Bat-faced cuphea, Cuphea llavea – Grasp Gardener Program

Flowering Cuphea llavea in a container.

Cuphea llavea is one in all about 260 species of Cupheas within the loosestrife household (Lythraceae). This quick rising tender broadleaf evergreen sub-shrub native to Mexico is bought as an annual or houseplant in cooler climates, typically below the synonym C. blepharophylla. It’s usually a dialog plant as a consequence of its distinctive flower form.

The flowers of Cuphea llavea resemble a purple bat “face” with crimson petal “ears”.

The widespread identify bat-faced cuphea comes from the resemblance of the ends of the flower to a tiny bat face, however it might even be referred to as crimson cuphea or simply cuphea (together with a number of different species; orange bat-faced cuphea is a unique species, C. oreophila.)

Bat-faced cuphea produces many stems (L) with pointed, furry ovate leaves (R).

Crops can develop as much as 2½ ft tall, however when grown as seasonal annuals usually solely grow to be 12-18 inches tall with an equal unfold. They’ve a rounded, bushy behavior and the foliage stays recent all season if watered sufficiently. The stems are crowded with alternate darkish inexperienced, thick, sandpapery leaves as much as three” lengthy. Every ovate leaf is pointed and furry. The foliage can tolerate gentle frost however not a tough freeze.

Bat-faced cuphea flowers are visited by hummingbirds and different pollinators.

Bat-faced cuphea begins blooming in late spring and continues till frost, producing clusters of quite a few flowers within the leaf axils. Every flower has a one inch lengthy, furry purple calyx with two upward going through crimson petals on the finish, forming the “ears” to go along with the “bat face”.  The remaining 4 petals are simply little spiny remnants within the species, however in some cultivars these are absolutely developed. Flowers are enticing to hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. The small, brown lentil-shaped seeds are discovered on the base of spent flowers that stay on the plant.

Bat-faced cuphea blooms in clusters within the leaf axils (L), with furry buds (LC) opening to tubular flowers (C) with two upward going through crimson petals (RC), a furry purple “face” and 4 vestigial decrease petals (R).

Cuphea Completely Tempted®

There are a selection of cultivars accessible which fluctuate from the species together with:

Mix bat-faced cuphea with crimson or purple flowers or foliage to enrich the flowers.

Plant bat-faced cuphea in annual beds, alongside the perimeters of borders or paths, or in containers – together with hanging baskets – the place its distinctive flowers will be appreciated up shut.  Mix bat-faced cuphea with crops with purple foliage or shiny purple flowers to enrich the darkish “faces” of the flowers or crimson flowers, corresponding to shiny crimson impatiens, to coordinate with the “ears”. Use it alone or blended with different crops corresponding to coleus and ‘Blackie’ candy potato vine in containers. Container-grown crops will be moved indoors to overwinter in a shiny, sunny location with at the very least 4 hours of direct solar.  Scale back watering and hold comparatively cool (60sF).

Develop bat-faced cuphea in full solar.

Develop bat-faced cuphea in full solar within the floor or in containers. Present common moisture, though crops will tolerate dry circumstances often. Fertilize crops in containers a number of instances in the course of the summer season months. Pinch again or shear if crops grow to be too leggy later within the rising season. This low upkeep plant has few insect or illness issues, however could also be infested with whiteflies, mealybugs or aphids.

C. llavea is propagated from seed, quick softwood cuttings taken in late spring, or massive crops will be divided. Begin seeds indoors 10-12 weeks earlier than the common final date of frost. The seeds want gentle to germinate so simply press into the soil floor or barely cowl. Seeds ought to germinate in Eight-10 days if maintained at 70°.


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Extra Info

  • Cuphea llavea – on the Missouri Botanic Backyard’s Kemper Middle for House Gardening web site

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