Cupheas, otherwise known as firecracker plants or cigar plants constantly surprise me with their ease of care and unique gangbuster flowers. Their flowers are tiny, but so abundant you see bright, cheery color at a distance. I would say for the Mediterranean climate garden, Cupheas, with their tiny tubular hummingbird happy flowers, are an excellent addition to the garden or a container.
While the splash of color is wonderful, if you look closely at the flowers, especially some varieties, you might as well be looking at Mickey or Minnie Mouse: the adorable ears and face. Some refer to the flowers as bunny faced blooms.
So to begin…
The Cuphea photo I’m starting off with in this short post is a close-up of… yes, you got it: CUPHEA ‘MINNIE MOUSE.’
Now let’s look at a few other Cupheas. Keep in mind that there are over 260 species, so these are just a drop in the bucket. Finding a plant online might be your best bet. If you live in a mild climate like the SF Bay area Cupheas are evergreen. They can be enjoyed and treated as annuals in colder climates as these kind of tender plants hailing from South America and Mexico . What are they good for? Dry shade, hot and humid gardens, bees and hummingbirds love them, dry shade, winter bloom and much more.
Cuphea ignea – Size 1-2′ tall x 2-3′ wide.
Cuphea ‘Starfire Pink’ – USDA zone: 8 -10. Like the cover photo this adorable and long bloomer has tons of bunny faced flowers. Size 3′ x 3′.
Cuphea micropetala – This evergreen shrub size: 2-3′ tall spreads by roots. Candy corn plant with yellow and orange flowers blooms summer to fall. Exposure: Light shade/sun (coast). Water: Regular to occasional.
Cuphea aequipetala – USDA Zone – 9 to 10. Size: 2-3′ x 2-3.’
2020 is the hellish year we’ll never forget! If you want a plant to make you smile; particularly one that looks like a rabbit or Minnie Mouse, don’t hesitate to add a Cuphea to your garden and life!