Smoke Tree

Smoke Tree, Cotinus

Smoke tree produces inconspicuous yellow flowers in early summer. When the flower stalks mature, long, feather-like hairs emerge and change to pink or purple. The effect gives the illusion that the tree is surrounded in a cloud of smoke.



Smoke tree grows well in full sun or partial shade. It prefers soil of average fertility that is moist and well drained. Established plants adapt to dry, sandy soils. Smoke tree is very tolerant of alkaline, gravelly soil.


Smoke tree can be used in a shrub or mixed landscape beds, as a single specimen or in groups. It is a good choice for a rocky hillside planting.


C. coggygria is a bushy, rounded shrub that develops large, puffy plumes of flowers that start out green and gradually turn a pinky gray. The green foliage turns red, orange and yellow in fall. Many cultivars are available. ‘Pink Champagne’ produces pink-beige flowers, ‘Royal Purple’ has purplish red flowers and dark purple foliage and ‘Velvet Cloak’ bears dark burgundy foliage that turns reddish purple in fall.

Also called: smokebush

Features: bushy, rounded, spreading, deciduous tree or shrub; early-summer flowers; summer and fall foliage; easy to grow

Height: 8–15'

Spread: 8–15'

Hardiness: zones 4–8

Back to top

Tips in your inbox


Sign up for the E-Newsletter for my latest green industry news updates for pros + plant and gardening hobbyists.