HomeGardening NewsGardens in generalStandard Cotinus Royal Purple


Standard Cotinus Royal Purple — 50 Comments

  1. Wow, what a garden.Its really beautiful. it must take a lot of hard work to keep it that way. I live in Stockton ~on~Tees, and came upon your website by chance I have a relatively small garden 25×8 meters. and have clematice, roses, grannies bonnets.hellibores and other shade loving plants.I love your azelea Glowing embers.I`ve not seen the colour before.Do you know a website I could get it from?
    Thank you for shareing your garden. Rena.

  2. Laura, I am jealous, your closeness to the sea probably means that you have less frost than us. Aberdeen of course is a seaside City, however we are inland a little and our garden is situated in a frost pocket. Our Daughter and Grandson lives in East Wemyss. please visit again sometime.

  3. I have a large and happy cotinus in Fife. There’s nothing between it and the east wind straight off the North Sea. My more knowledgeable friend was amazed that it was so happy. It will flower, but I usually cut it right back in Spring, otherwise I lose my sea view. It’s so happy that I planted another Cotinus – a small green version called Young Lady. It looked very sad for about a year, but this year has picked up. It is currently in fantastic range of yellow, orange and red colours.

  4. Here smoke bushes are called smoke trees and have no trouble surviving (and spreading and spreading). I hope yours will continue doing well in a pot.

  5. Hi Alistair
    Glad you gave the purple cotinus one more chance! And as a standard – what a great idea! That colour of purple serves so well in the garden but is difficult to find. Cotinus is a very large bush and this is a great solution. Bravo!
    Also love love love Myra’s shot of the garden in soft filtered light.

  6. I also am fond of the leaf colour Carolyn. When planted directly in the garden I would cut them back hard and sometimes not quite so severe. Made no difference, they clearly required a little more heat in the sunshine to get going.

  7. Thanks for your suggestions Sunil, I really don’t think that the problem is down to the Winter conditions, the rainfall in the North East coast is lower than many parts of the UK and being on the coast its also less frosty than you may expect. June and July in these parts often have many days which are very cool and although the plant may have survived Winter it just cant get itself going in Summer. Cotinus are very adaptable to soil condition.

  8. Hi Alistair, I know it’s not going to help, but we do see Cotinus fairly often around here (Cambridgeshire). Some are pretty large so it’s going to be down to the colder and wetter winters that you have. Having said that, do you know if they have any particular soil preference? We’re on chalk here so can be very alkaline. Perhaps cosying them up and giving them the soil type they prefer might increase your chances? I don’t know if they get hardier with age (probably, as they get used to it).

  9. I love the color of smokebush leaves, so vibrant. Here we cut them all the way back in the spring so they will produce deep colored foliage for the season. They grow back to full size in one season but you don’t get the flowers.

  10. Esther, I think you could make good use of contrasting leaf colour. I am just off to daydream of raised borders which I haven’t any need for.

  11. Trying to persuade myself that dark leaved plants aren’t right for my garden but those purple ones are lovely.

    re. the guest post – not sure I’d include raised beds in a simple tasks list! Daydreaming of what I’d like to plant . . . do . . . I’m quite good at that.

  12. Hi Rick Nelson, taken me back to the early 60s that did. Anyway thanks for the information on how Cotinus behaves in your part of the world. We are a good bit further north, the Winters on the coast here are probably not much colder than where you are although I still think that the Summer chill in these coasts are my biggest problem with Cotinus however find the right spot and it wouldn’t surprise me to hear of other gardeners in my part of the country having success. No success with Cotinus, but check how I got on with Abutilon x suntense normally seen as being more tender. https://www.aberdeengardening.co.uk/diary/2010/11/10/abutilon-x-suntense/

  13. In the North West of England I grow both Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ and Cotinus coggygria ‘Grace’, although the former does not flower, mainly because I feel it is not in the right spot and is somewhat overshadowed,’Grace’ is a wonderful shrub which unfortunately produces massive amounts of rather lax growth which needs cutting back even during the growing season.The end result being that it also does not flower. I have found that if it is cut back very hard and allowed a full seasons growth it will flower the next year and give the full ‘smoke-bush’ effect. The alternative is to cut back as little as possible of the “wild” growth so that at least some of the flowers are produced. Although I have hardiness problems with many plants mainly due to wet winters, both Cotinus cultivars have come through the most recent severe winters at -15°.

  14. I can see why it would be puzzling Jennifer. Just like most Magnolias struggle in the North East of Scotland. I suspect it is not the cold winter that is the problem but the very cool Summers which we have. I have seen cotinus in the city over here but very seldom.

  15. I am curious that you had such a tough time with your Cotinus Royal Purple. It is a common shrub here and we have much tougher, longer winters than you do. Anyway, the standard looks super as you have placed it in the garden. I have always loved the foliage on this plant. Compliments to Myra on her photograph!

  16. Your standard Cotinus looks fabulous in the spot you have placed it! I love the way its dark purple foliage coordinates with the other plants and also the bench. I hope it does well for you. I would be greatly tempted by this plant as well if I could get the standard form and then put the pot wherever I wanted. I also really like the photo of Myra. I hope you are having a great week!

  17. Hi Alastair – Did you give Myra the credit for the eventual success with the continus? It’s the circular leaves that I like, as well as the colour.

  18. Hi Linnie, some plants just don’t lend themselves to be grown on a stem, I think Cotinus is fine. I did see a Rhododendron in the garden centre grown this way (just wrong) I think purdee is the closest one would get to a posing cat.

