Cuphea Species, Bat-Face Cuphea, Bunny Ears, St. Peter's Plant, Tiny Mice

Cuphea llavea

Family: Lythraceae (ly-THRAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cuphea (KYOO-fee-uh) (Info)
Species: llavea (LAH-vay-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Cuphea barbigera
Synonym:Parsonia llavea
View this plant in a garden



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Dark Purple/Black

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Alabaster, Alabama

Auburn, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Toney, Alabama

Mesa, Arizona

Tempe, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Benton, Arkansas

Arroyo Grande, California

Canoga Park, California

Carlsbad, California

Chico, California

Clayton, California

Fairfield, California

Fresno, California

HOOPA, California

Hayward, California

Huntington Beach, California

Long Beach, California(2 reports)

Los Angeles, California

NORTH FORK, California

Oakland, California(2 reports)

Redding, California

Redlands, California

Sacramento, California

San Diego, California

San Jose, California

Santa Clara, California

Santa Cruz, California

Santa Rosa, California

Van Nuys, California

Boca Raton, Florida(2 reports)

Bonita Springs, Florida

Bradenton, Florida

Bradenton Beach, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Clearwater, Florida

Crawfordville, Florida

Estero, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fruitland Park, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida(2 reports)

Lakeland, Florida

Navarre, Florida

Niceville, Florida

Ocala, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Orange Park, Florida

Palm Coast, Florida

Panama City, Florida

Pensacola, Florida(2 reports)

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Sanford, Florida

Valparaiso, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

Wellborn, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Lawrenceville, Georgia

Sharpsburg, Georgia

Waycross, Georgia

Boise, Idaho

Belleville, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Glendale Heights, Illinois

Indianapolis, Indiana

Hebron, Kentucky

Bossier City, Louisiana

New Iberia, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Slidell, Louisiana

Zachary, Louisiana

Elsberry, Missouri

Salem, Missouri

Mount Holly, New Jersey

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Elephant Butte, New Mexico

North Tonawanda, New York

Water Mill, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Swansboro, North Carolina

Winnabow, North Carolina

Bixby, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Tulsa, Oklahoma(2 reports)

Salem, Oregon

Gallitzin, Pennsylvania

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Charleston, South Carolina

Ladys Island, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

Swansea, South Carolina

Collierville, Tennessee

Alice, Texas

Allen, Texas

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas(3 reports)

Baytown, Texas

Beaumont, Texas

Boerne, Texas

Bryan, Texas

Canyon Lake, Texas

Copperas Cove, Texas

Dickinson, Texas

Elgin, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas(2 reports)

Friendswood, Texas

Galveston, Texas

Georgetown, Texas

Grand Prairie, Texas

Hawkins, Texas

Houston, Texas(7 reports)

Katy, Texas

La Vernia, Texas

Lake Jackson, Texas

Leander, Texas

Linden, Texas

Maud, Texas

Mc Kinney, Texas

New Caney, Texas

New Waverly, Texas

Oakhurst, Texas

Plano, Texas

Portland, Texas

Richmond, Texas

Round Rock, Texas

San Antonio, Texas(3 reports)

Scroggins, Texas

Spring, Texas

Spring Branch, Texas

Tyler, Texas

Lexington, Virginia

Williamsburg, Virginia

Bellingham, Washington

CHIMACUM, Washington

Oroville, Washington

Puyallup, Washington

Pewaukee, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 11, 2021, hamptons from Watermill, NY wrote:

I had heard of this plant but never saw it until the end of last summer. My local garden center had a small pot of it. I bought it along with some other plants, not knowing where I would put it. After I finished my planting I had this cuphea and white gold lantana leftover so put them in a pot and I have to say the color combination is very good. Dark brown planter, red & purple and white & gold. A real eye catcher.

I wish they sold these earlier in the year but in my area there seems to be a rigid sell heat loving plants in late summer only I mean, come on. They have greenhouses and there are parts of the country where they can plant these things much earlier in the year, then ship em up here in June, when its warm enough and it has time to spread and grow.

... read more


On Aug 20, 2019, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

I bought a potted plant in May 2019 from a large, diverse, conventional nursery with a greenhouse in southeast Pennsylvania. I never saw this species before. It is a broadleaf evergreen sub-shrub in its native Mexico that gets about 2.5 feet high and around 4 feet wide as it can in a large pot being used as an annual. It is sort of straggly in habit. I'll see about bringing it inside the house for winter into a cool, sunny room where I expect it to survive well and rebloom the next spring when I put it outside again. I did not experience any problems on it.


