Cotinus Royal Purple (Purple Smoke Bush, Cotinus coggygria Royal Purple)
This is the best known of the Smoke Bushes, all of which are deciduous shrubs. Stunning beetroot red oval shaped foliage keeps its colour well through the season (the foliage often develops a narrow pink edging later in the season) before turning to fiery shades of scarlet during the autumn. During July and August these shrubs are clothed with plumes of tiny purple-pink flowers that give the effect of the bush being in a haze of smoke. Cotinus Royal Purple makes a great statement or specimen shrub, its long lasting rich colour makes a good backdrop for smaller plants and flowers (and especially golden leaf types of Smoke Bush) they may also be used to form a colourful informal hedge or screen up to 2 metres high (2 plants per metre) 300cm x 200cm if not pruned.
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Smoke bushes are at their best when grown in full sun, they prefer well drained good soil for good results. Although pruning is not strictly necessary, if they are cut back to 2-3 buds in late Winter or early Spring, the intensity of colour in the foliage display is improved and leaf size is increased. At the same time any diseased or congested branches can be removed to maintain a good framework.
A generous mulch in early Spring will also help to retain moisture and improve the show of foliage.