PURPLE SMOKE TREE Cotinus coggygria
This is one of the most used shrubs in our gardens due to it's stunning large, round red foliage! Foliage is purple/red in the summer with new growth being vibrant scarlet red. In autumn, the leaves all turn fiery red! The 'flowers' appear as smoke plumes, and are red to pink. Though commonly called a 'tree', these plants are actually shrubs. They can easily be pruned to any height, and can grow to 10' tall. Some people cut these shrub to ground level each year to encourage plenty of fresh (colorful) growth each season.
Type: Hardy shrub/tree
Hardiness zones: 4-9
Note: This plant species is known to cause dermatitis in some individuals.
Seeds per pack: 5
Germination: As with many perennial seeds, these seeds require a period of moist cold to help them break dormancy. This is done by giving them a cold 'winter' period (artificial or natural), and then a warming to simulate 'spring', and time to grow! Here's how this can be done:
Obtain a planting container that has holes in the bottom for excess water to drain. Place the seeds just under the surface of your growing medium, and water. Place your container in a cold area (but not freezing, perhaps a refrigerator) for 4-6 weeks. Once the cold period is completed, place the container at room temperature for them to germinate. Be sure to keep the soil moist during this entire germination period. Seedlings will sprout a few weeks, or occasionally several months, after the warming period.
If you are planting your seeds in late winter or spring, these seeds can be planted outdoors while it is still cool out (once the ground is workable and unfrozen), to receive the cold period naturally in the garden. It is best to use this method only if you are able to keep the soil moist for the entire germination period.