How to Grow a Smoke Bush

Written by sarah morse
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Smoke bushes are large shrubs or small trees that gardeners use as hedge borders or as ornamental accents to landscape. Its foliage is a purple-green colour in the growing season, changing to a vibrant orange and then yellow as fall progresses. When mature, the plants can reach 15 feet high and 15 feet wide. Growing a smoke bush is not difficult as it will grow almost anywhere and is not susceptible to many diseases or pests.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Smoke bush softwood cuttings
  • Root hormone
  • Water
  • Fertiliser

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  1. 1

    Plant softwood cuttings of the smoke bush with a root hormone that you apply to them in early spring in an area with full sun. The bush will also grow in partial shade but will be lanky. It is not picky as to which soils you choose and will thrive in clay, sandy or loamy soils, but do not plant the smoke bush in soil that is too fertile.

  2. 2

    Water the cuttings, keeping them moist until they take root. Do not allow the new plants to stand in water or their roots may rot. Give the plant a deep watering weekly once established, taking special care in the first year. Do not wet the foliage, but water from underneath the plant.

  3. 3

    Fertilise once a year in early spring once established. Test the soil for any nutrients that may be missing and choose a fertiliser that replenishes those nutrients. Do not fertilise late in the season--the plant needs to be hardened for the winter.

  4. 4

    Prune the plant to make it into either a tree or bush. If you are growing it as a tree, choose a stem for a main trunk and prune all other branches to obtain a tree form. If you are growing the smoke bush as a shrub, cut the plant back to one to three inches in the early spring for two years after you have planted the smoke bush. This will produce much fuller plants during the growing season.

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