Cigar plant ( Cuphea ignea )

The plant has wonderful long, bright orange flowers. I purchased it as an addition to my bee pocket garden. Butterflies and hummingbirds will also be attracted to this plant. The hummingbirds love this plant so much they will fight over it. During the fall migration there are so many hummingbirds on the plant it looks like a fully decked out Christmas tree. The name comes from the flowers which look like the burning end of a long cigar. This is a shrub which will grow to about 3′ tall and about 3′ across.

Pinch back stems occasionally to keep it from getting leggy.

Cuphea prefers moist soil, but will tolerate drier soil once established, it survived the 2011 drought. It is often found growing along the edge of streams so it is a good choice for the wetter parts of your garden.

Cuphea prefers full sun, it will tolerate some shade. It will become fuller and busier the more sun it receives.

Flowers will appear sporadically in the spring, then profusely late summer into fall.

Cuphea is very cold sensitive, it seems to only grow well in California, Texas and Florida. I’m told it will come back in the spring after a minor cold spell.Tips of the plant may freeze if the temperature drops to 20’F. 

It is rated for zones 10-12 only. If you are in north west Houston like me, you’ll be pushing the edge a bit with this plant. It’s so cool I figured I’d take a chance on it. This one died back to the ground after several hard freezes. I had written it off, but it reappeared the second week of June much to my delight. A later cold winter did it in, I just planted some new ones last month. If you search for them online you’ll find a few nurseries that have them available. I put in 4 so there should be plenty to keep the hummingbirds happy during the migration

More information:
Floridata: Cuphea ignea