Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bat-Face Cuphea, St. Peter's Plant, Tiny Mice, Bunny Ears
Cuphea llavea

Family: Lythraceae (ly-THRAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cuphea (KYOO-fee-uh) (Info)
Species: llavea (LAH-vay-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Cuphea barbigera
Synonym:Parsonia llavea

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

60 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Dark Purple/Black

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

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By darius
Thumbnail #1 of Cuphea llavea by darius

By Calalily
Thumbnail #2 of Cuphea llavea by Calalily

By mystic
Thumbnail #3 of Cuphea llavea by mystic

By Soupster
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By Windy
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By moonlighting
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By Cajun2
Thumbnail #7 of Cuphea llavea by Cajun2

There are a total of 36 photos.
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32 positives
4 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral SarahGrace On Jul 19, 2013, SarahGrace from Long Beach, CA wrote:

This is a good news/bad news plant. The flowers are so pretty and cheerful and the plant is easy to grow. However, it is aggressive - I wouldn't call it invasive -- yet. I pulled it up from a small flower bed where it had completely taken over. I replanted it in a neighbor's yard (yes, she lets me) and, now, little sprouts are coming up everywhere-- my yard, her yard, three doors down. I yank the ones I don't want and nurture the ones in the right spots. Next season may tell me if this is a beauty or a beast.

Positive weedlaw On May 5, 2013, weedlaw from Bellingham, WA wrote:

Bellingham Washington Z 7-ish
Great plant for mixed containers, bat-like "faces" peek out of mixed planting all summer. QUESTION: every year I see what looks like some sort of blister mite damage on leaves; have been told this is characteristic of plant and NOT insect damage. Anyone know?

Positive hymenocallis On Feb 11, 2013, hymenocallis from Auburn, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

I acquired one from Amazon last may and planted it in a large planter, by summer it had filled that planter and had bloomed from day one outside. I didn't know much about this plant but I have 8 hrs of sun and it loves it. Brought it into the greenhouse in Dec. and it seems to be about to start blooming again as it has put on all new growth. Apparently I can plant it in the ground as it survived 20 plus days of 100 + temperatures last summer and didn't flinch. AN absolutely stunning plant that everyone notices!! Easy to grow.

Positive ffshoe On Oct 14, 2012, ffshoe from Bixby, OK (Zone 6b) wrote:

I love this plant! It was new for me this year. I planted it on the west side of my house, no shade at all. It not only survived but THRIVED. We had some of our hottest days this summer here in Tulsa, Oklahoma and made national news because of the heat. I cut it back a couple of times because it was so huge and coming on to the walk. I didn 't want it to get stepped on. I cut it back and it bushed out more. I don't think it is a perinneal in my zone but if we have another mild winter like we have had the past couple of years it might make it! I just loved it!!!! I'll try to get a photo to share.
As a Tulsa Master Gardener I highly recommend this plant for our area.

Positive GreenhouseGin On Mar 1, 2012, GreenhouseGin from Boise City, ID wrote:

I have had this plant growing in a hanging pot for about 15 years now. I move it out of my greenhouse as soon as weather permits (usually May) and then back in for the winter (usually October). Its outdoor place is hot & sunny and it gets watered daily via an automatic drip system. The only insect problems it has had are aphids (easy to fix). I cut it back twice a year (Oct & March). It blooms the entire summer, is absolutely stunning and attracts hummingbirds like crazy!

Positive Sandwichkatexan On Dec 8, 2011, Sandwichkatexan from Copperas Cove, TX wrote:

Grows like a weed in all my flowerbeds . A welcome weed however . The deer tend to eat this to the ground and it just pops right back up . Last winter killed a lot of them but the ones that survived were still green until yesterdays frost . I know they will be right back in spring however . For me they self sow not readily but they have grown and popped up in places no where near where they were originally planted . An added bonus is they attract hummingbirds , and because they do not grow very tall you can see the hummingbirds from above if you are standing up and see their beautiful plumage . In my humble opinion a great plant to fill in those spots left after our southern bulbs foliage has died off , and a great flowerbed anywhere filler .

Positive zazusmom On Nov 21, 2011, zazusmom from Huntington Beach, CA wrote:

I've had this plant in the front of a border next to the driveway, in full, hot sun. Striking color and very healthy. I've past on several cuttings and finally had to label it for folks who "need" to know what it is! Wonderful addition to the water-wise renovation of our front landscape.

