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CUPHEA ignea

Image of Cuphea ignea

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Lythraceae

Botanical Name

CUPHEA ignea

Plant Common Name

Cigar Flower, Cigar Plant

General Description

It’s no wonder this tropical subshrub has gained fast popularity as a bedding plant. Drifts of bright orange, tubular flowers cover its branches effortlessly in the hottest months of summer. This interesting tender perennial hails from southern Mexico where it remains evergreen and bushy year round. In North Temperate zones, it is grown as a bedding annual but can be brought indoors to overwinter.

Broad and bushy, cigar plant is covered with small, crisp, medium green leaves with lighter midveins. Its numerous small, tubular blooms are fiery orangish red, often with a touch of purple or cream at the 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. Cigar flower 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.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 6

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 12

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    3'-5' / 0.9m - 1.5m

  • Width

    3'-4' / 0.9m - 1.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall, Late Fall, Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Orange Red

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Lime Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Lime Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Lime Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Lime Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes