Understanding the Growth Habits of Royal Purple Smoke Bush

With its vibrant reddish-purple foliage that resembles billowing clouds of smoke, it’s no wonder the Royal Purple smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’) has become a beloved ornamental shrub. To cultivate this eye-catching plant successfully, it’s helpful to know what to expect in terms of its growth rate and habits.

An Overview of Royal Purple Smoke Bush

Native to China, the royal purple smoke bush is a deciduous shrub valued for

  • Deep reddish-purple leaves that emerge bright red in spring
  • Feathery pinkish-purple flower plumes in early summer
  • Upright, vase-shaped form reaching 10-15 feet tall and wide
  • Tolerant of various soil types and growing conditions
  • Low maintenance once established
  • Deer and rabbit resistance

This striking plant provides multi-season interest with its colorful foliage, airy blooms, and purplish-red fall color. It thrives in full sun.

Understanding the Growth Rate

When planning a landscape design or choosing the right site for a royal purple smoke bush, it’s helpful to understand its growth rate. This refers to how fast the shrub increases in size with time

The royal purple smoke bush is considered a medium growth rate plant. On average it can be expected to grow about

  • 1-2 feet per year when young – For the first few years after planting, look for the shrub to put on 1-2 feet of new growth in height and/or width annually.

  • 6 inches to 1 foot per year when mature – Once established, the growth rate slows down. Mature plants may expand just 6 inches to 1 foot per year.

  • Can reach full 10-15 foot size in 5-8 years – With an average growth rate of 1-2 feet per year at first, it typically takes 5-8 years for the shrub to achieve its maximum dimensions.

This moderate yet steady growth makes the royal purple smoke bush well suited for a range of landscape roles. It has time to fill in as a shapely specimen, screening hedge, or background plant without overwhelming a space too quickly.

Factors Affecting the Growth Rate

While genetic growth potential is built in, the actual growth rate of any plant depends on the growing conditions it experiences. Here are some factors that affect the vigor and growth speed of royal purple smoke bushes:

  • Soil – Well-draining, fertile soil with moderate organic content encourages the fastest growth. Poor, sandy, or boggy soil will slow the pace.

  • Sunlight – Full sun is required for optimal growth. Too much shade leads to reduced vigor.

  • Watering – Consistent weekly watering during the first year speeds establishment. Drought stress slows growth.

  • Nutrition – Regular fertilizing for the first couple years fuels rapid expansion. Lack of nutrients hinders growth.

  • Pruning – Regular pruning invigorates new growth. Allowing plants to grow freely leads to a slower, informal shape.

  • Damage – Harsh winters, pests, and disease may set the shrub back for a season, limiting growth. Healthy plants grow faster.

Managing Royal Purple Smoke Bush Growth

With its medium growth rate, the royal purple smoke bush is relatively easy to maintain in the landscape. Here are some tips:

  • For quicker filling in, space plants 3-4 feet apart. Allow 6-8 feet between for mature spreading.

  • Prune annually to remove dead wood and shape. More heavy-handed pruning means denser regrowth.

  • Provide 2-3 inches of mulch around plants to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

  • Water weekly the first 1-2 years, then reduce frequency for established plants.

  • Feed with balanced fertilizer in early spring for strongest growth and foliage color.

  • Lift and divide rootbound specimens or to generate new plants. This also reinvigorates growth.

Achieving the Best Growth in Your Conditions

When cared for properly, the royal purple smoke bush is sure to be a vibrant addition to gardens and landscapes. Its medium growth rate makes it versatile and easy to integrate into different settings. Give it full sun, occasional pruning, and attentive care during establishment for optimal growth and enjoyment of this eye-catching shrub for years to come.

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Your Landscape will be the Talk of the Town with this one plant!

  • Breathtaking Billowy Plumes of Purple
  • Regal Purple Leaves from Spring to Fall
  • Adaptable, Low Maintenance, and Drought Tolerant
  • Superb Color Without the Work!

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Soil Type Acidic, Adaptable, Well Drained
Sunlight Full, Partial
Drought Tolerance Good
Mature Height 10-15 Feet
Mature Width 10-15 Feet
Growth Rate moderate
Fall Color Purple
Bloom Color Purple
Shipping Restriction AZ

For a sophisticated addition to your landscaping, look no further than the stunning Royal Purple Smoke Tree. The name of this unique tree comes from its deep burgundy leaves and its strange “smoke,” which is made up of dozens of wispy purple tufts with tiny yellow flowers in them. These features make the tree truly one of a kind!.

The Royal Purple Smoke Tree is a great choice for gardeners who want to add some unique colors to their spaces because it has a color that changes with the seasons. Its deep purple color stays the same all spring and summer, and in the fall, its orange to reddish-purple leaves are very striking. These colors offer striking pops of vibrancy in mostly-green garden designs.

