Want to add color to your summer landscape? Consider cigar flower (Cuphea igntata). This lovely perennial plant adds a splash of yellow, orange or red with very interesting cigar shaped flowers that are highly attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. Cigar flower prefers full or partial sun and can grow 2-3 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide depending on the variety. It is a non-native Florida-friendly plant hardy in zones 9b south. In Marion County which is zone 9a, cigar flower will suffer burn from freeze but typically returns from the roots in the spring. Wait until mid to end of March each spring to prune out any freeze burn. Then enjoy this low maintenance beautiful plant through to next winter. For zones further north, cigar flower may serve more as an annual in the landscape.
There are many different species of Cuphea available in nurseries besides cigar flower. One that I was recently introduced to is commonly called Bat Face Cuphea (Cuphea llavea). This plant is very similar in shape and bloom to cigar flower, but the end of the bloom bursts with dark purple and two red lobes that together resemble a tiny bat face.
So explore your local nurseries and garden centers for cigar flower and many other lovely Cupheas that are sure to add color and diversity to your Florida summer landscapes! For more information on cigar flower and other Cupheas, visit https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/ornamentals/cigar-flower.html and http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/nfrec/2017/08/17/plant-cupheas-for-summer-flowers-hummingbirds-and-more/ or call your UF/IFAS Marion County Extension Service at 352-671-8400.