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Cuphea viscosissima, 5 seeds
What a cutie! Cuphea viscosissima is an extremely wonderful plant with a profusion of violet flowers produced from spring through fall. Hummingbirds, my neighbour's kids, and passerbys are always attracted to it. To some folks, these adorable blooms like look bunnies; to others, they look like little mice; and to some with wilder imagination, they look like bat faces. And we are talking about gazillions of them on one plant, sometimes so much so that the wonderful shape of each bloom is overshadowed by the fury masses of the blooms. And how precious each flower is! With a long narrow maroon tube, 6 separate petals encircle the end of the tube with the two at the top slightly bigger than the rest (hence giving the impression of bunny ears). The 2 "ears" are also blotched in black, giving yet another touch of contrast. Incredibly, it is one easy-to-grow plant. Heat tolerant, drought-tolerant, and even self-cleaning (no need to deadhead). When the flower ages, the petals fall off individually, leaving the purple tube behind and at that point, it becomes an Iochroma look-alike, :-). The tube eventually falls off on its own too, and then a new bud will come to replace it. If you are ever so lucky that the hummingbirds manage to pollinate the blooms, the tube will swell (rather than fall off) as the seed pod develops within it. Once ready, the swollen tube will split, revealing seeds. If you have tried Cupheas before and are not too impressed with the usual huge plants that have small flowers, this one will change your own opinion as it is just the opposite -- small plant with large flowers that are more an inch wide, :-). 2 feet tall and wide. Full sun. Well-drained soil. Some websites indicate that this has sticky foliage, but I do not feel so, only the stems and flowers feel sticky to me. Thanks to Rolando of BA, Argentina for helping to identify it! Fresh seeds, harvested 10/2017.
Our website for actively-growing plants and cuttings (eclecticplants.ecrater.com) is now re-opened starting 6/2/2014. Cuttings of some Cuphea species are available there.