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.
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.