Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Smoke Tree
Cotinus coggygria 'Purpureus'

Family: Anacardiaceae (an-a-kard-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cotinus (ko-TYE-nus) (Info)
Species: coggygria (kog-GY-gree-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Purpureus
Additional cultivar information: (aka Atropurpureus)

Synonym:Cotinus coggygria f. purpureus
Synonym:Cotinus coggygria var. purpureus

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


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

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


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
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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4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive palmbob On Oct 2, 2013, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is supposedly a very drought tolerant species, and admittedly I have seen some nice specimens here in the inland, high desert in California where annual rainfall can be as low as 2" a year. But do NOT think it is THAT drought tolerant. When I bought these trees, the planting instructions warned multiple times NOT to overwater these trees and to be sure they were planted in well draining soil (well. the latter here is all we have so that was easy). I watered these trees 3x a week since this is the desert after all.. both trees eventually defoliated. So I upped the water to daily and created huge bowls around them to fill with lakes of water... and they grew back and are doing well. So overwatering these trees as not as easy as it might sound. Those with healthy trees here in this climate water them all the time.

Positive anglnwhite On Aug 27, 2008, anglnwhite from Spokane, WA wrote:

I have a purple smoke tree in the far corner of my yard that literally grew out of nowhere. It's been there for years, is in VERY sandy soil, gets NO water other than what nature provides (which is very little during the summer months) and it flowers every year. This year I had the opportunity to landscape and plant so I went out and took a naturally layered specimen from it to put in a visible part of yard. The single root that came out of the ground with that plant was literally two feet long! After 4 months of nurturing and root growth, I've placed the growing babe into it's permanent place in my backyard. Next year I hope to take another for the front of the house. Smoke trees are tough, beautiful plants.

Positive suzmyers On Aug 25, 2008, suzmyers from Turnerville, GA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have a purple and a green variety of the smoke tree in my front yard. They are both in full sun. The first year they did nothing, the second year they bloomed a little and this year the purple variety bloomed incredibly and the green just a little. They are in the middle of my yard and are watered regularly, I don't know how they would do if not watered. This was also the first year they were fertilized. I love these small trees and people that come to visit always comment on them.

Neutral ronbo41 On Jul 18, 2006, ronbo41 from Overton, TX wrote:

I have had the plant for about a year. Was told that it required full sun. Planted it in the front which gets full sun until late in the evening. It gets really hot here this time of the year. All the leaves started turning brown. I was in a nursery and the lady there said it needed shade and so it was moved to my back yard where it is mostly shaded. Gets a little sun. The plant is still living but has not grown an inch
since we bought it. I will see how it does in partial shade.

Juear @ Overton, Tx. zone 8

Positive bigcityal On Dec 9, 2005, bigcityal from Menasha, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is truly an accent shrub for my zone. They rarely will "flower". Mine grew for 2 years with very little growth and last winter died back all the way to the ground and I thought it might be dead, but it proceded to grow 10' this year! Next year - who knows.


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

Bessemer, Alabama
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Acton, California
Montgomery Creek, California
Roseville, California
San Leandro, California
Turnerville, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
New Castle, Indiana
Plymouth, Indiana
Barbourville, Kentucky
East Jordan, Michigan
Howard City, Michigan
Manahawkin, New Jersey
Elba, New York
Murphy, North Carolina
Cleveland, Ohio
Jay, Oklahoma
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
North Augusta, South Carolina
Memphis, Tennessee
Belton, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Oakton, Virginia
Bainbridge Island, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Birchwood, Wisconsin
Elkhorn, Wisconsin
Menasha, Wisconsin

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