On Mar 3, 2018, CCPikie from Elmhurst, IL wrote:

Northeast Illinois, Zone 5. I've grown Cuphea llavea for several years in a hanging flowerpot. The hummingbirds like it. I've had difficulty rooting cuttings and germinating seed. Cuttings wilt without high humidity but they mold with it, even when careful to sterilize everything. Seeds sprout but tend to damp off indoors, best to sow outdoors. Worth the trouble, though.


On May 15, 2015, santamiller from San Antonio, TX wrote:

If I could only pick one flowering plant to have in my yard this would be it. It is the first thing to start blooming and the last thing to stop blooming each year. The dozens of continuous flowers are realty stunning. It will be the focal point to anyone passing by.


On Jul 19, 2013, SarahGrace from Long Beach, CA wrote:

This is a good news/bad news plant. The flowers are so pretty and cheerful and the plant is easy to grow. However, it is aggressive - I wouldn't call it invasive -- yet. I pulled it up from a small flower bed where it had completely taken over. I replanted it in a neighbor's yard (yes, she lets me) and, now, little sprouts are coming up everywhere-- my yard, her yard, three doors down. I yank the ones I don't want and nurture the ones in the right spots. Next season may tell me if this is a beauty or a beast.


On May 5, 2013, weedlaw from Bellingham, WA wrote:

Bellingham Washington Z 7-ish
Great plant for mixed containers, bat-like "faces" peek out of mixed planting all summer. QUESTION: every year I see what looks like some sort of blister mite damage on leaves; have been told this is characteristic of plant and NOT insect damage. Anyone know?


On Feb 11, 2013, hymenocallis from Auburn, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

I acquired one from Amazon last may and planted it in a large planter, by summer it had filled that planter and had bloomed from day one outside. I didn't know much about this plant but I have 8 hrs of sun and it loves it. Brought it into the greenhouse in Dec. and it seems to be about to start blooming again as it has put on all new growth. Apparently I can plant it in the ground as it survived 20 plus days of 100 + temperatures last summer and didn't flinch. AN absolutely stunning plant that everyone notices!! Easy to grow.


On Oct 14, 2012, ffshoe from Bixby, OK (Zone 6b) wrote:

I love this plant! It was new for me this year. I planted it on the west side of my house, no shade at all. It not only survived but THRIVED. We had some of our hottest days this summer here in Tulsa, Oklahoma and made national news because of the heat. I cut it back a couple of times because it was so huge and coming on to the walk. I didn 't want it to get stepped on. I cut it back and it bushed out more. I don't think it is a perinneal in my zone but if we have another mild winter like we have had the past couple of years it might make it! I just loved it!!!! I'll try to get a photo to share.
As a Tulsa Master Gardener I highly recommend this plant for our area.


On Mar 1, 2012, GreenhouseGin from Boise City, ID wrote:

I have had this plant growing in a hanging pot for about 15 years now. I move it out of my greenhouse as soon as weather permits (usually May) and then back in for the winter (usually October). Its outdoor place is hot & sunny and it gets watered daily via an automatic drip system. The only insect problems it has had are aphids (easy to fix). I cut it back twice a year (Oct & March). It blooms the entire summer, is absolutely stunning and attracts hummingbirds like crazy!


On Dec 8, 2011, Sandwichkatexan from Copperas Cove, TX wrote:

Grows like a weed in all my flowerbeds . A welcome weed however . The deer tend to eat this to the ground and it just pops right back up . Last winter killed a lot of them but the ones that survived were still green until yesterdays frost . I know they will be right back in spring however . For me they self sow not readily but they have grown and popped up in places no where near where they were originally planted . An added bonus is they attract hummingbirds , and because they do not grow very tall you can see the hummingbirds from above if you are standing up and see their beautiful plumage . In my humble opinion a great plant to fill in those spots left after our southern bulbs foliage has died off , and a great flowerbed anywhere filler .


On Nov 21, 2011, zazusmom from Huntington Beach, CA wrote:

I've had this plant in the front of a border next to the driveway, in full, hot sun. Striking color and very healthy. I've past on several cuttings and finally had to label it for folks who "need" to know what it is! Wonderful addition to the water-wise renovation of our front landscape.


On Nov 21, 2011, Anniesfollies from Carlsbad, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

Saw these this summer for the first time and fell in love. I have Bat-Face with red flowers and Tiny Mice with orange. Have them planted in the front yard for spots of color and for the hummers, butterflies and bees, and boy do they bloom with no deadheading needed! The one in partial shade did get a bit leggy and start falling over, but a pruning took care of that. I've always had red pentas where these are, but their colors are not as vivid, they did better with regular deadheading, and most needed replacing yearly, so off they went into the background with some protection. Glad to read that cuphea propagate well and am going to try some this week and plant them all over the backyard, too. Will be interesting to see how they look and if they bloom over the winter with nights in th... read more


On May 31, 2011, phyla from Austin, TX wrote:

Does anyone know if deer will eat or nibble this cuphea?


