Cuphea hyssopifolia
Common Name: false heather 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Lythraceae
Native Range: Mexico, Guatemala
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 2.50 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers freely
Bloom Description: Lavender
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-11. In the St. Louis area, it is grown as an annual, container plant or houseplant. In the garden, it is easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. May be grown from seed started indoors 8-10 weeks before last frost date. Tolerates high summer heat and some drought. Best with regular moisture. If grown in containers, plants may be overwintered indoors in warm, sunny locations. Easily propagated from tip cuttings. Best to start new plants each year, however.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cuphea hyssopifolia, commonly called Mexican heather, is native from Mexico to Guatemala. It is a rounded, densely branched 1-2’ tall tropical sub-shrub. It produces quaint, small, trumpet-shaped flowers with six spreading lavender petals and green calyx tubes. Flowers appear singly in the leaf axils along stems crowded with lance-shaped glossy green leaves (to 3/4” long). Blooms profusely summer to frost. Although heather-like in appearance, this plant is not a member of the heather family, hence the sometimes used common name of false heather. Some white- and pink-flowered cultivars are available. Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies.

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

Specific epithet means leaves like hyssop.


Watch for mealybugs, thrips, and whiteflies, particularly on indoor plants.


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