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The Cotinus Grace, also referred to as the Smoke Bush, was obtained by crossing the European smoke bush ( Cotinus coggygria) with the American smoke tree (Cotinus obovatus). A deciduous hybrid, the Cotinus ‘Grace’ was first developed in the 1970s at England’s Hillier Nurseries and quickly gained popularity around the world. Cotinus Grace is referred to as the smoke bush due to its fluffy pinkish plumes throughout the summer months.
The Smoke Bush is a garden gem that provides year round visual interest. During the early spring months, its emerging oval-shaped foliage appears almost iridescent in shades of green with a slight red shimmering overcast. In the summer, fluffy pink flower plumes appear that give the shrub a smoky appearance. To many people, the flower plumes give the shrub the visual illusion of being engulfed in endless clouds of pink all summer. A deciduous bush, in the autumn the shrub’s foliage turns a bright red and orange before falling from the bush.
The Cotinus Grace usually grows to a height of between 3 to 4.5 meters with a similar spread. Its ideal size makes it a favourite border shrub. When fully grown, the Smoke Bush forms a mounding appearance which also makes it a perfect focal point shrub in any cottage garden, formal landscape or urban setting.
Plant the Cotinus ‘Grace’ in full sunlight for the best colouration, but it will grow in partial shade. Once established, the Smoke Bush is exceptionally hardy and can withstand periods of drought. Plant in a location with well-draining soil, although the Smoke Tree is tough and will grow even in infertile soil with rocky conditions. It is also deer resistant and suffers from very few pests or diseases.
After planting, the Smoke Bush requires little care and needs no pruning. However, it will tolerate occasional trimming if desired to maintain shape and size. It can also be pruned into a tree shape with one central lead.
The Cotinus ‘Grace’ is a showstopper in any landscape. Ideal companion plantings that will help highlight the eye catching shrub are Black-Eyed-Susan (Rudbeckia), Hydrangea, Mock Orange (Philadelphus), ornamental grasses or Japanese Maple. If you are seeking a dramatic and unusual plant to add to your garden landscape, then look no further than the Smoke Bush.
See also another Cotinus varietiy with a deep purple colour - Cotinus Coggygria Royal Purple
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