Wednesday, 30 May 2012 03:00

Smoke Tree Question

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Question: Hi there,
I love the purple smoke tree and am wondering if it would do well in a planter in full sun (in San Diego)? And if it's deciduous? How tall and wide do you think it would actually get in a planter?
Thanks so much!

Shoshanah - San Diego


Cooke's Purple Smoke Tree Bloom

Answer: I find the Purple Smoke Tree very attractive as well.  It is also very drought tolerant and requires very little water - making it a popular selection for xeriscape projects where a strong accent plant/tree is desired.

The smoke tree is not a small plant.  If left to grow un-pruned in the ground it can reach sizes approaching 15-20 feet high and wide.  You need to take this into consideration in selecting your location and BIG pot/planter. Of course pruning can keep it smaller, but remember, over time the trunk will become substantial even if the tops are kept shorter.

Because it is a desert loving plant, you need to take care in what it is planted and how it is watered.  The soil/media needs to drain very well as this plant/tree will not like wet feet.  So be very careful how much organic potting mix you put in the pot or add to the planter/ground.  Add more coarse river/cement sand.  It does require sun and will go dormant in the winter.  We used to have a large one on the north side of our office (before the office expansion) and it looked nice with partial shade but they thrive in our desert-like summer heat in full sun.



Cooke's Purple Smoke Tree in Scion Wood Orchard

More information here: LEC Information Pages

More Photos Here:

Ron Ludekens 5-30-3012