Written by Ivy
Jan 12 2023
The Bat Face Cuphea has thick, vivid green foliage that makes the ideal backdrop for the profusion of vibrant, nectar-rich flowers that draw hummingbirds and butterflies. Bat face cuphea matures at a height between 18 and 24 inches (45 and 60 cm).) with a spread of 12 to 18 inches (30-45 cm.).
If you're new to the world of cuphea llavea, we'll explain what it is, provide instructions on how to care for it, and offer suggestions on how to incorporate it into your garden!
When grown as a perennial, this quick-growing sub-shrub can grow as high as 2 ½' feet, but it usually only gets as high as 12 to 18 inches when grown as an annual.
The rounded, bushy habit features stems crowded with thick dark green evergreen leaves grow up to 3" inches long. This plant has thick, hairy, and rough-textured ovate leaves.
Bat-faced cuphea produces clusters of tubular flowers starting in late spring and continuing until the first frost. Purple, white, and red are the traditional hues of blooms.
The variety of colors that are now available has been significantly increased by newer cultivars. In each instance, a wide variety of pollinators are drawn in by the scent.
The common name is derived from the 1" inch hairy purple calyx extending upwards from each flower, adorned with two upwards facing petals.
Four petal remnants below create a face to go with the developed petal "ears". The lower leaves of a few cultivars are fully developed.
Deadheading is not necessary to maintain the bloom time display of this plant because it produces continuous blooms throughout the season.
The small, brown, lentil-shaped seeds can be discovered at the base of withered flowers.
In most climates, the cuphea llavea must be grown in full sun in order to achieve its distinctive red and purple hues. The ideal location for your Caphea should receive at least 2 to 6 hours of bright light each day, with 6 being the ideal amount. If you live in an extremely hot, desert-like climate, however, you should plant it where it will get some partial shade to keep it from getting too hot.
If you are growing the plant indoors, you must ensure that it is placed in a window area that receives as much sun as possible, preferably all day, such as a South-facing window. This will enable the plant to grow to its full potential. They can also be grown close to windows that face west or east, which get bright light for a good portion of the day. As they receive the least amount of light, we advise against growing close to windows that face north.
This plant does best in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11, remaining evergreen in temperatures just below 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, it is best to grow cuphea in indoor-overwintering containers in colder climates.
The plant will stay healthy during overwintering at a temperature of about 60 degrees Fahrenheit and with less watering.
Although it can tolerate drought, cuphea thrives in soil that is consistently moist.
Water your desert plants sparingly for a healthier plant. This plant is susceptible to root rot, so be careful not to overwater it.
Bat faces in gardens can either receive a springtime dose of slow-release granular plant food or monthly feedings of an all-purpose liquid fertilizer. Monthly feedings are advised for container plants.
While not particular about the acidity, bat face requires a soil that drains well. The best mixture is typically one that is light and compost-rich.
The roots may survive when temperatures drop below what the foliage can withstand but remain above 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant might still survive if you heavily mulch the soil.
Cuphea is quickly and easily transplanted. Simply insert the root ball into a hole that is the same size as the plant's previous container.
When transplanting seedlings outdoors, make sure they are spaced 24″ to 36" inches apart so they have room to grow.
Although a small amount of pruning in the late winter will allow for some shaping, St. Peter's plant requires little maintenance.
When the plant starts to become too leggy, you can also pinch or prune it.
The bat-faced cuphea requires little maintenance.
If plants become too leggy, you can do some light tip pruning or pinching. Additionally, you might want to give the plant a late-winter shape-up by trimming it into a pleasing shape.
The flowers on this plant don't need to be deadheaded.Cutting and pruning are actually advised because Cuphea llavea responds well to these practices. Pinch the stem tips of the plant when it is about eight or ten inches tall. Regular pinching and pruning will encourage the plant to grow more compactly and bushily, adding beauty to your landscape.
This plant can easily be grown from seeds. As flowers start to fade, just gather and dry the seeds.
When the threat of frost has passed, these can either be planted directly or germinated 10 to 12 weeks before the anticipated final frost.
In both situations, scatter the seeds on top of the soil and cover them with a thin layer of milled peat to provide protection without obstructing their exposure to sunlight.
Never bury cuphea seeds. At 70 degrees Fahrenheit, germination typically takes 7 to 10 days.
Cutting softwood is another simple method of propagation. These cuttings should be 4″ to 6" inches long and taken from a healthy plant. Trim the lower leaves off the cuttings before dipping them in root hormone.
Place the plants in pots with an all-purpose soil blend after that, and place the pots in a secure area with bright, indirect light until the new roots start to take hold.
As a third method of propagation, you could decide to divide large plants.
Although the bat-faced cuphea can tolerate heat and drought, it may need some partial shade on particularly hot days in arid areas. When in doubt, it might be best to underwater because, on the other hand, excessive watering can cause root rot.
Although the plant is resistant to deer, aphid, mealybug, and whitefly infestations are possible. Additionally, it draws pollinators, so those who are allergic to bees may want to use caution when enjoying this plant.
The nectar-rich flowers of this cuphea are one of its best qualities.
In addition to being the ideal finishing touch for paths and borders, their sweet scent also draws hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees for an even more spectacular display. Along with perennial flowerbeds, they also work well.
Choose some attractive urns or pots to use as container plants for a garden accent that can be brought inside to stay warm during the winter.
They look great on patios and will adapt to hanging baskets and flower boxes for increased line-of-sight enjoyment.
The Bat Face Cuphea is a moderate grower in terms of size and growth, making things easier for any plant enthusiast.
What does this actually mean for your Bat Face Cuphea, though? What size pot should you think about getting, how tall and wide can it be? Let's jump in…
The Cuphea Llavea can grow up to 1′ – 3′ (30cm – 90cm) in 1′ – 3′ (30cm – 90cm) and 2′ – 3′ (60cm – 90cm) in 2′ – 3′ (60cm – 90cm). When compared to other shrubs, the Bat Face Cuphea is a relatively medium shrub, so it's best to keep this in mind when deciding where to place yours at home.
This is why it's advised to leave a space of roughly 24" x 36" (60 cm x 90 cm) clear so that the Bat Face Cuphea can spread as much as possible.
For best results, provide plants with:
You can leave your cuphea llavea outside with an additional layer of mulch to overwinter the plant if you reside in a region that is rated an eight or nine on the USDA Hardiness Climate Scale. Otherwise, you can bring the plant inside where you can keep it in a climate that is around 60 degrees and use less water. Both of these approaches ought to keep your cuphea llavea healthy throughout the winter.