Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Have a Cigar

This is a Mexican Cigar plant, or Cuphea ignea.  If this is a cigar, then consider all hummingbirds to be nicotine addicts, because they LOVE this small, flowering shrub.

The flowers are 1" - 2" tubes that are reddish-orange in color.  As you may know, red is also the favorite color of hummingbirds, so this makes the flowers doubly attractive to them. 

The shrub is fairly dense with dark green leaves.  The blooms usually start for me in May.  The plant dies back to the ground after a freeze, so it makes a fresh start each spring.  It's quite reliable to come back in my zone 8B yard.

The plant grows quickly and easily reaches 3' - 4' tall.  It makes a fine foundation plant or back-of-the-border perennial.  It does best in a sunny spot.  I have yet to see any disease or insect damage on my plant.

I recommend cutting this plant back about once a month after it reaches a height of 3 feet.  This keeps is bushier in appearance and less leggy at the bottom.  No gardener wishing to attract hummingbirds should be without this plant.  It grows quickly enough to use as an annual or potted plant in the North.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for introducing the world to this beauteous plant!