Monday, April 6, 2015

Cuphea

Cuphea
A genus of perennials and small shrubs that are part of the Lythraceae family.

Cuphea hyssopifolia ( Mexican Heather )
A moderate growing, rounded, evergreen shrubby perennial, reaching up to 3 x 7 ( rarely over 2 x 2.7 outside tropics ) feet in size. It is native from Mexico to Guatemala.
The lance-shaped leaves, up to 1 inch in length, are deep green.
The purplish-pink ( rarely white ) flowers are borne on short axilliary racemes during summer, lasting well into autumn.
Hardy zones 9 to 12 ( reports of 8, often used much further north as annual ) in full sun to partial shade on moist, fertile. well drained soil. It is extremely heat tolerant. Propagation is from seed or stem-tip cuttings.

* photo taken on July 21 2012 in Columbia, MD


Cuphea ignea ( Firecracker Plant )
Also called Cigar Flower. A fast growing, bushy, evergreen perennial ( annual in cooler climates ), reaching up to 3.5 x 3 ( rarely over 3 ) feet. It is native to Jamaica and Mexico.
The pointed-oval leaves, up to 3 inches in length, are bright green. The orange-red, tubular flowers, up to 1 inch in length, are borne late spring through autumn. In tropical climates, the flowers may appear throughout the year.
Hardy zones 9b to 12 ( tolerating as low as 20 F ) in full sun to partial shade on moist, fertile, well drained soil. Occasionally pinch the stem tips if a more compact habit is desired. Propagation is from seed or stem-tip cuttings.

* photos taken on Aug 25 2014 @ U.S. Botanical Gardens, Washington, DC


'David's Variety'
Larger in size, reaching up to 4 x 3 feet.
The leaves and the yellowish-orange flowers are also larger.
Hardy zones 8b +. It is tougher in hot dry climates. Propagation is from stem-tip cuttings.

* photo taken on Aug 25 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC

* photo taken on Oct 21 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC


Cuphea micropetala
A rounded shrub, reaching a maximum size of 6 x 5 feet, that is native to Mexico.
The lance-shaped leaves, up to 7 inches in length, are bright green.
The golden-yellow to orangish-red, tubular flowers, up to 2 inches in length, are borne on terminal racemes all summer long lasting well into autumn.
Hardy zones 9 to 11 ( it may be root hardy to 10 F ) in full sun to partial shade on moist, fertile, well drained soil. Cut back during late winter. Propagation is from seed or stem-tip cuttings.

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