Cuphea llavea

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 1 Professionals
Common Name: cuphea
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Lythraceae
Native Range: Mexico
Zone: 9 to 12
Height: 1.50 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers freely
Bloom Description: Purple with red petals
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-12. It is not winter hardy to the St. Louis area where it may be grown as an annual, container plant or houseplant. When planted outside in the garden, it is best grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Plants tolerate high heat and some part shade. Plants also tolerate some dry conditions, but perform best with regular moisture. Plants are easily grown from seed started indoors 10-12 weeks before the last spring frost date. Plants can become leggy as the growing season progresses, in which case stem tips may be pinched as needed to maintain good plant form. If grown in containers, plants may be overwintered indoors in bright, sunny locations with temperatures in the 60s and reduced watering. Although plants may be propagated from tip cuttings, it is generally best to start new plants each year.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cuphea llavea is native to Mexico where it grows as a rounded, bushy, evergreen sub-shrub to 20-30” tall and as wide. It is sometimes commonly called bat flower because each tubular flower (to 1”) sports a purple calyx and a pair of red ear-like petals that collectively resemble the face of a bat. Flowers bloom in the leaf axils from late spring to frost along stems crowded with pointed, hairy, ovate, dark green leaves (to 3” long). Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. Genus name comes from the Greek word kyphos (meaning curved or humped) in probable reference to the seed capsules. Additional common names for this plant include cuphea and red cuphea.

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

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

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