  19. Helene, we would like to have so many more plants, however we are also getting stuck for space. I suspect the Loropetalum chinense would not be hardy enough so far north, perhaps yet another plant for a container.

  20. You would struggle with the cold here Andrea, I do have to take care what I say on the comments of other peoples blogs, have a bad habit of maybe being to personal for some peoples tastes, but I suspect you are thick skinned like myself. (see what I mean.)

  21. Hi Alistair, i looked at your sidebar temps and it really is cold most especially for us who are not cold acclimatized, haha! Your purple plant is very lovely, we have counterpart color here but small elongated leaves. And that shot by Myra is so homely and inviting, because of the cute cat on the pedestal, good place to sunbathe!

    By the way, i laughed loudly with your comment in mine, a lovely punchline for my post.

  22. Alistair, I’d love to have a Cotinus, but in my tiny garden I have no idea where to put it…it’s already filled to the rafter! Instead I bought a Loropetalum chinense which takes 25 years to reach full size, I even intend to slow it down a bit by keeping it in a tub for years to come.
    Loved the photo with the cat, aren’t they serene when they sit like that 🙂

  23. I’ve never seen a cotinus on a standard stem like that, only shrubs, which are often immense here in western Oregon. The misty blooms are singular, and I do have one finally getting going in my garden. (Since I have entered my Foliage Period I am quite appreciative of the leaf color.) Your October garden is better than most June gardens Alistair. There is no posing cats so Myra must have been quick with that great photo.

  24. Frances, I think in a sheltered spot Cotinus would do fine in your garden, in fact I have seen them here, but our garden is in a hollow making it seriously frosty. Purdee is sitting very carefully on the sun dial which is looking very squint.

  25. Ha, ha, that is so funny. But seriously, how did you guys find out Myra looked so lovely. You should have seen her forty odd years ago, drop dead gorgeous.

  26. Tatyana, the plastic mesh is attached around the tree trunk overlapping and held together with plastic coated wire. Growing up it is Clematis Julia Correvon which gets cut back hard every February.

  27. Karen a shrub garden leaving spaces for perennials and bulbs can look really good. So very easy to get it wrong though (talking from experience.)

  28. When we purchased this one catmint, the flowers had clearly just gone over. A sign that the plant came from further south in the UK, no chance of it blooming here, unless maybe if I keep it in the greenhouse a little longer in Spring.

  29. Hi Alistair, your Cotinus looks great. It’s frustrating when a plant you love is not suited to your plot. I have come round to liking red and purple leaves but Cotinus are not fond of chalk. I also wish I could grow rhododendrons and camellias but my alkaline soil will not allow it, and in pots of acid soil they still die in our salt-laden winds. Still, it’s nice to see these plants doing well in other people’s gardens. Hope your Cotinus endures many a Scottish winter!

  30. hi alastair, divine shot by Myra, love that dreamy look and the way she managed to get the cat to pose for her. As for the continus – I’ve got that one in my front garden. They grow very happily here. I love it too. It’s a bit unusual, most people have ‘Grace’. I’ve got ‘Grace’ too (I’m a bit greedy when it comes to smoke bushes, can hardly have enough)

  31. Cotinus Royal Purple is such a beautiful plant, this plant grows very well for us here, oh! you are tempting me to pull out my flowers, and start a foliage garden. Yes and the tufts of pink cloud like flowers are very unusual, looking at them from a distance they do resemble a cloud of smoke. This plant can get really scraggly if not kept pruned into a bushy shrub. Have a lovely week.

  32. I agree Myra’s shot is a stunner. Cotinus is a native tree although this cultivar is not but it is hardy here…I see them in flower in many places around the area, and they are lovely. How clever of you to put it in the greenhouse. If I had a greenhouse I would do the same with fig and lemon trees.

    I have had offers to write on my blog but decided not to do it…love to hear your thoughts Alistair now that you have gone ahead and tried it.

  33. I have one young Cotinus in my garden. So far, it’s doing well, but it can’t compete with your standard! That standard is gorgeous! I am curious about the mesh/net on the tree in the first picture. What is climbing there and can you tell me, please, how did you attach it to the tree? I need to do something to help my climbing hydrangeas. Thank you Alistair!

  34. Myra looks lovely! I love Cotinus, we used to have one here, one of the original plants when we moved and liked it so much that it stayed. It died a few years ago for some unknown reasons but the flowers do look great in the autumn.

    Not surprised you keep trying to grow this one, it’s a lovely plant!

  35. Alistair I love the purple cotinus and have wondered about it but feel it will be too delicate for our winds so I am waiting until I can find a suitable sheltered spot, planting in pots and moving for winter is a good option and as you say it can then be placed differently each year, yours looks beautiful,

    I love Myra’s October photo and love your cat surveying his/her domain like the true lion of the jungle 🙂 (is your cat on the bird bath?) Frances

  36. Myra’s shot is gorgeous! You truly have a beautiful garden. I need to purchase another cotinus. I had one here – it grew wonderfully until I redid the bed and made my husband rip it up. :O It looks beautiful in your garden – no wonder you keep trying it! I’ve often wondered about the guest post thing, too. I did enjoy reading his winter tips.

  37. Hello Fay, good to hear from you and glad you are getting settled into your new home. I always thought you were moving away from the Orkney’s.

  38. I love continus Alistair – I’m so glad you’ve got a solution to it. I’ve not sure I’ve seen in flower here although I have seen one of two of them.

    A guest post – well that will be exciting won’t it. I’m like you I ponder the notion of it (although I’ve only been asked once) and didn’t know how to reply.

    Goodluck with everything, now I’m moved and fully ‘internetted’ I’ll be catching up!

    Regards to family


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