Positive Anniesfollies On Nov 21, 2011, Anniesfollies from Carlsbad, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

Saw these this summer for the first time and fell in love. I have Bat-Face with red flowers and Tiny Mice with orange. Have them planted in the front yard for spots of color and for the hummers, butterflies and bees, and boy do they bloom with no deadheading needed! The one in partial shade did get a bit leggy and start falling over, but a pruning took care of that. I've always had red pentas where these are, but their colors are not as vivid, they did better with regular deadheading, and most needed replacing yearly, so off they went into the background with some protection. Glad to read that cuphea propagate well and am going to try some this week and plant them all over the backyard, too. Will be interesting to see how they look and if they bloom over the winter with nights in the low fifties, occasionally forties. Hopefully I'll remember to report back next spring.

Neutral phyla On May 31, 2011, phyla from Austin, TX wrote:

Does anyone know if deer will eat or nibble this cuphea?

Positive Goingcoastal On Aug 6, 2010, Goingcoastal from San Diego, CA wrote:

This plant is very resilient--you can cut it back if it gets leggy or sat upon by the family dog and it 'll come right back. It thrives at NW corner bed of our house, where it can take the shade of winter or sun all afternoon in the summer. It's a cheap filler plant, because after 1 1/2 years it has spawned many baby plants around it that I'm giving away or planting elsewhere.

It looks really good grouped with red impatiens of the same hue.

Positive TraditionsPlant On Aug 2, 2010, TraditionsPlant from Linden, TX wrote:

I bought this plant for the first time this summer to sell at my nursery. I have one in the ground, one in a large container on the patio, and one in a hanging basket. Several times a day hummingbirds come and feast at the one on the patio, and then fly across the yard to the one in the ground and then to the one in the hanging basket. Of course the ones in the container and the basket need regular watering, but the one in the ground tolerates the heat and drought very well. I love this plant!

Positive dmommylady On Jun 8, 2010, dmommylady from Sanford, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I discovered this plant at a nursery while visiting in Chattanooga. Had to buy several to bring home. Very leggy due to cramped quarters there, but I have cut it back drastically and the hairy stems are rooting with ease. I will add the purchased potted plants in a new bed and still have plenty to share!

Positive stevesivek On Apr 3, 2010, stevesivek from Baytown, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

The abnormally cold winter this year froze it to the ground. With the first sign of spring new growth has appeared in abundance. This low growing shrub will constantly put on so many blooms that it is the first thing in the garden that catches most people's eye. Color of the bloom is much more intense than that captured by most photographs. PLANTING IN FULL SUN IS A MUST! Too much shade and the plant will look fine for awhile then slowly deteriorate until it dies.

Positive chuck7701 On Jan 14, 2010, chuck7701 from McKinney, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

One of my favorite carefree plants, blooms profusely if in full sun. Pest free, bees love it. Not fond of soil drying out completely though. In my area I treat it as an annual, have not tried to overwinter in the ground or inside.

Harvest seeds from the blooms that stay on the bush for several days after flowering. Generally they hang down, and look for a bulge or split at the base of the bloom. Catch them in time or they scatter the seed. Blooms that fall off right after blooming are usually void of seeds.

Positive leiannec On Nov 9, 2009, leiannec from Oakland, CA wrote:

This bright flowered plant has been covered with one inch flowers from may to november. I have hot pink and scarlet versions, they are great, compact growth covered in blooms, it just keeps going.

Positive CherokeeGreg On Aug 12, 2009, CherokeeGreg from Fresno, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

A great plant the bees love it. I like the colors. It does great here in Fresno,CA

Negative grovespirit On Apr 21, 2008, grovespirit from Sunset Valley, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

In my area (Zone 11 suburban), this plant was a real pain for me to grow.

I agree that it is gorgeous when blooming, but in my location it just wasn't worth all the effort. I had an easier time growing orchids than I did growing this!

This plant was prone to numerous insect pests, and needed water every single non-rainy day too. Even when it was pest free.

It never attracted a single hummingbird or honeycreeper, either.

I am not sure if the problem was that it dislikes being grown in a 4 gallon pot, and needs to be in the ground... I don't have ground to plant in here, just a paved condominium patio.

I took it to a swap meet and traded it in for an orchid. I don't regret my decision.

Positive hairball On May 6, 2007, hairball from Gallitzin, PA wrote:

I noticed that PA is not listed for this plant. I live in Central PA and bought this plant last year for the first time. I had it in a planter on my deck and the hummingbirds absolutely "loved it". It flowered continueously all summer. The nursery I purchased it from no longer carries it and I've been unable to find it anywhere. It did not winter over.

Positive siobhan7 On Aug 21, 2006, siobhan7 from Gainesville, FL wrote:

I found this in a local nursery and fell in love. Even though I really don't have the room so late in the summer, I had to go back and buy it. It was pretty dry, but a good dousing has perked it right up. My local hummingbirds are ecstatic. I am a little worried about the forthcoming hummer smackdowns over this plant, though!

