Cuphea × purpurea

Common Name: bat-faced cuphea 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Lythraceae
Native Range: Mexico
Zone: 9 to 12
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers freely
Bloom Description: Rose-red to pink-violet
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Hummingbirds


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 moderately fertile, 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 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 overwintered cuttings, it is generally best to start new plants each year.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cuphea × purpurea is a hybrid cuphea resulting from a cross between C. llavea and C. procumbens. It is a rounded, bushy, evergreen, tender sub-shrub that grows to 20" tall. It is sometimes commonly called bat-faced cuphea because each tubular flower (to 1” long) sports a rose-red to pink-violet 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/early summer to frost along stems crowded with pointed, hairy, ovate-laneolate, 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 shape of its seed capsules.

The hybrid name purpurea means "purple", in reference to the color of the flowers of this hybrid.


No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for whiteflies.


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