Cuphea ignea

Cuphea ignea in the garden of Robin Diehm

Cuphea ignea (ht 50-60 cm) is a frost-tender, small-growing shrub that is often called the cigarette plant as its dainty orange tubular flowers have white and black tips that make them look like glowing cigarettes, complete with ash. It belongs to the Lythraceae family of plants and is found in Mexico and Jamaica. It seems to always be in bloom. It may layer to form a wide mound. It will grow in sun or part shade and is useful for a border of hot-coloured shrubs. It is quite drought tolerant. It can be pruned in late winter to keep it compact.

Cuphea ignea Starfire Pink

There is a pink, lavender and white cultivar called 'Starfire Pink', growing to a height of 60-90 cm. It is a pretty and long-flowering shrub, and associates well with Salvia 'Wendy's Wish' or Strobilanthes dyeriana to echo the colours of its blooms. it flowers best in sun but will cope with a little shade. It is apparently suited to pot culture. It can be tricky to grow from cuttings; try layering some stems to propagate it.

Flowers in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December.

 Out now in my Sydney Garden.