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Add purple flair with Winecraft Black smokebush 

IN SUMMER, WHEN GREEN SURROUNDS US, it’s fun to see a shrub that isn’t green. Why not try a purple-leaved shrub like Winecraft Black smokebush (Cotinus coggygria)? 

Most members of the genus Cotinus are called smoketrees and grow 12 to 15 feet tall, but Winecraft Black grows only 4 to 6 feet tall—half the size of its Royal Purple or Purple Smoke smoketree cousins. 

The foliage on Winecraft Black is rich purple in the spring, a deeper, almost black tone in summer; and in fall, it’s a range of red and orange. For best color, plant in full sun, though they still grow well in part shade. 

The flower on a smokebush looks like a puff of smoke. The flowers on purple-leaved varieties are pink; on green-leaved varieties, they are white or pink. They bloom in summer and make a good substitute for the sometimes-troublesome crape myrtle. 

The compact habit of Winecraft Black smokebush makes it a versatile landscape plant. They can be planted alone or in groups, where they can be incorporated into a perennial border or a low hedge. 

Smokebushes are low maintenance. Pruning is rarely needed for this deer- and rabbit-resistant shrub. If you do prune, do so in late winter because smokebushes bloom on new growth. 

This fall if you have an open spot for dramatic color, consider planting Winecraft Black smokebush.

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