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Golden Spirit Smoke Tree

Cotinus coggygria 'Ancot' (PP# 13,082)

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How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me

The Golden Spirit Smoketree is a colorful large shrub with bright yellow to lime green leaves all spring and summer. In fall it turns brilliant shades of burgundy, red and amber, and in summer it is topped with big, fluffy clusters of smoky pink hairs around the flower heads, giving the tree its common name. It grows between 8 and 15 feet tall, depending on the growing conditions and pruning. Use it for a spectacular screen, to fill corners of your yard, as a lawn specimen, or at the back of large shrub beds.

  • Gorgeous bright yellow to lime-green leaves in spring and summer
  • Powerful fall colors of burgundy, red, and amber-yellow
  • Crowned in smoky pink clusters all summer long
  • Easily grown, even in poor soil
  • Great for colorful informal screening and behind beds

Tough and able to grow in all kinds of soil, the Golden Spirit Smoketree should be planted in full sun for the best leaf colors. It is drought tolerant under all but the harshest conditions, once established, and it is normally free of pests and diseases. It can be trimmed at any time to keep it smaller, if you wish, including cutting older plants right to the ground if needed.

Plant Hardiness Zones 4-8
Mature Width 2
Mature Height 6
Soil Conditions Adaptable
Sunlight Full Sun
Drought Tolerance Good Drought Tolerance
Zones 4-8

Colored foliage is the way to go, if you want a bright, colorful garden for months and months without taking on a lot of work. Dedicated gardeners with hours to spare can grow flowers in sequence, but for the rest of us time is always in short supply, yet we want colorful gardens. Growing easy shrubs with colorful leaves are the answer, and for that to work well you need plants in lots of different sizes. It seems that many plants with colored leaves are small, or trees, and in between, with medium to large shrubs, there are not so many choices. However, the various smoke trees come to the rescue. The popular ‘Royal Purple’ is well known for its rich, deep purple color, and now we have its golden cousin, the Golden Spirit Smoketree. With wonderful golden leaves all spring and summer, big clusters of smoky flowers in summer, and then vibrant fall shades, this tough, reliable bush will fill the bigger spaces with glorious color with no effort at all. 

Growing Golden Spirit Smoketrees

The Golden Spirit Smoketree is a round, full, deciduous shrub that if untrimmed will grow to between 8 and 15 feet tall and wide, depending on conditions, pruning, and age. That means one beautiful plant fills a lot of space, making it ideal for larger gardens and big beds. With simple trimming, it can be kept a lot smaller, so this is, without doubt, a plant for all gardens. It has branches right to the ground, and it makes a great specimen on a large lawn, or at the back of larger shrub beds. It is the perfect way to fill those awkward corners of your yard, or if planted as a screen it makes a striking informal hedge, blocking unsightly views and noise for all the outdoor months. In smaller beds, it can be cut right to the ground each spring, and it will send up long shoots to about 6 feet, with extra-large leaves on them. For a spectacular look, combine the Golden Spirit Smoketree with the Royal Purple Smoketree – purple and gold – it’s truly stunning.

The leaves are about 3 inches across, and round to oval, densely clustered all along the new stems, which push out fast. Those new spring leaves are bright, golden yellow – what better way to start the season? The color holds all through summer. If some partial shade strikes it, or in cloudy regions, they may develop some lime-green tones, which are also beautiful, and a very fashionable garden color too. 

On older, untrimmed plants, flowers develop in spring. These are yellow and insignificant, in clusters about 6 or 8 inches long, at the ends of the branches. You might not even notice the flowers, but you will notice, by early to mid-summer, the billowing hairs that develop in the flower clusters as the flowers themselves fade. As summer arrives these turn dusky pink to purple-pink, creating a smoke-like haze over the top of the plant, which lasts throughout the summer months. It is this that gives the smoketree its name, and it is a very apt description of this beautiful effect. You may notice a few hard seeds hidden away inside the smoky puffs. By fall the smoke will be mostly gone, just in time for the leaves to turn burgundy, scarlet and amber-yellow, making a spectacular display that adds to the glory of fall. 

Planting and Initial Care

Beautiful, but also easy to grow, the Golden Spirit Smoketree should be planted in full sun for the best foliage color. It enjoys poor soil – a bonus – but it also grows well in just about any kind of soil, from rich, moist soils to dry, shallow and rocky ones. It is drought-resistant, and only in very dry circumstances will it suffer at all, showing some scorching or burning of the leaves, and reduced growth. This plant is normally free of any serious pests or diseases. The only thing that can cause disease is growing it on permanently wet soil, which it does not enjoy. If you want to reduce the size of your bush, prune as much as needed, in early spring, before new growth appears. Cut right to the ground, or remove several branches, and shorten back the others as needed. This tough plant will come back from just about anything. For screens, plant at 6-foot intervals, and trim as needed, at any time. Pruned plants will usually not flower for several years.

History and Origins of Golden Spirit Smoketrees

The Golden Spirit Smoketree is a selected form of the common smoketree, Cotinus coggygria. This plant is found in open, rocky places too inhospitable for forest trees, all across central Asia, from southern Europe right into China. Across this vast range, it makes a spectacular display on the hillsides when those smoky clusters crown each plant. The wild plant has green leaves, but it is rarely grown today in gardens.  In 1989, at a nursery in the Boskoop region of The Netherlands, Adriana Christina Bastiana Sanders-van Harn was growing some seedling plants of the smoketree, from a batch of seed collected from several trees. Boskoop is the center of the Dutch nursery industry and the source of many of our garden plants. Ms. Sanders-van Harn noticed one seedling that was very different, with amazing golden leaves. She grew it larger, and then propagated it by rooting stem pieces. She called her new plant ‘Ancot’. After several years of testing, she gained Plant Breeders rights in Europe and in 2002 a US Plant Patent here in America. Our plants are grown under license, and they are genetically-identical copies from stem pieces of that original plant. We know that this plant will be a hit with our clients, so our stock will run out fast. Order now and enjoy great color in your garden for no effort.

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Golden Spirit Smoke Tree

Cotinus coggygria 'Ancot' (PP# 13,082)

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