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Cuphea 

  • Common Name: Cuphea (other common names: Firecracker Plant, Cigar Plant, Cigar Flower and Mexican Cigar).
  • Scientific Name: Cuphea ignea
  • Family Name: Lythraceae
  • Origin: Native to Mexico and Jamaica.
  • Height: 2’ – 3’
  • Width: 3’ – 5’
  • Growth: Fast growing.
  • Zone: 10 - 12
  • Light Needs: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Salt Tolerance:  Poor
  • Soil/PH/Texture: Tolerates loam, acidic, clay, sand, and alkaline soils but is happier with enriched soil. Neutral (pH 6.6 – 7.3).
  • Soil Moisture: Medium - well-drained soil. (Regular watering until established).
  • Drought Tolerance: Moderate to drought but is humidity tolerant.
  • Pests/Diseases: No serious insect or disease problems. Japanese beetles are fond of cuphea foliage.
  • Growing Conditions: Average moisture and low maintenance. It will perform best if it is watered and fertilized on a regular basis, but it will tolerate some dry spells. Sometimes they will get leggy and so for a fuller, denser plant, just pinch back the tips of the semi-woody stems a few times during each growing season.
  • Characteristics: This broadleaf evergreen has leaves of a deep, glossy green color with pointed, lance-shaped to ovate, simple dark green leaves (to 1.5” long). It blooms almost nonstop. Showy, narrow, 1-2-inch-long flowers that range from deep orange to red. Because of their shape and color, the flowers are said to resemble lit cigars. The fruit is less than .05” inconspicuous and not showy.
  • Propagation: From seed or propagate from tip cuttings.
  • Wildlife: Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.
  • Facts: This plant is sometimes referred to as firecracker plant, though in Florida that name usually refers to another plant known scientifically as Russelia equisetiformis.
  • Designer Considerations:  Cigar flower plants look great when planted in groups or mixed with other plants that produce red, yellow, or orange flowers. They also work well as accent plants, in beds, or edgings along paths or walkways, and in large container gardens (3 gallon or larger) and hanging baskets. It can also be a houseplant.

Cuphea