Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Golden Spirit Smokebush

Picture taken September 30, 2013
I like smokebushes.  I first came across this genus at the Planter's Palette in Wheaton, IL.  It was the Morton Arboretum's selection 'Nordine' that was the hook about 20 years ago.  I still have a clone of that first purchase in my Wisconsin garden, although the original purchase has since died at my former garden in Elgin, IL.

I believe this golden selection of smokebush to be more cold hardy than the 'Nordine', which was killed to the ground last spring by a very late hard frost.  This 'Golden Spirit' planted in a more exposed area suffered little damage, although I did cut it to the ground to improve its shape and encourage a bushier growth habit.
Picture taken June 8, 2013. Smokebush 'Nordine'  Often purple-leaved smokebushes are kept cut to the ground to encourage the fresh, deeply colored foliage.  I cut mine to the ground after it was frost damaged this year.

Smokebushes are vigorous growers and will quickly resume their pre-pruning size, although in any year in which you trim back terminal growth they will not "smoke".  They are drought hardy once established.  It appears they are most intolerant of late hard frosts once they have left dormancy.

The 'Golden Spirit' makes a nice addition to the alley shrub border and shows off my ripe 'Honeycrisp' apple to good effect.

And, of course these days, I hope its shining golden spirit to be contagious.

1 comment:

  1. Wish smokebush was more reliable here in Kansas but I've seen it managed well when it does burn down. Nice blog you have here.