Native to Mexico, this tender evergreen shrub is often grown as an annual.  It is a member of the loosestrife family, Lytharaceae, that also includes crepe myrtle, pomegranate and henna.    Plants grow up to 4′ tall in southern gardens but 1-2′ tall in the North, and 12-15″ in containers.  The opposite leaves are up to 23″ long and ovate with a rounded base and a short petiole.  The 1″ long tubular flowers appear in summer on branched stems and are mostly pink with yellow tips carrying 2 small maroon petals that look like eyes.  Red stamens emerging from the corolla complete the picture.  Plants do well in containers.  The genus name, Cuphea, comes from the Greek word kyphos meaning curved and refers to the curved seed capsule.  The specific epithet, cyanea, is the Latin word for blue, but is also the name of the ancient Greek Naiad-nymph of a spring or fountain of the town of Miletos in modern day Turkey.

Type: Flowering evergreen tender shrub

Outstanding Feature: Flowers

Form: Rounded

Growth Rate: Rapid to moderate

Bloom: Tubular 1″ long pink flowers with yellow tips bearing 2 small maroon petals, in summer

Size: 1-4′ H x 2′ W

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Average, moderately moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 10+

Care: Pinch tips of shoots for compact growth;  cut back hard older plants in late fall or early spring.

Pests and Diseases: Aphids

Propagation: Seed, cuttings (easy)

Photo Credit: Wikipedia



By Karen