What’s more, the tree’s unusual oval-shaped foliage offers contrast to most trees in your yard. Underneath, the Smoke Tree’s leaves are green, adding brightness and whimsy on windy days.

The Royal Purple Smoke Tree can fit almost anywhere in your yard. It grows to be about 15 feet tall and wide when fully grown, so it can fit in small spaces without being too big. Some gardeners even cut it back to a shrub because it looks so nice in borders, walkways, or plant arrangements with only one color.

Though the Royal Purple Smoke Tree looks fancy, it’s actually a low-maintenance beauty. It only needs six hours of sunlight a day and soil that doesn’t stay soggy. If you give your tree or shrub what it needs, it will thank you by being able to handle drought and grow in new conditions. If you grow it as a shrub, you don’t even have to prune it!.

Are you ready for a tree or shrub that is easy to grow and will add color to your yard? Order your Royal Purple Smoke Tree today!

How To Plant A Royal Purple Smoke Tree?

Plant this tree in spot that gets good drainage and allow soil to to dry after watering. The smoke tree thrives in full sun to part shade conditions in grow zones 5-9.

When Should I Prune This Tree?

Pruning should ideally be done in early spring before the new buds grow. Another good time to trim back is in late winter. If you want to, you can do a hard prune and cut back to the ground.

What Are Good Companion Plants For Smoke Trees?

Clematis and sedum groundcover do well planted in mixed gardens, or mass plantings with this tree. Royal Purple Smoke Tree Care.

Smoke trees do best in full sun, but they can also grow well in some shade. It adapts well to a variety of well-draining soils, but prefers acidic soil. Water deeply twice weekly when newly planted to help the roots grow properly. Add 2 inches of mulch to help your new plants stay moist and the roots protected. Once established Smoke trees are drought tolerant. However, this shrub will perform best when watered once weekly during dry periods. To give your shrub a boost, use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer when you plant it and again in early spring. Prune after flowering for best results.

The Smokebush is deer resistant and rarely has problems with pests or disease. Landscape ideas

The Purple Smoke Tree offers tons of planting options. Utilize this plant as a large shrub or a small tree in the landscape. Add some style to your yard almost anywhere! Smoke trees are great focal points because they have so much color and texture. You will love the billowy blooms and purple foliage in a hedge or group planting. You could also just add one smokebush to your garden or yard for a big splash of color and style.

For additional options, be sure to browse our Dwarf Tree collection.

All About Royal Purple Smoke Tree


What are the cons of Royal Purple Smoke Tree?

Pests/Problems Royal Purple Smokebush has no major insect or disease issues. Occasionally, this plant can be attacked by leaf rollers and scale. Verticillium Wilt and rusts may also be an issue if the plant is already stressed. To avoid these issues, keep your shrub healthy by watering and applying mulch as necessary.

How big do royal purple smoke bushes get?

Moderate growing; reaches 15 ft. tall, 10 to 12 ft. wide. Dark foliage, smoky blooms, and warm fall colors make this an excellent addition to the garden.

Can you keep a royal purple smoke bush small?

If you’re more interested in keeping your smoke bush shorter so you can appreciate its colorful foliage close up, then you should cut the stems back in winter. You can leave just 6 to 8 inches of the stubby branches emerging from the ground.

Do purple smoke trees like sun or shade?

Smoke trees will have the best leaf color with full sun, but it can grow well with some shade. It adapts well to a variety of well-draining soils, but prefers acidic soil. Water deeply twice weekly when newly planted to help the roots grow properly.

How big does a royal purple smoke tree get?

Royal Purple Smoke Tree grows upright and open, with a multiple-branching habit, up to 10 to 15 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide. It can be trimmed to take-on a more traditional tree-like appearance. It is a low-maintenance option with good drought and deer tolerance. Smoke Trees are native to areas in the southern United States.

How tall does a purple smoke tree grow?

The ‘Royal Purple’ smoke tree grows 10 to 15 ft. (3 – 4.5 m) high. The purple smoke bush has a medium growth rate with an open, spreading habit. The ornamental bush is ideal for planting as an accent plant, border, hedge, or privacy screen.

What does Royal Purple smokebush look like?

Royal Purple Smokebush is a large, upright shrub becoming spreading with age. In spring, the foliage emerges a rich maroon-red, darkening to a velvety purple as the summer progresses. Insignificant flowers mature into dusty wine-red feathery plumes, earning it the name Smokebush.

Can Royal Purple smokebush be overwatered?

Royal Purple Smokebush should not be overwatered once established. The species is intolerant of flooding and will do better from mulch rather than excessive irrigation. As this shrub flowers on new growth, pruning should be completed during the dormant season (winter or spring). This shrub can be maintained in two ways depending on your goals.

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