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Introduced to the UK in 1999, 'Golden Spirit' is the first golden-leaved smoke bush. The original plant was discovered in a Dutch nursery in 1990, growing in a batch of ordinary-looking seedlings. It makes a striking shrub for the border, looking particularly attractive next to bronze-leaved plants, such as Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diablo'. Its glowing, golden yellow foliage is tinted with red when it first opens, and is complemented by smoky yellow flowers in June and July. In autumn, the leaves turn fiery shades of red and orange. No pruning is needed, however to encourage fresh colourful growth it is worth cutting back all the stems to about 5cm to 10cm (2in to 4in) each spring. This restricts the plant's size to only 60cm to 70cm (2ft to 2.3ft) high.
Cultivar: Golden Spirit
Plant type: Deciduous shrub
Flower colour: Yellow
Foliage colour: Golden
Feature: Autumn colour, Colourful new growth, Flowers, Dramatic foliage
Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade
Soil: Well-drained/light, Acidic, Chalky/alkaline
Skill level: Beginner
Time to take cuttings: April to May
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