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Products > Cuphea 'Strybing Sunset'
 
Cuphea 'Strybing Sunset' - Orange Bunny Ears
   

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Lythraceae (Loosestrife)
Origin: Garden Origin
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Orange
Bloomtime: Year-round
Synonyms: [Cuphea 'Caribbean Sunset']
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 3-4 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Cuphea 'Strybing Sunset' (Orange Bunny Ears) - An evergreen (in mild climates) subshrub to 3 feet tall and as wide with small rich green heart shaped leaves. Year-year-round in a profuse floral display in coastal gardens are produced the 1 1/2 inch long tubular flowers that arise along the leafy stems. The flowers are a ribbed floral tube that are dark red-orange color at the base and blending to a paler orange color at the mouth, with erect red ear-like appendages on the upper lip. The floral tube of Cuphea is created by the fusion of calyx and corolla and these appendages are actually the true petals with others often present but reduced in size. Plant in full coastal sun to part sun or light shade inland in a decently well-drained soil and give occasional to regular irrigation - while this plant can survive on infrequent watering in shade in cool climates, it really looks best with regular water. Remains evergreen in our mild coastal climate and, though technically an evergreen subshrub (woody base with herbaceous stems), it acts like an herbaceous perennial in colder locations, coming back from the roots and tolerating temperatures down to around 10F so good for gardens in USDA Zone 8 and above. Best to prune back yearly in late winter to constrain growth and keep dense. This is a long flowering plant for the garden that is attractive and attracts hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects. There are over 260 species of Cupheas native to the Americas, both north and south with a large concentration in Central America and Mexico and there are many more named selections and cultivars. The name for the genus comes from the Greek word 'kyphos' which means "bent", "curved", or "humped" in reference to the curved floral tube which is often slightly swollen on one side though some references not this might refer to the fruit or the hypanthium (flower receptacle). We found this charming plant in the nursery at the Mendocino Botanic Garden in Fort Bragg and decided we had to grow it! It was a plant originally grown from seed collected in Mexico in 1991 by Dennis Breedlove of the California Academy of Sciences and Don Mahone of the San Francisco Botanic Garden (then called the Strybing Arboretum) and remained unidentified and was accessioned just as Cuphea species. The nursery at Golden Gate Park first propagated it and began selling it as "Caribbean Sunset" but it was later picked up by Annie Hayes and sold at her nursery, Annie's Annuals & Perennials, as Cuphea 'Strybing Sunset'. Since this name was the first published name (in the Annie's catalog) and with agreement by staff at the San Francisco Botanic Garden, the name 'Strybing Sunset' is considered to be the correct name to call this plant going forward, though it is still being grown by some as "Caribbean Sunset". This image on this page courtesy of the San Francisco Botanic Garden.  This description is based on our research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We will also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information about this plant, in particular if this information is contrary to what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Cuphea 'Strybing Sunset'.