Purple Supreme Smoke TreeCotinus coggygria 'Purple Supreme'
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Cotinus coggygria 'Purple Supreme'
Outdoor Growing zone
The Purple Supreme Smoketree grows rapidly into a spreading shrub 10 feet tall and wide, or more. Its round leaves are burgundy-red in spring, turning rich purple in summer, and staying that way right into the fall, when they turn red and purple. In late spring and early summer the whole plant is covered in a smoky cloud of pink bloom structures that are truly unique and beautiful. Grow this plant for background in large beds or open spaces. It makes a striking lawn specimen, or grow it on open, rocky areas.
The Purple Supreme Smoketree will grow best, with the richest coloring, in full sun. Avoid shady areas, but plant in any well-drained soil, including poor sandy and rocky soils. Once established it is very drought resistant, and it is free of pests or diseases. It needs no maintenance, but it can be pruned as hard as needed in early spring to keep it smaller and encourage new growth.
There is a tendency in gardens for the background plants to just be green, which often means we must over-rely on foreground planting for color. That can make your garden look smaller than it is, because you don’t naturally look outwards, into the corners, and the further parts of the garden. When planting those areas, or when we want to make a large expanse of lawn more interesting, we need easy plants with colorful foliage, for the greatest impact. One of the very best larger plants for colorful but low-care backgrounds is the Purple Supreme Smoketree. This big, rounded bush fills corners or stands on a lawn looking great, with richly-colored purple leaves from spring to fall. In summer a beautiful cloud of pink flowers hovers over it, exactly like smoke. Even better, this variety is much more cold-resistant than the older Royal Purple Smoketree, which can be badly damaged by a cold winter, leaving you with a lot of dead branches to remove. The Purple Supreme Smoketree not only has better and more persistent foliage color, it is more cold-resistant, so if you live in zone 4 – or simply want the best – then choose this smoke tree, it’s a winner.
The Purple Supreme Smoketree is a large, fast-growing deciduous shrub, reaching 8 to 10 feet tall and wide in a few years. If left untrimmed it will probably grow up to 15 feet, and with regular pruning it could be kept about 6 feet tall, but always allow enough room for its growth. The branches have a smooth, tan colored bark which becomes ridged and darker brown on older stems. It forms a multi-stemmed plant, and the spreading manner of the branches creates an interesting winter architecture.
The leaves are almost perfect circles, with a smooth sheen to their surface. They are 3 to 4 inches wide and long, growing largest on the new stems of pruned plants. In spring the new leaves are a bright and stunning burgundy-red, becoming a rich, deep purple in a few weeks. That strong and pure purple color is held all through summer, with none of the browning or greening seen in many other smoketree varieties. In fall the leaves bring more pleasure by turning bright red before they drop to the ground, leaving that interesting winter-twig structure to enjoy. All in all, this plant is one of the most colorful shrubs you can grow.
In late spring and early summer, your tree will flower, most prolifically on unpruned plants. In colder zones older varieties don’t flower much, because they must be pruned in spring to remove branches killed in winter. Since the Purple Supreme Smoketree is more cold-resistant, you will see much better flowering on it. The flowers are truly unique, carried in branching panicles at the ends of the stems. The flowers themselves are insignificant, but the flower structure is covered in long, thread-like hairs, giving it a cloud-like appearance. The color is a wonderful smoky pink, and this cloud floats over the darker foliage for several weeks.
Plant this tough tree wherever you need a big, bold, splash of color. Use it to fill the blank corners of your yard. Brighten a boring lawn with a glorious specimen – this bush looks especially beautiful standing alone on a lawn, with the purple contrasting with the green. Grow it as a background in large shrub beds or fill the space in the angle between two walls. Wherever you have a big blank, the Purple Supreme Smoketree is there to rescue you.
This variety is much more cold-resistant than other purple-leaf smoketrees. Normally these trees are killed to the snow-line or to the ground in winter in zone 4. They re-sprout, but they are never as large, and they don’t flower so well, or not at all. Bred for toughness and cold hardiness, the Purple Supreme Smoketree doesn’t die back, so it can be left untrimmed to mature and to flower profusely.
Plant the Purple Supreme Smoketree in full sun, for the best growth and leaf color. Too much shade will give you a shrub with smaller leaves of a more greenish color, and a weaker plant with an open, untidy structure. It will grow readily in all kinds of soils, except for wet, poorly-drained ones. Any well-drained soil, including poor, sandy soils and rough ground, will suit this tree. Water regularly when young, but once established it is very drought resistant.
Because it is cold resistant, spring pruning is usually not needed, but if you see any dead branches, remove them completely, or cut them back to a strong bud. If you do want a smaller shrub, you can prune in early spring as hard as you want. Hard pruning will give you strong shoots with big leaves and rich color, but few if any flower clusters. You get to choose what you want when you grow this easy shrub. Pests and diseases are virtually unknown, so sit back and enjoy the beauty of this tree – no complex gardening is required.
You can find the Smoketree, Cotinus coggygria, growing wild in rocky and open places, such as on hillsides and mountains, all the way from Southern Europe to central China. Wild plants have green leaves, but they still look dramatic in summer with their clouds of pink blooms. The first purple-leaf forms were discovered in Holland, and several have existed for a century or more. The variety called ‘Purple Supreme’ is a recently created form, selected in Iowa for its hardiness and resistance to cold and strong, enduring purple color. We don’t know the details of its origins, but we do know an outstanding tree when we see one.
We strive to bring you the best varieties, and the Purple Supreme Smoketree has been grown in a tissue culture laboratory to keep it genetically pure, and an exact copy of the original. These easy-care trees are perfect for adding color to your garden, but they are always popular and they always sell fast. Order now – they will soon be gone.