Smoke Tree Propagation Methods – How to Propagate A Smoke Tree

Smoke Trees
smokke tree
(Image credit: VictorUA)

The smoke tree, or smoke bush (Cotinus obovatus), charms with its diffuse flowers that make the plant look like it is smothered in smoke. Native to the United States, the smoke tree can grow to 30 feet (9 m.) but often remains half that size. How to propagate a smoke tree? If you are interested in propagating smoke trees, read on for tips on smoke tree reproduction from seeds and cuttings.

Smoke tree Propagation

Smoke tree is an unusual and attractive ornamental. When the plant is in flower, from a distance it appears to be covered with smoke. Smoke tree is also ornamental in autumn when the leaves turn multi-colored. If you have a friend with one of these trees/shrubs, you can get one yourself by smoke tree propagation. If you are wondering how to propagate a smoke tree, you’ll find you have two different options. You can accomplish most smoke tree reproduction by planting the seeds or taking cuttings.

How to Propagate a Smoke Tree from Seed

The first way of propagating smoke tree is to harvest and plant the seeds. This type of smoke tree propagation requires that you gather the tiny smoke tree seeds. Next, you’ll need to soak them for 12 hours, change the water, then soak them for another 12 hours. After that, allow the seeds to dry in the open air. After all danger of frost is over, plant the seeds in well-drained, sandy soil in a sunny spot in the garden. Press each seed 3/8 inch (1 cm.) into the soil, a good distance apart. Irrigate gently and keep the soil moist. Be patient. Propagating a smoke tree by seed can take up to two years before you see growth.

Propagating Smoke Tree by Cuttings

You can also do smoke tree propagation by rooting semi-hardwood stem cuttings. The wood should not be the new growth. It should snap cleanly when you bend it. Take cuttings about the length of your palm during summer. Take them early in the day when the plant is full of water. Remove the lower leaves, then strip off a little bark on the bottom end of the cutting and dip the wound in root hormone. Prepare a pot with a good draining growing medium. Place stakes in the corners of your pot then cover it with a plastic bag. Keep the medium moist. When they start rooting, transfer them to a larger pot.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.