purple in the fall.
Plant in Full Sun Exposure
Plant your purple smoke tree in a location with a full and even sun exposure. It is a species with an extremely sensitive phototropic response. It will list markedly towards sunlight, and the canopy will develop unevenly and asymmetrically when grown in partial sunlight, marring its appearance.
Smoke tree is not sensitive to planting soil quality, and growing it in nutrient-rich, dense soil is thought to hasten the tree's already short lifespan of 20 years. Provide well drained, slightly dry and gravelly soil that is slightly acidic, neutral or slightly alkaline. Ensure that the soil is not consistently wet, and limit irrigation to dry conditions only.
Plant Where on Show
Site your purple smoke tree where its cascade of seasonal interest, unusual dark beauty and symmetrical canopy can be on constant display. The spring flowers, dark foliage and bark, as well as its compact size, make it ideal for walkways, medians, terrace or poolside plantings, where it can be observed and enjoyed up close.