Purple Smoke Tree

A Few Facts about the Purple Smoke Tree

The purple smoke tree is definitely one of the most interesting plants in the garden. It is a small tree with foliage that is so purple that it almost appears to be black. In fact, its name derives from the fact that its purple panicles are plume-like and appear to be puffs of smoke that form in the summertime. Sometimes, it is also known as the purple smokin' tree, the smokin' tree, and the smoke bush. These are all slang names, of course. It can be a wonderful accent in your garden, due to the fact that it is quite unusual looking and interesting.

The tree belongs to the Sapindales order, meaning that it is a flowering tree. It is also classified into the family of Anacardiaceaes family, which means that it not only flowers, but bears fruit as well.  It's the flowers that come up from the top of it that make it interesting looking, however, and not the fruit which is actually quite small.

The purple smoke tree grows to be about 20 feet tall and about 20 feet wide. Usually, you will find it growing into either a tree that is quite small, or into clumps of trees that are medium sized. The size that it grows to be is dependent upon several different things. The terrain where it is growing, its sub species, the amount of sunlight that it receives, and the care and nutrition that you provide it will all affect its height.  It's round and deciduous and its foliage can appear to be purple or deep red depending on the variety.

The leaves on the tree are deciduous and grow alternatively. An average leaf might be about 3 centimeters and is oval-shaped. On the other hand, the flowers are usually clustered around the tallest part of the tree and look like a cloud of smoke, hence its name. The flowers can have a diameter of about 15 to 30 centimeters.

Unlike some plants and trees, the purple smoke tree actually does well in soils that are rocky. It needs good drainage, however. It does best when planted in full sunlight, as that will help give it its purple hue. Planting it in a shady area will likely give it a green color, which is usually less desirable.

It grows best when planted in regions that are warm and temperate. Most people have the best luck in planting it in states such as Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Texas. Some people have been able to have success in growing it in the southern hemisphere, although this takes more work.

The tree is best used as an ornamental accent plant in your garden. Planted in the corner of your garden or lawn, it can add character and style to any landscaping project. If you choose to plant it in the center of your yard, then it will definitely be eye-catching, although it might overshadow some of your other plants so you should keep this in mind, too.

The purple smoke tree requires quite a bit of work so don't invest in it if you aren't willing to invest a lot of time, too. They need a lot of trimming and pruning and you will have to discipline the branches. It's better to prune your tree in the springtime. Making sure that it is free of disease and pests is essential in keeping it healthy and eye-catching. With the right amount of care, however, it can be a great addition to your lawn or garden and you should be prepared to get a lot of comments about it.




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