Plant of the Week: WINECRAFT BLACK® Smokebush

Holy smokes!

Smokebush (Cotinus) is a fun plant. The clouds of pink flowers are unlike other garden plants and have the exotic appeal of something seen only in botanic gardens. (Technically, it’s not the flowers but the hairs/seed clusters that steal the show with a smokebush.) In addition to the attention-grabbing summer flowers, Cotinus has excellent fall color. It will add months of interest to landscapes. It’s an adaptable plant, too. Drought, clay soil, deer – none of these things will trouble a smokebush. The only thing you really need to watch is that the soil is well-drained.

Winecraft Black® Cotinus is an easy-to-grow, adaptable plant with tons of ornamental appeal. So why aren’t there more smokebushes in gardens? One reason is that they are at their peak in summer rather than spring, so there isn’t a ton of impulse appeal at retail. Another is that older varieties are kind of irregular growers. Their habit could be a bit ungainly, especially as young plants.

But Winecraft Black® is a compact smokebush with an excellent uniform habit. It’s a semi-dwarf plant that grows 4-6′ tall and wide, so it fits nicely into most landscapes. Really, there’s no excuse not to have this smokebush in your garden.

As the name would suggest, Winecraft Black® has dark purple-black foliage that is quite showy all summer long. In summer, pink-red panicles cover the plant in the signature Cotinus ‘smoke.’ Hardy to USDA Zone 4, this plant will do best in full sun.

Honoring Veterans

This Veteran’s Day, there will be flags waving and speeches delivered, but a sincere thank you is undoubtedly appreciated somewhere in there.

Should you have an older friend or family member who served, time with you is likely precious, too. Many botanic gardens offer free admission to veterans today; a day with you at a beautiful garden is a wonderful way to show your appreciation for their service. 

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