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Cuphea ignea ‘Starfire’ (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)
Cuphea ignea ‘Starfire’ (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)

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Zone
Zones 11-13, 16-24, H1, H2
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Cuphea ignea

Cigar Plant
Lythraceae
Evergreen, Perennials, Shrubs

CUPHEA

These natives of Mexico and Central America provide color throughout the warm months. Use them in small beds, as a formal edging for borders, along paths, or in containers. Reliably perennial only in frost-free areas, though they may survive light frosts in Zones 16, 17, 21–23. C. hyssopifolia and C. ignea have both naturalized on Hawaii (the Big Island).

Pinch tips of shoots for compact growth; severely cut back older plants in late fall or early spring. Easy to grow from cuttings.

Cuphea ignea

Leafy, compact plant to 1 ft. or taller, as wide as tall. Narrow dark green leaves, 1–1 1/2 in. long. The appearance of the flowers explains the “cigar” of the common name: they’re tubular, 3/4 in. long, bright orange-red with a white tip and dark ring at the end. ‘David Verity’ has orange-red blooms. ‘Starfire’ has a pink flower tube and purple petals.

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