Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Smoke Tree
Cotinus 'Grace'

Family: Anacardiaceae (an-a-kard-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cotinus (ko-TYE-nus) (Info)
Cultivar: Grace

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

6 members have or want this plant for trade.

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10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

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

Good Fall Color

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

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From softwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 22 photos.
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2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive BoPo On Jun 11, 2013, BoPo from Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5b) wrote:

I'm giving this a positive because she grows well and is very attractive in summer. In fact, she grows so well she will tower 15 feet tall in a matter of a few years, and I had her trimmed up from a 3 feet shrub to a multi stemmed tree in later years.

I would call the growth habit irregular - good luck pruning to find the "shape" you want. She just keeps growing and growing and growing and you will be pruning a lot if you are looking to achieve a specific shape. I pruned her up into a tree form in a matter of a few years, so don't be afraid to prune away - she responds beautifully.

With that said, she's more an informal planting and you can try to control her growth habit with proper pruning techniques and practice various pruning angles, but it is an undertaking unless you are content with letting her roam free. In my 1/8 acre, I don't have that luxury and lean more towards formal landscaping style so for me she seems to be the oddball. She got much too large for the space I have.

Personally, I like the Golden Spirit cultivar growth habit much better than Grace (I have both). Golden Spirit is slower growing, neater growth habit lending to a better shape - not as gangly as Grace tends to be, and the chartreuse foliage of Golden Spirit is something to vie after.

I have plenty of "yard waste" every year after giving Grace a trim. Eventually, she grew so tall, I lacked the foliage at the base that I still wanted (which is the way I pruned her), so this year I lopped her back to about 4 feet tall again.

She has never died back to the ground for me, nor have I ever had to deal with any top die back. Pretty hardy for my zone 5 garden. Not attractive in the winter.

Ideally, I would use her as a backdrop in a corner of a yard behind more attractive plantings with evergreens nearby to offset her sparse winter form, but in my yard I made the mistake of planting her at the forefront next to a walkway and my driveway, as I had envisioned her in a tree form with us walking beneath her canopy. Well, her canopy is not that easy to control - she grows too fast and we had to duck underneath her to get by. Not ideal. Give this baby room.

Her smokey plumes and roundish foliage is very attractive. New growth is more purple / reddish, but as the season goes on it fades and turns green. I have an underplanting of yellow Euonymous shrub and yellow sedum 'Angelina' and the combination is lovely.

I'd say she's pretty drought tolerant once established. She's in a very dry area on my property without any ill effects whatsoever.

My soil is black topsoil, compact and somewhat clayish.

Positive LakeLivingRos On May 27, 2013, LakeLivingRos from SeaTac, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

There are two of these at my work, and I looked forever to find one for my own garden. They have a beautiful burgundy color most of the year. The blooms are very unique compared to most plants you see here in the PNW for shrubs/trees. I will admit, they are ugly sticks for about 2 months during the winter season, but from the ones at work the leaves stay on for a long time (one of the last to lose leaves from what I can tell). The trees at work are never watered, and seem to thrive very well despite absolutely no maintenance whatsoever in the last 10 years.. I finally found one at Lowes for $14, and am excited to plant it. If you don't mind a very ugly stick for 2 months of the year, it is really worth the pretty foilage and blooms the rest of the year (at least in the PNW!). I would recommend this plant in a heart beat! I plan on pairing the one in my own garden with a golden vicary privet to give contrast.


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

Denver, Colorado
Marietta, Georgia
Boise, Idaho
Aurora, Illinois
Oak Park, Illinois
Saint Charles, Illinois
Mechanicsville, Maryland
Kasota, Minnesota
Elba, New York
New Bern, North Carolina
Eastlake, Ohio
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Arlington, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Lexington, Virginia
Brady, Washington
Bremerton, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Olympia, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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