Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Smoke Tree
Cotinus coggygria 'Golden Spirit'

Family: Anacardiaceae (an-a-kard-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cotinus (ko-TYE-nus) (Info)
Species: coggygria (kog-GY-gree-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Golden Spirit
Additional cultivar information: (PP13082; aka Ancot)
Hybridized by Sanders-van Harn; Year of Registration or Introduction: 2002

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

4 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Click thumbnail
to view:

By memshin
Thumbnail #1 of Cotinus coggygria by memshin

By ArianesGrandma
Thumbnail #2 of Cotinus coggygria by ArianesGrandma

By dybbuk
Thumbnail #3 of Cotinus coggygria by dybbuk

By daryl
Thumbnail #4 of Cotinus coggygria by daryl

By KevinMc79
Thumbnail #5 of Cotinus coggygria by KevinMc79

By charlenenj
Thumbnail #6 of Cotinus coggygria by charlenenj

By mgarr
Thumbnail #7 of Cotinus coggygria by mgarr

There are a total of 15 photos.
Click here to view them all!


6 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative flowerman48jtdv On Nov 1, 2014, flowerman48jtdv from Southfield, MI wrote:

I bought this plant at the Ann Arbor farmers market perhaps 8 years ago. It has never bloomed and it isn't golden or yellow anymore, although it was when I bought it. It is still less than 4 feet tall. I wouldn't care about the size if it were more golden. I have it planted in part shade so that may be the problem. I'm planning on moving it this fall or in the spring. Fall foliage is nice but not spectacular on my plant. Overall, it has not met my expectations but I haven't given up. I live in Southfield, Michigan where this shrub should do well, but results for me have been disappointing so far.

Positive slowgardener On May 27, 2013, slowgardener from Birmingham, AL wrote:

In northern Alabama, ours stays a lovely chartreuse all spring & summer. A nice contrast among the deeper greens. Pretty, round foliage. We keep it contained in a rock garden, pruning it back to about two feet. It will need more water in the heat, but I think it would do well in Mobile, with your jet stream. Striking, unusual vein pattern in fall leaves. A real specimen in the garden.

Positive NCMstGardener On Jul 15, 2011, NCMstGardener from Columbus, NC wrote:

Don't expect a lot of "smoke" from this slow growing Cotinus. But, do grow it for the great color. A great plant here in zone 7B.

Positive BoPo On Jun 28, 2011, BoPo from Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5b) wrote:

Planted this two years ago. Purchased in a tree form as a standard. It is slow to wake up in the spring, even after my 'Grace' cultivar. Returned from vacation end of May in 2010 with some outgrowth. Mid June had lots of nice growth on it. Beautiful coloring in full sun, nice chartreuse and stunning when planted with hot pinks or purples. Had to prune back some dead branches to live growth.

This past winter, the second winter in my yard, it died back to the snow line, unfortunately. So, I had a tree standard form, no outgrowth on the top and all dead branching. All new growth came back from the bottom in a "shrub" form. Too bad. Liked the tree form better, but will still grow it in a shrub form. Growth rate is pretty fast, but slow to wake up in spring as mentioned earlier.

Still, I love the coloring on this one. Wouldn't want to be without it.

Update in 2013:
This lovely was relocated to a dappled sun condition in my yard after the standard form died back to the ground two winters ago. I moved it to a protected area (garage on one side, fence on the other) and the new growth on the bottom last year survived this past winter. No dieback.

The new bottom growth last year was not the nice bright green as at that time it was shaded by a fence, but this year it has grown to the 4 1/2 foot fence height and the area that reaches the sun is the nice bright green you purchase this plant for. Lots of smokey plumes this year too. I provided supplemental watering during the growing season last year as well, which probably helped her to establish better.

She is planted next to my purple leaf sandcherries and behind a shorter fern leaf red japanese maple, and the contrast is stunning.

Zone 5, rich black compact somewhat clayish soil. Don't give up on this beauty if she dies back to the ground. Well worth the effort, so my rating goes from neutral to positive.

Neutral dora447 On Apr 5, 2011, dora447 from Spanish Fort, AL wrote:

Can anyone tell me if this shrub will grow in Mobile, AL?

Positive anelson77 On May 31, 2009, anelson77 from Seattle, WA wrote:

I have these growing in part shade, occasional water. They grow surprisingly slowly--only about 3 feet tall after 2 years. Still, they have been free of trouble. The color in the shade has faded to more of a lime green than yellow, but still provides nice contrast to the amber leafed nine bark in front of it. Hasn't bloomed yet. Leaves out late and loses its leaves very late in the fall, with nice fall color.

Neutral crazyboutplants On Sep 4, 2006, crazyboutplants from Edmonds, WA wrote:

I planted "Golden Spirit" Cotinus (1Gal.) three years ago on a gentle slope in full sun. It is growing extremely slow still about as tall (18 inches) but a little fuller. I give it ample water but wonder why it's so slow in growing, I understood it would grow to 10 feet tall! Because of that fact, I have placed it in the back- Three years is a long time to wait to see it!

Positive JoleneS On Jun 9, 2005, JoleneS from Centerville, UT (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is a great plant to brighten up even a shaded garden. Even though all the literature says "full sun" mine is in partial shade and is doing very well. It keeps its golden color and makes quite a statement in the afternoon shade! I've had it three years and it seems to be growing only about 6 inches a year, but that's probably due to the shade. I absolutely love it and would highly recommend it.

Positive ArianesGrandma On May 28, 2005, ArianesGrandma from Yorkville, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

This outstanding three season specimen should become a featured focal point. Use in shrub borders for late season interest. Provide unique effects against evergreens and perennials in mixed beds. A fine foundation plant to highlight important points in the architecture, entries and windows. Excellent choice for adding background interest to fountains and water gardens. Worth considering for accenting stark landscapes or adding depth to any home garden.

For startling foliage effects, pair Golden Spirit with its stellar sister, Royal Purple Smoke Tree, (Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'). Play it off a background of dark green broadleaf evergreens such as Otto Luyken English Laurel, (Prunus laurocerasus 'Otto Luyken'), Dwarf English Boxwood, (Buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa') and Crimson Pygmy Dwarf Japanese Barberry, (Berberis thunbergii 'Crimson Pygmy'). Combine it with Centennial Dwarf Crape Myrtle, (Lagerstroemia indica 'Centennial'), Petite Indigo Dwarf Butterfly Bush, (Hibiscus syriacus 'Minerva'), Prairie Blue Eyes Hemerocallis, (Hemerocallis x 'Prairie Blue Eyes'), and Monch Firkart's Aster, (Aster frikartii 'Monch')


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama
San Anselmo, California
San Leandro, California
Batavia, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Saint Charles, Illinois
Yorkville, Illinois
Indianapolis, Indiana
Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Adrian, Michigan
Polson, Montana
Columbus, North Carolina
Enid, Oklahoma
Walterville, Oregon
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Knoxville, Tennessee
Spicewood, Texas
Centerville, Utah
Lexington, Virginia
Edmonds, Washington
Lake Stevens, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Twin Lakes, Wisconsin

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America