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Bat-Faced Cuphea


Butterfly Garden

Bat-Faced Cuphea

Cuphea llavea

  • ​Common name: Bat-faced cuphea, Cuphea, St. Peter’s plant, Tiny Mice, Bunny Ears
  • Scientific name: Cuphea llavea
  • Family name: Lythraceae
  • Origin: Mexico
  • Height: 18-30 inches
  • Width: 24-36 inches
  • Growth: Moderate
  • Zone: 8a-11
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • Salt tolerance: Moderate
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Prefers well-drained, moist soil with a neutral pH (pH 6.6 - 7.3)
  • Moisture: Moderate water needs – should be watered regularly, but not overwatered
  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Pests/diseases: Aphids, white flies, and powdery mildew may be a problem; otherwise, Bat-Faced cuphea is not very susceptible to pests/diseases
  • Growing conditions: Best grown in an open, sunny area with well-drained, moist soil. It is a low-maintenance plant, and able to survive in dry conditions. It can be planted in a container or directly in the ground.
  • Characteristics: Leaves are simple, ovate, 1-3 inches long, and hairy. Leaves grow decussate along the stems. Stems are yellow-green and flexible. Flowers are tubular and grow in small clusters near the ends of stems. The flowers are bright red and purple, and the petals are arranged in a way that resembles a bat’s face.
  • Propagation: By seeds or by stem cuttings
  • Wildlife: Flowers attract pollinators such as butterflies, bees, moths, and hummingbirds
  • Facts: There are several cultivars of this plant, such as “Torpedo” and “Flamenco”, that produce even larger flowers, or even magenta flowers instead of red and purple ones.
  • Designer considerations: Great as a border plant, walkway plant, or for mass plantings. Its attractiveness to pollinators makes it a good choice for a butterfly garden or hummingbird garden.