Trying New Plants in the Garden

Author: Meera, March 24, 2015

While some people might like to stick to tried-and-true types of plants in their gardens, I’ve always enjoyed experimenting with botanical specimens that are new to me. Recently, I purchased two smoke trees–plants I’ve never before cultivated.



This tiny smoke tree will become a tall specimen in just a few years

This tiny Royal Purple smoke tree will become a tall specimen in just a few years




The smoke tree’s value is in its satiny leaves that are blue-green or deep purple. In addition to the gorgeous round leaves (so very Feng Shui), the plant has very tiny flowers that appear in summer along feathery inflorescences that, in the purple variety, are nearly the same color as the leaves. The blue-green smoke trees have tiny yellow flowers.


The great thing about this plant is is adaptability to poor soil. That includes even rocky soil. The downside is that the plant requires pruning to achieve a denser tree since it tends to be open branching. The blooms appear when the wood of the tree is three years old. My trees are small, however, one already has sprouted the feathery inflorescences.


The smoke tree adds drama to shrub borders and mass plantings because of its dark color. I’ve placed it amid fuschia geraniums, purple and lavender irises, citrus trees, and Abbaye de Cluny roses. I also planted climbing Sally Holmes, which will cover the front fence with 3 1/2-inch creamy white blooms and dense green foliage.


The smoke tree tends to grow eighteen to twenty feet and its lovely purple color does not fade, even in intense summer heat.  I look forward to many years of enjoyment, watching this tree take center stage in the long rectangular beds at the front of our farmette.



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