Are You Ready to Rumba?

June 11, 2008 | By | Comments (0)

Cuphea_100
Every year, the Grump searches for a new flower he’s never tried before, certain that it will disappoint him as so many hundreds of them have done before

Thus, it is quite astonishing to discover a flower that will literally set the gardening world on its ear. It’s called bat-face cuphea (Cuphea llavea). Not to be confused with bat-faced coffee, it gets its name from its unusual flowers that some people think look like the face of a bat or George Stephanopoulus.

Nonstop Blooms
What’s cool about this flower is that it blooms nonstop and really loves the heat. It forms a mound about 18 inches tall and wide and while you can plant it in the ground, I think it’s fantastic in containers, window boxes, and hanging baskets. It’s perennial in the Tropical South and an annual everywhere else.

Thanks to the people who put out the Proven Winners plants, we now have the improved Flamenco Series that blooms from spring to fall with no deadheading. Selections include:

‘Rumba’ – bright red flowers with purple faces (shown here on my deck)
‘Samba’ – deep red flowers with purple faces
‘Cha Cha’ – bright purple flowers with deeper purple faces
‘Tango’ – large pink flowers with white-and-purple faces

Everyone I know who’s tried these plants loves them. Hummingbirds do too. Give them full sun and moist soil. You can find the Flamenco series at Home Depot and many local garden centers. To find a location near you, go to www.provenwinners.com.

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