In Landscaping, Smoketrees Are Hot
Why settle for ordinary? If you're going to put shrubs or trees in your landscaping, why not plant something that will knock your socks off? That's what you get from smoketrees. Grown as shrubs or small trees, they reach a height of 15 feet and spread out about 15-20 feet. The secret to their "smoke" look is the many flower panicles that bunch together. Also, different varieties have splendid foliage, ranging from blue-green to maroon.
Ideal Growing Conditions for Smoketrees
Smoketrees grow in Hardiness Zones 5-9 and thrive in rich, well-drained soil. They look best in full sun, but can handle partial shade.
See our article on planting trees
Different Foliage for Different Folks
There are several different varieties of smoketrees that grow slightly different foliage. The leaves tend to be oval, but the color varies by species. Common smoketrees produce blue-green leaves that darken as the seasons progress, and turn yellow or red in the fall. Royal Purple smoketrees have maroon leaves all season long.
Tree or Bush? It Depends on How You Prune
Smoketrees are fast growers. The plant doesn't require much pruning, other than dead or odd branches. If you want thick foliage in a bush form, prune the branches in early spring close to the base, leaving a few buds for re-growth. You won't see smoke, since the flowers only appear on old wood, but you will have full foliage.
Where to Buy Smoketrees
Smoketrees are sometimes available at garden centers. If not, an online search will reveal plenty of nurseries that offer this beautiful plant.