Cuphea: characteristics, cultivation and care
The Cuphea is an ornamental plant that is characterized by its bushy habit, bearing a multitude of little flowers. It is therefore perfect for decorating flowerbeds, gardens or simple balconies, enriching these spaces with pleasant and warm colors.
Characteristics of the plant
The Cuphea is a typically rounded plant and is considered Mediterranean, despite its origin from South America: it is easy to guess why Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras are its warm countries of origin. There are many varieties of Cuphea, some of which are real bonsai whose height does not exceed 30 cm.
The Cuphea presents thin and branched stems, punctuated with long and lanceolate leaves with a characteristic dark green color or, in some varieties, bluish-green.
The rather durable inflorescences bloom in summer and are presented with clusters of beautiful tubular flowers, whose corolla can be white, red, lilac or pink.
The Cuphea is a plant as beautiful as it is easy to grow, requiring little care. It prefers the sun and the environments rich in light, given its origins: for this reason, however, the soil tends to dry too quickly and it is good to water the plant very frequently, especially if it is potted, to ensure blooms always beautiful and lush ( the irrigations must instead be drastically reduced in winter).
When the temperature is stiffer, it is recommended to repair the plant by bringing it, if in pot, inside.
The Cuphea plant requires a soil rich in organic substances, especially well drained to avoid water stagnations that can jeopardize the life of the plant itself. The soil must be integrated once a month with liquid fertilizer to be diluted in the water used to water the plant.
Generous pruning is recommended in the period immediately after flowering or generally in March, to allow the birth of new shoots.
Finally it is important to repot the plant: if the Cuphea is young, it is necessary to do it every year in always large pots; if instead it is a more adult plant, it is sufficient to provide it every 3 years.
The Cuphea suffers from fungal diseases, caused by a too humid environment
surrounding the plant: use cotton swabs soaked in a solution of Marseille soap and water and clean the affected areas (the same method of removal can be put in place in case of attack of aphids). Excessive watering instead creates a stagnant water due to a lethal root rot.