Smoke tree


We moved into this house 3 years ago and this smoke tree has not “smoked” or bloomed …asked neighbours and they say they don’t remember if it has in the past


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

Smoke tree (Cotinus spp.) is known for its wispy, smoke-like flowers that add color and texture to a garden in the spring or fall depending on the variety. There are a number of reasons that could cause the smpke tree not to bloom. The first thing you need to look at is it’s location. Smoke trees prefer to be planted in a location where it receives full sun ( 6hrs), with well-draining loamy soil. Smoke bush will tolerate a variety of soil pH levels, but prefers soil that is slightly acidic.

Is the tree located near your lawn? Too much fertilizer, especially too much high nitrogen fertilizer like you put on lawns, will produce lush leaves and few or no blooms.

Would you happen to know the age of the tree? Many trees do not bloom until they have several years of maturity. Blooming takes a great deal of energy from the plant, and they need to devote that energy to leaves and roots the first few years.

Lastely, blooms on smoke tree are produced on old wood ( last years wood). If the previous owners pruned the tree incorrectly they could have pruned off all the newly formed blooms.

Good Luck with your smoke tree.