When and how to cut back Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'

Commonly known as the smoke tree due to the wispy 'smoke-like' appearance of its pinkish-purple feathery plumes, Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' is a striking, deciduous ornamental plant native to southern Europe, and continuing east as far as the Himalayas and northern China. Noted for its dark purple foliage (almost black when viewed from the distance), it is a multi-stemmed species with a rounded, loose-spreading habit.

When and how to cut back Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'
Under favourable conditions, and once mature, you can expect Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' to reach and height of between 4-8 metres! Which of course will make it far too large for most people's gardens.

As a rule, pruning is not required, although straggly growths can be shortened or removed in March. Oversized specimens can be coppiced to maintain a manageable size. This will also encourage the plant to produce larger leaves but this will be at the expense of the following seasons blooms.

Coppicing is a pruning technique where a tree or shrub is cut to ground level. Cut all stems of Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' to within 5-7.5cm of ground level. This can be done in late winter or early spring, just before they come into active growth. Be aware that on older specimens it can take a coupe of seasons to come back into growth,