Position: full sun or partial shade
Soil: well-drained, fertile soil
Flowering period: June to August
Hardiness: fully hardy
Cotinus, also known as smoke bush, is a valuable shrub for mid-summer and autumn. It performs best when grown in a sunny position.
Cotinus is not evergreen. So it will lose all its leaves in winter.
Cotinus ‘Grace’ is well-loved for its plumes of deep pink flowers and rounded purple-tinted leaves, turning reddish in autumn. This smoke bush can grow quite large. Expect a height of 4-5m and a spread of 4-5m.
Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’
Cotinus coggygria is slightly different with maroon-purple leaves which change to purple-red in autumn. It will produce the best leaf colour in full sun. The feathery flower plumes are pink in colour.
1. How and when to prune Cotinus (smoke bush). If you want lots of plumes of smoky flowers, then little pruning is required. Remove any misplaced, diseased, or crossing branches in early spring.
2. If you want to stimulate large, handsome leaves and compact growth, then cut back the stems hard to 10cm above the ground in spring.
3. Alternatively, if you want a good mix of flowers and young foliage, cut back 1/3 of the stems to 10cm above the ground in early spring.
Cotinus (smoke bush) looks lovely when grown with Alchemilla mollis, Crocosmia, Rudbeckia, and Buddleja davidi.
Buddleja davidii ‘Purple Emperor’