Positive penpen On Apr 3, 2006, penpen from North Tonawanda, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I purchased a small plant last year over Memorial week end when we were down in Indiana. It grew and bloomed all summer. I brought it in in the fall but got too spindly inside with limited light. I also collected seed from my plant. Seeds were very easy to germinate. Hummers loved it last summer. Hoping to have it to bloom size this year. As they aren't available for sale here in upstate NY

Positive corgimom On Oct 16, 2005, corgimom from Pontotoc, MS (Zone 7b) wrote:

I gave this plant a try simply because of its name and planted it next to the daylily " Batman". I was amazed at its vigor all summer as we had very sporadic rainfall. It grew over onto the gravel pathway and seemed to love it. I will try propagating it for the master gardeners.

Positive pjpatter On Oct 2, 2005, pjpatter from Leon, KS wrote:

Last fall I cut my bat-face back and set the pot in our garage that never gets below freezing in the winter. To my surprise, it had some very spindly growth on it by early spring. I started watering it and later set the pot outdoors when the weather warmed up. Very large specimen this year since it already had a nice root system. Worth a try to overwinter in the northern zones. I plan to see if I can do it 2 years in a row.

Positive poohrona On Jul 8, 2005, poohrona from Maud, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant is stunning. By far one of my favorites. I only bought it because it looked unique at a discount store and I am so pleased. Looking forward to planting more from seed I get off of it.

Positive smiln32 On Jun 27, 2005, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Also works well in hanging baskets....unique touch of color.

Positive Enigel On Jun 27, 2005, Enigel from Pensacola, FL wrote:

Wonderful plant, but it seems to mind being... planted! Last year (in May) I bought it in a one gallon pot, I planted it in carefully prepared soil, in filtered light and... it died! Since I'm very much into giving plants a second (and third...) chance, I did not pull it out of the ground. After a couple of weeks it came back with a vengeance and now it is one of the most beautiful plants in my garden. Therefore, a couple of weeks ago I could not resist buying another one gallon pot. I did the same thing as last year and, guess what, this second plant also died! This morning I noticed some tiny-tiny green leaves on the dead body, so I guess the same thing is happening again. The moral of my story is - no matter what, do not pull it out! It will come back and make you very happy with its beauty. By the way, I have planted hundreds of plants and I only had this stresfull experience three times: two with the bat-faced lady and once with "Lion's Ear" (Leonotis leonurus). Anybody has an explanation?

Positive JaxFlaGardener On Apr 21, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Only in Nature could bright red and deep purple result in a pleasing color combination, but it definitely is a winner with this plant!

I'm glad to learn it is so easy to propagate from stem cuttings. I'll take some cuttings and spread it around in my butterfly/hummingbird garden.

Positive CJSORROW On Jun 26, 2004, CJSORROW from Macon, GA wrote:

My mom picked up a broken stem of this plant, took it home, and about a month later this thing is absolutly one of the most prolific plants that she has ever brought home. Unfortunatly here in Georgia, this plant is not readily available. My mom has taken to rooting and giving away offshoots of her "bat-faced" plant. I don't think we have ever had a plant that requires LESS work than this one.

Positive pauhana On May 19, 2004, pauhana from Mount Holly, NJ wrote:

I purchased this plant discounted late summer last year. I made several huge pots from propagating clippings and gave them all away but one small pot. These gifts brought happiness to the handicapped, elderly and myself and was easy to care for. Overwintering was unsuccessful for every plant I gave away. Death in my family caused me to allow my remaining pot to sadly dry out and die. I have been looking for this plant to purchase in NJ ever since. The garden center I purchased it from no longer carries it. If anyone knows where I can purchase one again I would be thrilled. I also will begin propagating immediately for more sharing!

Positive bayouposte On May 5, 2004, bayouposte from Bossier City, LA (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant always makes me smile. I love the cheerful colors as well as the "bat face" and always think of Paul Simon and "bat face girl" when I look at it.

Neutral bagpypr On Mar 8, 2004, bagpypr from Redlands, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Cuphea llavea (syn. C. x purpurea) is a native of the streambeds of the Mexican desert.

Neutral wnstarr On Jan 3, 2004, wnstarr from Puyallup, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Edgewood, Washington
Most definately a tender annual here. Does add bright color to mixed pots, but the blooms are rather small. Perhaps just too cool here for it to be at its best.