On Aug 6, 2010, Goingcoastal from San Diego, CA wrote:

This plant is very resilient--you can cut it back if it gets leggy or sat upon by the family dog and it 'll come right back. It thrives at NW corner bed of our house, where it can take the shade of winter or sun all afternoon in the summer. It's a cheap filler plant, because after 1 1/2 years it has spawned many baby plants around it that I'm giving away or planting elsewhere.

It looks really good grouped with red impatiens of the same hue.


On Aug 2, 2010, TraditionsPlant from Linden, TX wrote:

I bought this plant for the first time this summer to sell at my nursery. I have one in the ground, one in a large container on the patio, and one in a hanging basket. Several times a day hummingbirds come and feast at the one on the patio, and then fly across the yard to the one in the ground and then to the one in the hanging basket. Of course the ones in the container and the basket need regular watering, but the one in the ground tolerates the heat and drought very well. I love this plant!


On Jun 8, 2010, dmommylady from Sanford, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I discovered this plant at a nursery while visiting in Chattanooga. Had to buy several to bring home. Very leggy due to cramped quarters there, but I have cut it back drastically and the hairy stems are rooting with ease. I will add the purchased potted plants in a new bed and still have plenty to share!


On Apr 3, 2010, stevesivek from Seabrook, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

The abnormally cold winter this year froze it to the ground. With the first sign of spring new growth has appeared in abundance. This low growing shrub will constantly put on so many blooms that it is the first thing in the garden that catches most people's eye. Color of the bloom is much more intense than that captured by most photographs. PLANTING IN FULL SUN IS A MUST! Too much shade and the plant will look fine for awhile then slowly deteriorate until it dies.


On Jan 14, 2010, chuck7701 from McKinney, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

One of my favorite carefree plants, blooms profusely if in full sun. Pest free, bees love it. Not fond of soil drying out completely though. In my area I treat it as an annual, have not tried to overwinter in the ground or inside.

Harvest seeds from the blooms that stay on the bush for several days after flowering. Generally they hang down, and look for a bulge or split at the base of the bloom. Catch them in time or they scatter the seed. Blooms that fall off right after blooming are usually void of seeds.


On Nov 9, 2009, leiannec from Oakland, CA wrote:

This bright flowered plant has been covered with one inch flowers from may to november. I have hot pink and scarlet versions, they are great, compact growth covered in blooms, it just keeps going.


On Aug 12, 2009, CherokeeGreg from Fresno, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

A great plant the bees love it. I like the colors. It does great here in Fresno,CA


On Apr 21, 2008, grovespirit from Sunset Valley, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

In my area (Zone 11 suburban), this plant was a real pain for me to grow.

I agree that it is gorgeous when blooming, but in my location it just wasn't worth all the effort. I had an easier time growing orchids than I did growing this!

This plant was prone to numerous insect pests, and needed water every single non-rainy day too. Even when it was pest free.

It never attracted a single hummingbird or honeycreeper, either.

I am not sure if the problem was that it dislikes being grown in a 4 gallon pot, and needs to be in the ground... I don't have ground to plant in here, just a paved condominium patio.

I took it to a swap meet and traded it in for an orchid. I don't regret my decision.


On May 6, 2007, hairball from Gallitzin, PA wrote:

I noticed that PA is not listed for this plant. I live in Central PA and bought this plant last year for the first time. I had it in a planter on my deck and the hummingbirds absolutely "loved it". It flowered continueously all summer. The nursery I purchased it from no longer carries it and I've been unable to find it anywhere. It did not winter over.


On Aug 21, 2006, siobhan7 from Gainesville, FL wrote:

I found this in a local nursery and fell in love. Even though I really don't have the room so late in the summer, I had to go back and buy it. It was pretty dry, but a good dousing has perked it right up. My local hummingbirds are ecstatic. I am a little worried about the forthcoming hummer smackdowns over this plant, though!


On Apr 3, 2006, penpen from North Tonawanda, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I purchased a small plant last year over Memorial week end when we were down in Indiana. It grew and bloomed all summer. I brought it in in the fall but got too spindly inside with limited light. I also collected seed from my plant. Seeds were very easy to germinate. Hummers loved it last summer. Hoping to have it to bloom size this year. As they aren't available for sale here in upstate NY


On Oct 16, 2005, corgimom from Pontotoc, MS (Zone 7b) wrote:

I gave this plant a try simply because of its name and planted it next to the daylily " Batman". I was amazed at its vigor all summer as we had very sporadic rainfall. It grew over onto the gravel pathway and seemed to love it. I will try propagating it for the master gardeners.


