Cuphea 'David Verity'
Common Name: cuphea
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Lythraceae
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 1.50 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.50 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers freely
Bloom Description: Reddish-orange tipped with yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10. In the St. Louis area, it is grown as an annual, container plant or houseplant. In the garden, it is best grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates part shade. Also tolerates high summer heat. Tolerates some drought, but performs best with regular moisture. Plants can become leggy as the growing season progresses, in which case stem tips may be pinched as needed to maintain good plant form. Plants may be purchased from nurseries in spring. In St. Louis, plants are perhaps best grown as annuals, but container-grown plants may be overwintered indoors in bright, sunny locations with temperatures in the 60s and reduced watering. Plants may be propagated by tip cuttings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cuphea is a genus of more than 200 species.

Genus name comes from the Greek word kyphos meaning curved or humped in probable reference to the shape of its seed capsules.

‘David Verity’ is a hybrid cuphea (possibly C. ignea x C. micropetala) that is particularly noted for its long floriferous bloom of unusual cigar-shaped flowers. It is a rounded, densely branched, bushy sub-shrub that grows 20-30” tall and as wide. Where winter hardy, plants feature evergreen foliage and will grow to 3-4’ (less frequently 5’) tall. Tubular, bright reddish-orange flowers (to 1.25” long) bloom singly in the leaf axils from late spring to frost along stems crowded with pointed, lance-shaped to ovate, olive green leaves (to 1 1/2” long). Each flower consists of a narrow, tubular, reddish-orange calyx (no corolla) tipped with yellow. Flowers are suggestive of a lit cigar or firecracker hence the sometimes used common names of cigar flower or firecracker plant. Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. Although hybrid, ‘David Verity’ is often sold by nurseries as a cultivar of Cuphea ignea.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids, whiteflies and spider mites. Powdery mildew, leaf spot and root rot may occur.

Garden Uses

Annual for borders, beds or edgings along walkways or paths. Container plant for decks, patios or porches. Hanging baskets. Houseplant.