Name: Cuphea hybrid ‘Cupver’ aka cigar plant, Cuphea Vermillionaire, firecracker plant
Type of Plant: This Cuphea is an annual in northern climates but can be perennial in Zones 8-11 It grows 18 to 24 inches high and wide, and flowers all summer.
Why I Love/Hate this plant: I buy several pots of this plant every summer, and make sure that it’s included in pots and boxes on my front and back porch. First of all, it’s a hummingbird magnet. The hummers will go to this plant every day, morning until evening, and will even defend it from other birds and butterflies. Secondly, this Cuphea is in flower from the moment you buy it in May until hard frost. No deadheading, pinching or other maintenance required. Additionally, the fine foliage and small orange flowers add contrast of color and texture that enliven any mixed container. It’s especially good when combined with pinks, blues and other pastels because the dash of orange makes the combination come ALIVE! And did I mention the hummingbirds? 😉
A Word to the Wise: Full sun, or at least five hours of dead-on sunshine is important. When planting in containers, mix a combination of a time-release, synthetic fertilizer with an equal amount of a granular organic product such as Plant-tone, into the potting mix before you put the plants into the containers.