Cuphea : Greenhouse Plants
W – warm, minimum of 13°C (55°F)
This used to be represented only by Cuphea ignea, a Mexican species known as the Cigar Plant because of its cigar-shaped flowers. It is easily raised by seed which will produce neat little plants covered in bright orange flowers within a few months. It is best treated as an annual although it is an evergreen perennial. By the autumn the plants will have become straggly and stopped flowering. It is possible to cut them back but I prefer to throw them away and start afresh the following year. Recently I have noticed C. hyssopifolia offered for sale. This makes a small shrubby plant to about 60 cm (2 ft), after which it becomes straggly. The flowers are small, either pink or white and less tube-like than C. ignea. Both like good light and will do well either planted in a border or in pots. It is normal to raise fresh batches of C. ignea by seed and to propagate C. hyssopifolia by. As it is of a shrubby nature the latter can be kept for longer.