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Green Valley Supply's Gardening Encyclopedia





What is Cuphea?

Cuphea is a plant genus of perennial and annual flowering plants. It has almost 260 plant species ranging from semi-woody shrubs (grow up to 7 meters in height) and low-growing herbaceous plants. Also known as cigar plants or cupheas, cuphea is native to America's tropical regions  to warm temperate climates.

Cuphea was obtained from the Greek word 'kyphos', meaning curved, bent or humped. It blooms from late spring into winter and requires low maintenance. It is a warm-season annual with many, small flowers. Cigar plants also don't require deadheading in frost.

Cigar plants also bloom in summer and fall. The plant has blue-green foliage with purple, orange, white, pink and yellow flower colors. It can be grown in pots and containers, and lures birds.

Cuphea Colorful Flower Combinations

Cuphea plant species are available in different shapes, colors,  and sizes of flowers. The small, tubular flower blossoms in bright yellow, purple, orange, white, red and neon pink in varying shades. The flowers have large, altered petals that resemble your ears. They also resemble bats and mice. Therefore, it's also called bat flower or mouse flower.

Cuphea ignea

Cuphea is small and dense, making it a perfect addition to your garden. It won't diminish the effects of other garden plants outdoors. It lures pollinators such as honey bees and hummingbirds. Moreover, Cuphea trees can be planted in mixed containers due to their compact nature.

Cuphea Plant Care

Cuphea is a native American plant. It grows in well-drained soils and hot summers. It requires consistent watering or moisture during early growth. However, upon maturity, it can withstand drought and blooms to improve the look outdoors in gardens and patios.

Cigar plants require fertilization throughout summer for the best foliage and flower display. It thrives in full sun, but some species are tolerant to part shades. Full sun protects the plants from lanky and fosters blooms. It is pruned occasionally to give the plant form and a desirable shape, while encouraging new growth.

Cuphea Innovations

Despite having over 250 plant species, cuphea is fairly new in the world of ornamental plants. New varieties with larger, more showy flowers have been bred over the years. They are tolerant to heat and have a longer lifespan.

The use of palm and coconut oils is ruining habitats in the tropical regions. The use of cuphea to produce oilseed in currently under study to reduce the effect on natural habitats across the world. If used as a rotational crop, cuphea can increase corn and wheat yields.

Cuphea Varieties

  • Cuphea micropetala - Mexican species that grow up to 3 feet tall; has orange and yellow flowers and attracts hummingbirds.
  • Cuphea ignea - has orange flowers in the shape of tubes.
  • Cuphea 'Minnie Mouse' - has purple-orange flowers.
  • Cuphea llavea - has rich burgundy flowers and showy flower petals, and blooms throughout a season.
  • Cuphea hyssopifolia - has pink-lavender flowers.
  • Cuphea ;Vermillionaire' - has many yellow-orange flowers.

Cuphea hyssopifolia

Cuphea hyssopifolia

Cuphea Uses

Most cuphea plant species are used as honey plants or ornamental plants. They are also used to produce cuphea oil and in crop rotation. Some species such as C. painteri are rich in fatty acids. Various studies are analyzing cuphea's fatty oils use as an appetite stimulant and fungicidal, algicidal or antibiotic agent.

Browse through our collection of garden tools and supplies to find what you need to start planting Cuphea cultivars in your garden, yard or patio.

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