Smokebush (Cotinus), also known as Smoketree, earns its name from the unique, hazy “puffs” of spent flowers that envelop the shrub in summer. This creates a mesmerizing visual effect, resembling smoke billowing from its foliage. Its velvety almost artificial looking leaves ad to its eye catching ornamental distinctiveness. But Smokebush isn’t just a one-season wonder – some varieties boast vibrant foliage color throughout the growing season and into fall.

What You Should Know:

  • Lifespan: Up to 20 years with good care.
  • Canopy Size and Spread: Can reach 10-15 feet tall and wide, but some varieties stay smaller.
  • Root Characteristics: Generally non-invasive with fibrous roots, considered foundation safe.
  • Growth Rate: Moderate, adding about 1-2 feet per year.
  • Edible Characteristics: While not generally consumed, some parts are considered edible after processing.
  • Soil: Adaptable to most well-draining soils, even slightly alkaline.
  • Water: Prefers regular watering when young. Drought tolerant once established.
  • Light: Thrives in full sun, tolerates partial shade. Best foliage color develops in full sun.
  • Hardiness Zone: Typically USDA Zones 3-8.
  • Flower Characteristics: Tiny yellow flowers appear in early summer. The showstopper is the wispy, pink to purplish “smoke” plumes that last for several weeks and transform as they age.

Interesting Facts

  • Ancient Origins: Fossil records of Smokebushes date back millions of years.
  • Family Ties: A member of the cashew family (Anacardiaceae), strangely related to mangos!
  • Dye Source: Historically, the wood was used to create a yellow dye.
  • Drought Tolerant: Once established, they handle dry conditions with ease.
  • Low Maintenance: These adaptable shrubs need minimal pruning or care after planting.


Interested In Adding This Unique Tree To Your Property?

Contact Edmonton Arborist and our expert tree planting team will bring and install your very own Smoke Bush!

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Consumer choice award for Northern Alberta tree services 2022 and 2023!