Positive jazmama On Oct 6, 2003, jazmama from Santa Cruz, CA wrote:

Amazing plant - the pride of my garden. It came out of a one gallon pot, went into clay soil amended with an organic compost mix, and after 2 seasons it is over 4' wide, 3' deep, and 2' tall. It's happy to be ignored, which is good because there are always so many bees around it that it can be difficult to work around. Other than that, it is an absolute joy. A wonderful eye-catcher!

Positive Cajun2 On Jul 30, 2003, Cajun2 from (Carole) Cleveland, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

When I first saw this plant, I HAD to HAVE it! I planted it in my front flowerbed in full sun and it hasn't quit blooming since! I absolutely adore it and will have it in my garden from now on! FANTASTIC!

Positive whoopinaggie On Jun 18, 2003, whoopinaggie from Richmond, TX wrote:

Wonderful plant that comes back year after year. It dies back in the winter and then comes back with a fury in the spring. It is constantly blooming until the first freeze (which in south east texas is about late december) and loves the weather down here. Very droughtand heat tolerant. I have it growing on the edge of the patio and it actually seems to prefer growing towards and on the cement even though we have many summer days of over 95 F!! I have never seen this plant wilt while many of the other drought tolerant plants do in the heat of the summer days. This plant is extremely easy to grow and you don't have to fuss with it. Cutting grow very easy and it is a nice conversation plant due to its strange flower shape. I must have plant in the hot, humid south!!!

Positive Marilyn1234 On Aug 28, 2002, Marilyn1234 wrote:

Great plant that blooms all summer. In my zone (6) it is an annual. I placed it on my deck in a planter and found that hummingbirds love it!

Positive mystic On Aug 22, 2002, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have really enjoyed having this in my garden this year.It has bloomed all summer and sure added color to my flower beds.

Positive darius On Jul 30, 2002, darius from So.App.Mtns.
United States (Zone 5b) wrote:

Easy to grow, but an annual in my zone 6b. Blooms profusely.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Alabaster, Alabama
Auburn, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Toney, Alabama
Mesa, Arizona
Tempe, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Benton, Arkansas
Arroyo Grande, California
Canoga Park, California
Carlsbad, California
Chico, California
Clayton, California
Fairfield, California
Fresno, California
Hayward, California
Hoopa, California
Huntington Beach, California
Long Beach, California
Los Angeles, California
North Fork, California
Oakland, California (2 reports)
Redding, California
Redlands, California
Sacramento, California
San Diego, California
San Jose, California
Santa Clara, California
Santa Cruz, California
Santa Rosa, California
Van Nuys, California
Boca Raton, Florida
Bonita Springs, Florida
Bradenton, Florida
Bradenton Beach, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Crawfordville, Florida
Estero, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fruitland Park, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)
Lakeland, Florida
Navarre, Florida
Niceville, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Orange Park, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida
Panama City, Florida
Pensacola, Florida (2 reports)
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Sanford, Florida
Valparaiso, Florida
Vero Beach, Florida
Wellborn, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Zephyrhills, Florida
Lawrenceville, Georgia
Sharpsburg, Georgia
Waycross, Georgia
Boise, Idaho
Belleville, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Indianapolis, Indiana
Hebron, Kentucky
Bossier City, Louisiana
New Iberia, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Slidell, Louisiana
Zachary, Louisiana
Elsberry, Missouri
Salem, Missouri
Mount Holly, New Jersey
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Elephant Butte, New Mexico
North Tonawanda, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Swansboro, North Carolina
Winnabow, North Carolina
Bixby, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma (2 reports)
Salem, Oregon
Gallitzin, Pennsylvania
Charleston, South Carolina
Ladys Island, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Swansea, South Carolina
Collierville, Tennessee
Alice, Texas
Allen, Texas
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas (3 reports)
Baytown, Texas
Beaumont, Texas
Boerne, Texas
Bryan, Texas
Canyon Lake, Texas
Copperas Cove, Texas
Dickinson, Texas
Elgin, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)
Friendswood, Texas
Galveston, Texas
Georgetown, Texas
Grand Prairie, Texas
Hawkins, Texas
Houston, Texas (7 reports)
Katy, Texas
La Vernia, Texas
Lake Jackson, Texas
Leander, Texas
Linden, Texas
Maud, Texas
Mc Kinney, Texas
New Caney, Texas
New Waverly, Texas
Oakhurst, Texas
Portland, Texas
Richmond, Texas
Round Rock, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Scroggins, Texas
Spring, Texas
Spring Branch, Texas
Tyler, Texas
Lexington, Virginia
Williamsburg, Virginia
Bellingham, Washington
Chimacum, Washington
Oroville, Washington
Puyallup, Washington
Pewaukee, Wisconsin

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