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Products > Cuphea micropetala
Cuphea micropetala - Candy Corn Plant
Image of Cuphea micropetala
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Lythraceae (Loosestrife)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow & Orange
Bloomtime: Summer/Fall
Synonyms: [C. melvilla]
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 3-4 feet
Exposure: Light Shade/Part Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Cuphea micropetala (Candy Corn Plant) - A fast growing evergreen shrub that grows to 3 to 4 feet tall and spreading by rhizomes to about twice this width with oppositely arranged narrow rough textured lanceolate leaves that are two to six inches long, tapering at both the base and tip and clothe the arching red stems. In late summer through late fall appear the tubular flowers, technically a floral tube made up of a fused calyx and corolla, that are borne in foot long leafy terminal racemes at stem tips. The flowers when first emerging in summer are yellow and age to orange from the base up, giving many of the flowers a two-toned appearance, and have long exerted stamens. The inside of the flower glistens as a slightly sticky substance is exuded within. Plant in light shade to full sun (coastal) with regular to occasional irrigation. It is the hardiest of the Cuphea and evergreen to about 25-30F, but root hardy to much lower temperatures - a visitor to our website informed us that it comes back from the roots every year in their Suffolk, Virginia garden, so possibly root hardy below 0 F and usable as a perennial to USDA Zone 7b - while an evergreen subshrub for us, in these colder climates it is a deciduous perennial. It can be cut to the ground in late winter to early spring to keep the plant a bit more tidy. A very attractive and durable plant for the garden and great for fall color as it displays the orange and red colors associated with this harvest season and is also good for attracting bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. This species grows naturally from Colima south as far as Oaxaca, Mexico. The name for the genus comes from the Greek word 'kyphos', which means "bent", "curved", or "humped" in possible reference to the curved floral tube which is often slightly swollen on one side. Some references however note this might refer to the fruit or the hypanthium (flower receptacle). The specific epithet refers to the tiny petals at the lip of the floral tube. Cuphea micropetala is also sometimes commonly called Giant Firecracker Plant or Cigar Plant, but this later name is more often used for the smaller Cuphea ignea. We first received this great plant at a Huntington Botanic Garden Sale in 1988 and have offered it in our catalogs since 1990. 

This information about Cuphea micropetala displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.