Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Cigar plant ( Cuphea ignea )

Cigar cuphea - butterflies love this bush Aug 17th '09

Cigar cuphea - butterflies love this bush Aug 17th '09

The plant has wonderful long, bright orange flowers. I purchased it as an addition to my bee pocket garden. Butterflies and hummingbirds will also be attracted to this plant. I’m told hummingbirds love this plant so much they will fight over it. The name comes from the flowers which look like the burning end of a long cigar. This is a shrub which will grow to about 3′ tall and about 3′ across.

Pinch back stems occasionally to keep it from getting leggy.

Cuphea prefers moist soil, but will tolerate drier soil once established.  It is often found growing along the edge of streams so it is a good choice for the wetter parts of your garden.

Cuphea prefers full sun, it will tolerate some shade. It will become fuller and busier the more sun it receives.

Flowers will appear sporadically in the spring, then profusely late summer into fall.

Cuphea is very cold sensitive, it seems to only grow well in California, Texas and Florida. I’m told it will come back in the spring after a minor cold spell. Tips of the plant may freeze if the temperature drops to 20’F.  

It is rated for zones 10-12 only. So if you are in north west Houston like me, you’ll be pushing the edge a bit with this plant. It’s so cool I figured I’d take a chance on it. This one died back to the ground after several hard freezes. I had written it off, but it reappeared the second week of June much to my delight.

Hummingbirds love this plant. It is totally swamped with them all fall. It also blooms late into the fall.

Survived and thrived during the drought and heat of summer 2011

More information:
Floridata: Cuphea ignea

See also:
Cuphea lluvea