Great Design Plant: Smoke Tree

Fans of vibrant seasonal foliage rejoice for ‘Grace’ smoke tree (Cotinus ‘Grace’). Plant this brassy hybrid and there will not be an inactive minute in your garden from spring through fall. Like most species in the Cotinus genus, ‘Grace’ provides a bold burst of abundant foliage and flower color, spreading foliage and low-maintenance charm.

A cross between the European cigarette bush (C. coggygria) along with the green smoke tree (C. obovatus), ‘Grace’ is really a perfect plant for designers looking to add some visual diversity into their designs while preserving a subtlety. “I really like the seasonal colour changes,” says designer Lisa Port. “It can be a large shrub, but then cut down to 2′ tall each year and ‘recharged’ into a wonderful bushy shrub in one season.”

Banyon Tree Design Studio

Botanical name: Cotinus ‘Grace’ (syn. Cotinus X ‘Grace’)

Common names: ‘Grace’ cigarette tree; ‘Grace’ smoketree; ‘Grace’ smoke bush; ‘Grace’ smokebush

USDA zones: 4-9

Water necessity: typical; do not overwater

Sun necessity: Full sun

Mature size: 10-15′ h x 10-15′ spread

Tolerances: drought, and no significant pest problems, deer, resistant to oak root fungus

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Distinguishing attributes. ‘Grace’ is widely known for its gaudy pink clusters of blossoms, coming in early summer, followed by a dazzling display of red, burgundy and purple foliage lasting well into the close of the year. Light red leaves emerge come spring, suggesting the restart of this gorgeous cycle.

A vigorous grower, the open mounding habit of plant can be manipulated to any desired form. Whether you permit the plant to expand out and up to its adult potential, or prune back and maintained as a tree that is low, the leaves and also smoke-like bloom will stop anyone in his tracks — whether they like purple.

Fluffy pink panicles appear in summer can reach dimensions of over 12″ in each direction — the source of smoke tree’s common name.

The best way to utilize it. As an erect shrub, ‘Grace’ can function a focal plant, border plant, or mixed in a bed. The structured yet open form of the shrub paired with its distinct foliage works well with other plants with cooler colours. “It pairs well with grasses, hostas, and perennial flowers,” says Port.

In the landscape over, I adore ‘Grace’ comes off as a subtle accent in the landscape as well as a showstopping focus across the stairs. Notice texture and the colour function together with entrance wall and the other vegetation. It’s a superb choice for modern-architecture lovers still trying to find a loose and inviting landscape.

Before you plant. ‘Grace’ prefers well-drained soil, thrives in soil with average to low fertility, also can be disease-free and drought-tolerant. You truly can not develop wrong with this blossom shrub.

If you so choose, cut the plant to the ground in summer months to enhance its usage as a foliage plant and then prepare it for its following growing season. Be mindful that cutting ‘Grace’ back may signify no flowers for that year.

More great landscaping plants:
Feather Reed Grass | Bald Cypress | Walker’s Low Catmint
Blue Chalk Sticks | New Zealand Wind Grass

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