Young Lady Pink Smoke TreeCotinus coggygria 'Young Lady'
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Cotinus coggygria 'Young Lady'
Outdoor Growing zone
The Young Lady Smoketree is a remarkable shrub, forming a compact bush reaching no more than 6 feet tall and wide in time, and smothered for three months of the summer in an immense cloud of smokey mauve-pink blooms. No sooner has blooming finished than the blue-green leaves turn dramatic shades of yellow, orange and scarlet, so this plant is of interest for month after month. It blooms even when young, long before other smoketrees do. It stays compact, so it is ideal for smaller spaces in any garden.
Full sun is best for the Young Lady Smoketree, which is hardy from zone 4 to zone 8. It grows in any well-drained soil, including poorer ones, and on rocky ground. It is drought resistant, but it will bloom best with a regular supply of water, so mulch for nutrition and water conservation. Deer don’t eat it and pests and diseases are almost never a problem – this is an easy plant to grow. The only care needed is to remove the flower heads as they dry, and this will keep more blooms coming over a longer period.
The Smoketree is a well-known large shrub, usually grown for its bold red leaves. It can be a bit of a handful, and it often needs regular attention and trimming. It has beautiful and unique flowers, but it usually takes some years, and being left untrimmed, before you get to see them. Thanks to the genius of plant breeding and selection, that has all changed with the arrival of the Young Lady Smoketree. Eager to strut its stuff, this bush is not only compact and neat, but it also can’t wait to flower, and even on small bushes every shoot ends in a blooming cluster, so that the plant literally disappears beneath an abundance of fluffy, mauve-pink blooms from June to the end of August. Then it puts on a brilliant display of knock-out fall colors. Wow, what a lady.
The Young Lady Smoketree is a relatively slow-growing deciduous bush that will reach between 4 and 6 feet tall in about 10 years. This doesn’t mean it does other things slowly, because this plant is remarkable for blooming at the earliest age, at the ends of every shoot. This is very different from other smoke trees, which take years to begin to bloom, and can be very erratic even then. It has a dense, twiggy structure, with many shoots, and since each one flowers, that translates into lots of blooms. The round to oval leaves are smooth and slightly glossy, with long leaf stalks. They are about 3 inches long, and a bluish-green color. Besides blooming, this bush also puts on a spectacular fall show, especially in cooler zones and in full sun, with every leaf showing a kaleidoscope of colors, from yellow to orange and stunning reds.
By early June your bush will be starting to bloom. The flowers themselves are minute, without petals, but they are carried in big multi-branching panicles up to 8 inches long, which are covered all over with long, slender hairs of delicious pink to mauve shades. The effect is of a cloud of pink smoke floating over the entire plant, or, as others have said, like a freshly-groomed pink poodle standing in your garden. The blooms are long lasting, and new ones keep coming, so your bush will bloom until the end of August. It helps to trim off flowering clusters as soon as the hairs dry and fade, to keep new blooms coming.
Regular smoketrees are often grown as striking specimens on a lawn, but their size makes that hard in a smaller garden. Now, with the Young Lady Smoketree, you can have that even in a small area, or you could plant a group of three, spaced 3 feet apart in a triangle, to achieve a larger group on a bigger lawn. Grow this beautiful shrub in your beds as well, where it makes a wonderful specimen, adding its unique look to your other plant arrangements. It would look great planted with dark-red shrubs behind it, or with pink flowers like hydrangea or peonies. It is also small enough to use in planter boxes and tubs, where it would be wonderful for years on a terrace, or beside your front door. Plant it out in the garden when it becomes too large.
Almost everywhere, from zone 4 to zone 8, the Young Lady Smoketree is hardy and tough, needing nothing special to perform beautifully.
Plant the Young Lady Smoketree in full sun or perhaps in a little partial shade. Avoid long periods of shade or dark places, which will reduce growth and blooming. It also needs plenty of sun to color well in fall. This plant grows well in all well-drained soils, including poor, more infertile ones, but it will benefit from a rich mulch, like garden compost, adding over the root system in spring, to provide nourishment and conserve moisture. Avoid wet soils, and good drainage is important, so don’t plant in a low-lying area. We recommend some of our larger, robust smoketrees for drier, tough, exposed sites, where they will thrive. Please consult our current catalogue.
The only care needed is to remove flower shoots as they dry and shrivel. Cut them just above the first full-sized leaf and new shoots will soon emerge, often carrying another flower cluster. No other pruning or trimming is needed but remove any very weak or dead stems in early spring. Too much trimming may reduce flowering. This plant is ignored by deer and it has no significant pests or diseases.
The Young Lady Smoketree is a selected form of the common smoketree, Cotinus coggygria. Found across an enormous area from southern Europe through central Asia, and into China, it grows in rocky places where forest trees can’t grow, which shows us how tough and hardy this unique plant is.
The variety called ‘Young Lady’ was created by Hendrik Kolster, a nurseryman in Boskoop, the Netherlands. This area is a center for plant production and breeding, and the source of many new plants. ‘Young Lady’ received European Plant Breeder’s Rights in 1997, and it was first introduced into the USA in 2001. In 2012 it received the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society of the UK, proof of its value in every garden.
It is always a great feeling to be able to offer our customers the best, and when it comes to a smoketree for smaller gardens, this one is it. You will be amazed by the continuous blooming of this tree, so order right away – the sooner it comes the longer you can enjoy it.