Sometimes a plant that we think of as growing to 15 feet in height or more, can actually be kept quite small by severe pruning. I have a Cotinus coggygria ‘Golden Spirit’ (Smoke Tree) growing in a pot on our deck and it has been in the same pot for 6-7 years. In the winter, I prune the branches back to 12-18 inches, lift the plant out of the pot and add fresh Black Gold All Purpose Potting Soil as the plant goes back into the pot. ‘Golden Spirit’ smoke trees have leaves that are lime green in early spring and turn to chartreuse in the summer. They make excellent container plants, especially when there are plants with dark green foliage surrounding them. This Cotinus makes a great summer foliage plant and while it will not bloom because of the severe pruning, the leaves more than make up for the absence of flowers.
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