Cotinus coggygria 'Young Lady'
Common Name: smoketree
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Anacardiaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Clay Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates a wide range of soils except wet, poorly-drained ones. Prefers somewhat infertile loams, but also does well in poor, rocky soils. Good drainage is essential, however. Plants have shallow fibrous root systems. Best bloom occurs with minimal early spring pruning.

Noteworthy Characteristics

‘Young Lady’ is a compact, shrubbier version of the European species. In comparison to the species, it is perhaps best noted for its more manageable size, its respectable bloom at an early age (hence the cultivar name) and its more floriferous and ornamentally attractive bloom. ‘Young Lady’ is a deciduous, upright, loose-spreading, multi-stemmed shrub that typically grows 4-6’ tall over the first 10 years. As is the case with all plants of this species, it gets its common name of smoketree (or smokebush) not from the tiny, insignificant, yellowish flowers which appear in branching, terminal panicles (6-8” long) in spring, but from the billowy hairs (attached to elongated stalks on the spent flower clusters) which turn a smoky pink to purplish pink in late spring, thus covering the plant with fluffy, hazy, smoke-like puffs throughout summer. ‘Young Lady’ reportedly has a much more prolific bloom than most other varieties, with terminal panicles appearing on most shoots. Ovate to obovate, medium green leaves (to 3” long) retain their color throughout the growing season, and turn an attractive yellow-orange-red in fall. Cotinus is in the same family as and closely related to the sumacs (Rhus).

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to leaf spot, rust, San Jose scale and verticillium wilt.

Garden Uses

Single specimen, group or mass in mixed plantings, shrub borders or sunny areas around the home. Long-lasting summer “smoke” display makes this a striking accent plant. Also may be used as an informal hedge. Container for sunny area on a deck or patio.