Position: Full sun to light shade
Flowering period: Summer to early autumn
Soil: Moist, well drained
Eventual Height: 1.2m
Eventual Spread: 1.2m
Hardiness: 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11, 12
Cuphea melvilla is an evergreen shrub (it will die to ground level in the south of the UK) with a lax habit. Its dark green leaves are elliptic with entire margins, up to 10cm long and 3.5cm across. Its yellow/ orange flowers are tubular and up to 5cm long.
Cuphea melvilla, commonly known as Giant Cigar Plant or Candy Corn Plant, is native to south South America, including Brazil, Guyana, Venezuela, Argentina, Paraguay and Ecuador. In its native habitat it grows in moist soils next to water bodies and streams.
The etymological root of the binomial name Cuphea is derived from the Greek kufos meaning ‘bent forward’. Melvilla is named after Robert Melvill (1723 – 1809), a Scottish soldier, botanist and inventor.
The landscape architect may find Cuphea melvilla useful as an autumn flowering shrub suitable for a mixed border.
Ecologically, Cuphea melvilla flowers are attractive to polinating insects and hummingbirds.
Cuphea melvilla prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It dislikes dry soils.
Cuphea melvilla requires little maintenance. It may be pruned anally to keep a tidy, compact habit.