- Type Shrub or small tree
- Life Span Perennial
- USDA Zones 4-11
- Light Sun or some shade
- Pairs Well With Chartreuse plants
- Leaf Color Purple, red, orange
- Design Tip Dramatic backdrop
- Other Uses Floral arrangements
- Peak Season Vibrant in fall
Smoke Bush: A Field Guide
Dark leaves and puff-of-smoke flowers make Cotinus—or smoke bush—both a show-shopper and a dramatic backdrop.
Smoke bush creates drama with its vivid purple darkness, and it is a striking foil for just about everything in a garden. It’s highly trainable and can be either a shrub or a small tree. Use smoke bush solo or en masse as a hedge. But don’t be too kind. For a healthy life span and optimal color, its soil should lean toward the dry and infertile. Don’t forget that Cotinus is deciduous, so plan your winter design accordingly.