Cuphea is an interesting plant that has been more of a Southern than Northern seller but is appearing more and more on retailers shelves. I grew it a few times from seed in the nursery but the new hybrids, there are more and more coming onto the market, are world’s apart from those 20-year ago trials and tests. Tests I note, I never passed along to my customers because the species plants weren’t worth growing in the North.
I note I haven’t grown it in 15 years so this was a bit of an experiment for me as well.
Note to readers: I purchased this plant in spring 2013 for garden trial purposes.
- Growth: a mounded variety (there are trailing ones too)
- Bloomtime: from planting until hard frost
- Height: 12-inches
- Width: 12-18 inches
- Sun: full sun
- Use: general garden and containers
- Zone: Note this does really well in Southern climates and the heat but slower to grow in the north and frost-tender.
Planting and Garden Trials
Planted spring 2013 in containers and the garden.
July 2013: I have to say the container plants I put it with “ate” it right up. This turns out to be a delicate grower, not rampant. And if you put it beside a fast-grower, you won’t see the plant as it will be covered over. I’ve protected it in the garden giving it a fair amount of room and it’s growing quite slowly.
The few plants I put into the garden soil did much better (probably because I gave them more space and less competition) than the container plants.
Not overly impressive as a general bedding plant, particularly if you’re looking for showy bloomer, but in a specialized small garden setting it may fit in. For example, a fairy garden or miniature garden may be able to use this plant nicely.
Note: Southern gardeners may have a different take on this plant as it will continue to live over mild winters.
But I wouldn’t spend money to grow this plant again.