James H. Schutte
Plant Common Name
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A lover of heat, black eyed cuphea has haired, sticky stems and tubular orange-red flowers with two reduced black petals that look like crab eyes. This interesting tender perennial hails from Mexico where it remains evergreen and bushy year round. In cold temperate zones, it is grown as a bedding annual but can be brought indoors to overwinter.
Broad and bushy, black eyed cuphea is covered with heart-like, bright medium green leaves upon dark red stems, youngest shoots are hairy and sticky to the touch. Its numerous small, tubular blooms are orangish red, often with a touch of purple or cream at the lip. Two reduced black petal are seen at the flower's lip. Hummingbirds favor the nectar-filled flowers and will busily buzz from one to the next. The blooms are self-cleaning and do not require deadheading.
Full sun is essential for best growth and flowering as is well-drained soil with average to good fertility. Established plants will withstand periods of drought and thrive in heat. Black eyed cuphea is fully evergreen but will die back to ground like a perennial in subtropical areas where occasional frosts occur. It is a superb bedding plant for sunny gardens, hummingbird borders and lively containers filled with other brightly colored bedding flowers. Trim it occasionally to maintain a more compact habit, if desired.
AHS Heat Zone
12 - 6
USDA Hardiness Zone
9 - 15
H1, H2, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall, Indeterminate
Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Clay, Loam, Sand
Drought Tolerant, Average Water