In July and August this vigorous, deciduous shrub is festooned with fluffy plumes of purplish-pink flowers that look like a haze of smoke. The large, purple-tinted oval leaves need the sun to bring out the colour, then turn a brillant shade of translucent red in autumn. This is an excellent specimen plant for a sunny shrub or mixed border.
Garden care: In late winter or early spring remove any misplaced, diseased or crossing branches. Alternatively, to produce larger leaves cut the stems back hard to within two or three buds of the base in early spring. After pruning apply a generous 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plant.