AskIFAS Powered by EDIS

Cuphea ignea Cigar Plant, Cigar Flower

Edward F. Gilman


Year-round flowering, attractive small foliage, and a neat, round shape help to make cigar flower a nice addition to any landscape (Figure 1). It is not readily available in quantity, but can occasionally be purchased at specialty garden centers. Plants grow no more than about 2-feet-tall and 3-feet-wide and will attract attention in the shrub or perennial border. Many stems arise near the base of the plant but they branch infrequently. Flowers are continually produced on new growth during the warm seasons in Florida. It can be used as an annual bedding plant elsewhere because frost kills it to the ground.

Figure 1. Cigar plant.
Figure 1.  Cigar plant.


General Information

Scientific name: Cuphea ignea
Pronunciation: KOO-fee-uh IG-nee-uh
Common name(s): cigar plant, cigar flower
Family: Lythraceae
Plant type: shrub
USDA hardiness zones: 9B through 11 (Figure 2)
Planting month for zone 9: year round
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: container or above-ground planter; specimen; foundation; attracts hummingbirds
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant
Figure 2. Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 2.  Shaded area represents potential planting range.



Height: 1 to 3 feet
Spread: 2 to 3 feet
Plant habit: round
Plant density: dense
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: fine


Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: elliptic (oval)
Leaf venation: bowed
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy


Flower color: red
Flower characteristic: year-round flowering


Fruit shape: elongated
Fruit length: less than .5 inch
Fruit cover: dry or hard
Fruit color: unknown
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: typically multi-trunked or clumping stems; not particularly showy
Current year stem/twig color: reddish
Current year stem/twig thickness: thin


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: loam; acidic; clay; sand; alkaline
Drought tolerance: moderate
Soil salt tolerances: poor
Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches


Roots: usually not a problem
Winter interest: plant has winter interest due to unusual form, nice persistent fruits, showy winter trunk, or winter flowers
Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

In central and south Florida, cut plants to the ground when warm weather returns in the spring. Plants can be cut back in other regions after danger of frost leaves the region in the spring. This stimulates fresh growth from the base of the plant and removes last years twigs.

A sunny or partially shaded location gives the best growth. Soils should be kept moist.

Pests and Diseases

Cigar flower resists most pest and diseases problems.

Publication #FPS160

Date: 5/21/2015


    • Critical Issue: Agricultural and Food Systems
    Organism ID

    About this Publication

    This document is FPS160, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

    About the Authors

    Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


    • Gail Hansen de Chapman