Plant of the Month for August, 2018

(Ko-TYE-nus)

General Information:

Cotinus ‘Grace’ is a lovely smoke bush that stands out in any garden. It has vibrant red spring foliage that keeps it color all summer long, turning an even better red-orange in fall. Leaf color depends very much on the angle of the sun but when it is shining just right the whole plant glows. Leaves that are in shade will take on a dark green color. In summer it produces large dark pink clouds of blooms.

 Cotinus ‘Grace’: photo by Robert Pavlis

Cotinus ‘Grace’: photo by Robert Pavlis

'Grace' is a cross between the European smoke bush, Cotinus coggygria  ‘Velvet Cloak’ and the American smoke tree, Cotinus obovatus. Some source list this cross as C. x dummeri, but that is not a commonly used name - it may not be valid.

 Cotinus ‘Grace’: photo by Robert Pavlis

Cotinus ‘Grace’: photo by Robert Pavlis

In my zone 5 garden I see winter dieback on some cultivars of smoke bush, but not this one. It also grows more vigorously than most. If you cut the stems back to ground level on a mature plant it will grow 7 to 8 feet in one summer. New growth is always more colorful, so this is a good way to handle the plant.

 Cotinus ‘Grace’: photo by Robert Pavlis

Cotinus ‘Grace’: photo by Robert Pavlis

This plant is reported to have very large flower clusters, but I have not seen that on mine, which tends to have small clusters. This may be due to fact that mine has never reached full size due to pruning. Leaves show no pest damage.

 

 Life Cycle: shrub

Height: 4 m (12 ft)

Bloom Time: summer

Natural Range: n/a

Habitat: n/a

Synonyms:  none

 

Cultivation:

Light: full sun

Soil: very adaptable

Water: drought tolerant once established

USDA Hardiness Zone: ?4 5-9

Propagation: cuttings, layering

Seedex availability (ORG&HPS annual Seed Exchange): never

Cotinus 'Grace'
Robert Pavlis