Planting areas: Zones 4 to 9
Size: 12 to 15 feet tall and wide
Bloom season: Late spring to summer
Exposure: Full sun
Pruning needs: Prune in late winter and early spring to maintain well-branched, rounded shape.
Water needs: Low to moderate water and fast drainage.
Snapshot: This deciduous plant, which can be classified as a large shrub or small tree, is a standout. Its compact size and reddish-purple leaves lend welcome contrast to green landscapes, but its delicate smoky blooms steal the show. Smoke trees make excellent specimen plants, borders or hedges.
Smoke trees come in many varieties with leaves ranging in color from bluish green to purple — changing to orange and purple-red in the autumn. Typically, blooms run from pink to lavender, although purple-leafed varieties such as Royal Purple and Velvet Cloak have purple blossoms.
Got a gardening question?
In San Luis Obispo, call 805-781-5939; Arroyo Grande, 805-473-7190, and Templeton, 805-434-4105. Visit us at http://ucanr.org/sites/mgslo/ or email us at email@example.com. Follow us on Instagram at slo_mgs and like us on Facebook. Informative garden workshops are held the third Saturday of every month, 10 a.m. to noon at 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo. Garden docents are available after the workshop until 1 p.m. To request a tour of the garden, call 805-781-5939.