Cuphea species, hybrids and cultivars
There are two general categories of Cuphea grown in SE Qld gardens
The first is the shrubby fine-leaved type commonly grown as an edging plant, usually clipped into a small hedge. Cuphea hyssopifolia has tiny white, pink or purple flowers, which are quite pretty although not spectacular. There are golden-leaved forms also. A perennial but not long-lasting. Prune regularly. Cheap, fast and readily obtainable, so good for the new gardener or a display for a couple of years while establishing more permanent shrubs and perennials. Or replant from time to time from self-sown seedlings.
The other category includes looser-growing types with more prominent flowers. Some of them are reminiscent of a burning cigarette and are commonly called cigar plant. (Cuphea ignea and others). They are more suitable as featured subjects, in the ground or in containers.
Cuphea research provides insights into tropical seed storage
While ornamental varieties of the Cuphea are familiar to gardeners, many species of this genus also produce seeds with useful oils. Unfortunately, such seeds can exhibit poor viability after cold storage. American research findings indicating a short period of heating improves germination has important implications for the preservation of genetic diversity within a variety of tropical crops including papaw (papaya) and citrus. Read more from the Agricultural Research Service here: Reheating Cuphea Seed Improves Germination
More Online Information
some pictures and notes on several types of ornamental Cuphea at the Higher Ground website (Texas USA)
Cigar Flower Cuphea ignata
UF/IFAS Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology, University of Florida