Winecraft Black® Smoke TreeCotinus coggygria 'NCCO1' (PP# 30,216)
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Cotinus coggygria 'NCCO1' (PP# 30,216)
Outdoor Growing zone
The Winecraft Black® Smoketree is a fabulous new shrub that makes the big old smoketree suitable for today’s smaller gardens. Growing just 4 to 6 feet tall and wide, it fits perfectly on smaller lawns as a specimen, in smaller shrub beds, or as a compact informal hedge or border. The spring leaves are rich, glowing purple, and they turn darker, not greener in summer, to a striking near-black. Because it needs no trimming it blooms profusely in summer with a unique ‘smoke’ of purplish-pink blooms. In fall the leaves turn wonderful shades of orange and red to round out a colorful year.
The Winecraft Black® Smoketree is very easy to grow. Simply plant it in full sun, or just a touch of shade, in any well-drained soil. It grows well even in poor soils, like heavy clays, sandy gravels, and urban soils. Just avoid wet areas. It only needs the dead flowers removed, and avoid trimming, to maximize blooming. Pests and diseases don’t bother it, deer ignore it, and overall, this is a super-easy plant of great beauty.
At the Tree Center we always carry an extensive range of shrubs and trees with colored foliage, because we know just how valuable these plants are for bringing months of color, and making color planning easy, without relying on a few short weeks of blooms. One of our favorite trees for this is the smoketree, Cotinus, which is easy to grow and tough. There are several lovely varieties with dark red leaves, and those amazing ‘smoke cloud’ flowers. But they are all larger shrubs, reaching 10 feet tall or more, and if you trim them a lot they won’t flower, so they do need bigger spaces. If your garden is smaller, then planting a smoketree might not be a good idea. At least, not unless you choose the Winecraft Black® Smoketree. This fabulous new development combines some of the darkest leaf colors we have ever seen with a compact shrub that doesn’t need regular trimming. This means not only less work for you, but much better blooming, so it’s a total win-win all round.
The Winecraft Black Smoketree is a rounded deciduous shrub, growing about 6 inches a year, and reaching no more than 4 to 6 feet in height and spread. It is much more compact and adaptable than the common red-leaf smoketree. The branches form a dense, compact structure directly on the ground, making this plant ideal for specimens. The leaves are smooth and oval, about 2 inches long, on long leaf-stalks. In spring the new leaves are a glorious rich purple, making a wonderful show. Many smoketrees with colored leaves turn greenish in summer, but not this one. The opposite is true, because as summer comes the leaves darken and mellow to such a deep purple that they become almost black. Then, in fall they take on fantastic shades of oranges and reds, putting on a great show.
From June to early September this tree is in bloom. At the ends of each branch a large branching flower stalk develops, which is 7 to 8 inches long. The flowers are very tiny, and insignificant. What makes the show are many feathery hairs all over the stalks, which create a floating smoky-purple-pink cloud over the plant – a unique and glorious effect. The dark purple leaves show this off very effectively, and you have a real show-stopper of a specimen.
With its compact size this shrub is perfect for use in smaller gardens as a specimen, alone on a lawn or in shrub beds. Use it behind smaller shrubs – it looks amazing with yellow leaves or blooms nearby – or in front of larger ones, depending on your beds. Plant it as a screen along a fence, or beside a path or driveway. It is even small enough to grow for years in planter boxes or a tub, so you can grow it almost anywhere.
Just as tough and reliable as other smoketrees, the Winecraft Black Smoketree is hardy all the way from zone 4 to 8, with no problems. It may also grow in zone 3 but expect some winter damage to the tips of the branches, although it will quickly re-sprout
Full sun will give the deepest leaf colors, but this shrub will also grow well in partial shade, as long as it has a few hours of direct sun a day. It grows very easily in almost any well-drained soil, even poor soils, gravels, and urban conditions. Water regularly while it establishes and grows a little larger, but once well-established it will survive periods of summer drought. Avoid wet and low-lying areas, as too much water is the only ‘enemy’ of this plant. It has no pests or diseases and deer usually leave it alone.
If you trim off the flower heads when they shrivel, you have done all the care the Winecraft Black Smoketree needs to stay tidy in your garden. Little or no pruning or trimming is needed. In fact, if you trim you will reduce the spectacular flower display. If you do need to prune after it has grown for a few years, do this in early spring, before new leaves appear.
The smoketree or smokebush, Cotinus coggygria, grows all the way across Europe and Asia, from southern Europe to China. It is always found in wild, open places, away from trees and on poor soil. The wild tree has green leaves, but most of the plants grown in gardens have red or yellow leaves.
To develop trees with good leaf color that fit smaller gardens, Thomas Ranney, a plant breeder at North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, bred seedlings for several generations, collecting seed each year and then growing the best plants. In a batch of seedlings he grew in 1999, he found one with amazing dark leaves, good flower display, and a compact habit. After testing it for 8 years, in 2019 the University was granted a patent on this plant, under the name of ‘NCCO1’. Revenue from the patent go to support further plant research and breeding. This shrub has been released by Spring Meadow Nursery, Inc. with the trademark name Winecraft Black®, as one of their Proven Winners® plant range.
This tree brings the smoketree to smaller gardens, with its compact form and reliable flowering. It is also ideal for mass planting in larger gardens. This is the tree gardeners have been waiting for, so they are selling out very fast. Order now, because if you love the smoketree, you will adore this one.