Mexican heather–Cuphea hyssopifolia–is a small bushy perennial that bears short racemes of light pink-purple, pink, or white flowers atop downy stems covered with narrowly lance-shaped mid to dark green leave to 1-inch long. Mexican heather is a good choice for containers or the front of beds and borders.
Cuphea hyssopifolia belongs to the Cuphea genus which includes about 250 annuals and short-lived perennials. All have tubular flowers either singly or in clusters; most have ovate to lance-shaped leave covered with sticky hairs. Another well-known Cuphea is Cuphea ignea also known as the cigar flower.
See also Cuphea ignea.
Get to Know Mexican Heather
- Plant type: Evergreen perennial is sometimes grown as an annual
- Growing Zones and range: Perennial in Zones 10-11; grown as an annual in other zones
- Hardiness: Tender, the foliage will be burnt by frost
- Height and width: Up to 24 inches (61cm) tall and wide
- Flowers: Tubular flowers are pink, purple, white, orange, and red
- Bloom time: Summer through fall
- Uses: Shrubby perennial where hardy; use in beds, borders, and containers.
- Common name: Mexican heather, elfin herb, Hawaiian heather
- Botanical name: Cuphea hyssopifolia
- Family: Lythraceae
- Origin: North, Central and South America
Where to Plant Mexican Heather
- Plant Mexican heather in full sun in Zones 2-7; partial shade in Zones 8-11.
- Mexican heather grows best in humus-rich, moist, well-drained soil. Do not let the soil dry out.
When to Plant Mexican Heather
- Set Mexican heather seedlings in the garden after all danger of frost has passed in spring.
Planting and Spacing Mexican Heather
- Space Mexican heather 2 feet apart.
How to Water and Feed Mexican Heather
- Keep the soil evenly moist when growing Mexican heather.
- Fertilize Mexican heather every 4 weeks with an all-purpose fertilizer.
- Mexican heather can be attacked by whiteflies, aphids, and powdery mildew.
Mexican Heather Care
- Pinch away growing tips at planting time to keep Mexican heather bushy.
Mexican Heather Varieties to Grow
- C. hyssopifolis is evergreen.
- C. ignea is called the cigar plant, firecracker plant. Slender stems.