Meet Cuphea

Hummingbirds love Cuphea. This plant attracts hummers like no others.

Tough shrubby Cuphea grows a bit more that 30 cm (1') tall and wide by August, making it the perfect thriller for a patio. Flowering starts around mid-June and doesn't stop until frost, long after many heat-loving annuals have given up the ghost.

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Use its height to create shade for begonias, pictured, or fuchsias. Just place the plant at the edge of the container facing south, shading the trailing plants. Several in a long planter or matching pots make a lovely edging for a small space. It also makes a superb ground edger, if there are no cats around to stalk the birds frenzily drinking the nectar at all hours.

You'll find 3 different types at nurseries in the bedding plant section. All look similar, long tubes ending with a white rim, like cigar ash. Hence its other name, Cigar plant. 'Ignea' has a bright red tube, 'Vermillion' is fire-engine red orange, and both work well with other plants.

Editor’s note: The South Delta Garden Club is providing a weekly article to the Optimist, which will appear on-line on the Optimist website every Tuesday.

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