Cigar Plant

Cuphea melvillea

Family: Lythraceae (ly-THRAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cuphea (KYOO-fee-uh) (Info)
Species: melvillea (mel-VIL-ee-uh) (Info)



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

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



Bloom Color:


Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Mid Fall



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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 woody stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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


Arroyo Grande, California

Carlsbad, California

Sacramento, California

Bonita Springs, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Lake Mary, Florida

Lecanto, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

Palm Coast, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Sebring, Florida

Titusville, Florida

Umatilla, Florida

Wellborn, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Yulee, Florida

Douglas, Georgia

Chicago, Illinois

Tuscola, Illinois

Slidell, Louisiana

Harrison Township, Michigan

Moss Point, Mississippi

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Camden, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Alice, Texas

Austin, Texas

Copperas Cove, Texas

Elgin, Texas

Humble, Texas

La Porte, Texas

Port Lavaca, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 11, 2006, erikagreenthumb from Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I live next door to my mom, near the coast of Central California, and have had great luck with Cigar Plants, once we found the best locations for them. We did have to do some moving around, but found they like the east side of our property, as well as, our southern exposure middle garden. We bought 3 or 4 from a local nursery, but now have around 8, thanks to my mom's penchant for sticking any broken branches into a nearby pot to reroot. We never did anything special, just watered them until they got about 18" tall, and planted them. They do grow quickly and have to be pruned, but we go for a more "naturalized" look in our garden, so it's not a big deal. The hummingbirds love them and my cats enjoy chirping at them when they're feeding near the windows! We don't get any butterflies on them... read more


On May 10, 2006, ElysianFields from Arcadia, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

I have had this plant in a bed in front of the house for several years. It seems fairly indestructible and although I love it, I had no idea that it would grow as tall as it does and I am constantly pruning it back to keep it below the hibiscus behind it. I originally got this at a nursery that went out of business after Hurricane Charley and would love to be able to find more of it so I could plant it in different locations.


On Apr 18, 2006, kingc from New Port Richey, FL wrote:

I had this plant at previous house It was wonderful. It was always in bloom, loads of buterflies, skippers and best of all hummers throughout the day. It was in dappled sun at best under oak trees, and watered once a week. Once a year needed spraying because of the tiny blue-green beetles. Now at the new house I hoped for the same beauty. They now share a bed with a Chaste plant and get sun all day, The tips are burning, same beetles but more often, leaves curled, old wood looks caloused with knots all over splitting open. They do not look healthy at all. No books I have found or garden centers can explain it.


On Mar 19, 2005, bugraooo from Port Saint Lucie, FL wrote:

My cuphea is growing in a pot. It can dry out very quickly. After missing a couple of days or water, it was almost dead. I pruned it severly and now make sure the pot is always in a saucer of water. Apparently, root rot is not a problem for this plant. It has come back beautifully.


On Sep 15, 2003, forsythe wrote:

This plant grows here in Hong Kong very well; its local name "Cigar Flower" is "Xue Jia Hua" in Mandarin

We've just planted a whole lot in our garden and it's doing fine.
Peter Forsythe
Hong Kong


On Aug 23, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, TX

I have a 'David Verity' (I think - some sources state that it is an ignea, can not find the species name)cigar plant growing in a xeriscaped section of my yard. It requires more water than the Esperanza, Oleander, Lantana, Salvia, Betony and other plants. It blooms continually from late spring/early summer until the first frost. The foliage is a deep green which sets off the vibrant orange flowers that are off white colored at the ends and purple at the very tip.

Although the flowers are small and delicate looking, there are so many of them that they make a nice showing. They freeze to the ground, but resprout faithfully in the spring and grow quickly. I never have to prune it to keep it blooming. It attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.


On Sep 23, 2002, hummer_nut from Montgomery, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have this plant and it has survived with temps in the low teens, zone 7. Only blooms in the fall for me. Great for late or wintering hummers.


On Jan 8, 2002, Floridian from Lutz, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Cuphea melvillea is one of the largest Cupheas in plant and flower size. It will grow to about 5 tall and wide in the first year. It needs full sun or partial shade. An attractive shrub, it is a favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds. Prune plants to encourage a strong woody base that stands up to strong winds. Prune 2-4 times a year for sturdier, flowering plants. Considered a tropical, it can take temperatures as low as 20F with good mulch.