Smoke Tree 'Golden Spirit'

Cotinus coggygria

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
Registered or introduced: 2002
View this plant in a garden



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 4, 2015, mastiffgirl from Pittsboro, NC wrote:

I bought this for the startling lime-green color. Then I read here about the slow growth rate. Apparently no one told mine and new shoots shot up almost immediately. It was about 3' when I planted it and the four new shoots are now 10", 12", 18" and "28". It's in full to part sun throughout the day, gets occasional water but that's it. I do have fabulous soil which helps with everything, of course.

A. Elwell, Pittsboro, NC 27312


On Jul 27, 2015, garygordon40 from Vancouver, WA wrote:

Very surprised to hear of slow growth rates.Planted my 1 gal golden sprit 2 years ago in shade where it did not do well. Last year moved it to a sunny location and it exploded. Now about 6 foot tall in my Vancouver, WA garden.


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.


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.


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.


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... read more


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

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


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.


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!


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.


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 sempervire... read more