On Oct 2, 2005, pjpatter from Leon, KS wrote:

Last fall I cut my bat-face back and set the pot in our garage that never gets below freezing in the winter. To my surprise, it had some very spindly growth on it by early spring. I started watering it and later set the pot outdoors when the weather warmed up. Very large specimen this year since it already had a nice root system. Worth a try to overwinter in the northern zones. I plan to see if I can do it 2 years in a row.


On Jul 8, 2005, poohrona from Maud, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant is stunning. By far one of my favorites. I only bought it because it looked unique at a discount store and I am so pleased. Looking forward to planting more from seed I get off of it.


On Jun 27, 2005, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Also works well in hanging baskets....unique touch of color.


On Jun 27, 2005, Enigel from Pensacola, FL wrote:

Wonderful plant, but it seems to mind being... planted! Last year (in May) I bought it in a one gallon pot, I planted it in carefully prepared soil, in filtered light and... it died! Since I'm very much into giving plants a second (and third...) chance, I did not pull it out of the ground. After a couple of weeks it came back with a vengeance and now it is one of the most beautiful plants in my garden. Therefore, a couple of weeks ago I could not resist buying another one gallon pot. I did the same thing as last year and, guess what, this second plant also died! This morning I noticed some tiny-tiny green leaves on the dead body, so I guess the same thing is happening again. The moral of my story is - no matter what, do not pull it out! It will come back and make you very happy with its be... read more


On Apr 21, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Only in Nature could bright red and deep purple result in a pleasing color combination, but it definitely is a winner with this plant!

I'm glad to learn it is so easy to propagate from stem cuttings. I'll take some cuttings and spread it around in my butterfly/hummingbird garden.


On Jun 26, 2004, CJSORROW from Macon, GA wrote:

My mom picked up a broken stem of this plant, took it home, and about a month later this thing is absolutly one of the most prolific plants that she has ever brought home. Unfortunatly here in Georgia, this plant is not readily available. My mom has taken to rooting and giving away offshoots of her "bat-faced" plant. I don't think we have ever had a plant that requires LESS work than this one.


On May 19, 2004, pauhana from Mount Holly, NJ wrote:

I purchased this plant discounted late summer last year. I made several huge pots from propagating clippings and gave them all away but one small pot. These gifts brought happiness to the handicapped, elderly and myself and was easy to care for. Overwintering was unsuccessful for every plant I gave away. Death in my family caused me to allow my remaining pot to sadly dry out and die. I have been looking for this plant to purchase in NJ ever since. The garden center I purchased it from no longer carries it. If anyone knows where I can purchase one again I would be thrilled. I also will begin propagating immediately for more sharing!


On May 5, 2004, bayouposte from Bossier City, LA (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant always makes me smile. I love the cheerful colors as well as the "bat face" and always think of Paul Simon and "bat face girl" when I look at it.


On Mar 8, 2004, bagpypr from Redlands, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Cuphea llavea (syn. C. x purpurea) is a native of the streambeds of the Mexican desert.


On Jan 3, 2004, wnstarr from Puyallup, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Edgewood, Washington
Most definately a tender annual here. Does add bright color to mixed pots, but the blooms are rather small. Perhaps just too cool here for it to be at its best.


On Oct 6, 2003, jazmama from Santa Cruz, CA wrote:

Amazing plant - the pride of my garden. It came out of a one gallon pot, went into clay soil amended with an organic compost mix, and after 2 seasons it is over 4' wide, 3' deep, and 2' tall. It's happy to be ignored, which is good because there are always so many bees around it that it can be difficult to work around. Other than that, it is an absolute joy. A wonderful eye-catcher!


On Jul 30, 2003, Cajun2 from (Carole) Cleveland, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

When I first saw this plant, I HAD to HAVE it! I planted it in my front flowerbed in full sun and it hasn't quit blooming since! I absolutely adore it and will have it in my garden from now on! FANTASTIC!


On Jun 18, 2003, whoopinaggie from Richmond, TX wrote:

Wonderful plant that comes back year after year. It dies back in the winter and then comes back with a fury in the spring. It is constantly blooming until the first freeze (which in south east texas is about late december) and loves the weather down here. Very droughtand heat tolerant. I have it growing on the edge of the patio and it actually seems to prefer growing towards and on the cement even though we have many summer days of over 95 F!! I have never seen this plant wilt while many of the other drought tolerant plants do in the heat of the summer days. This plant is extremely easy to grow and you don't have to fuss with it. Cutting grow very easy and it is a nice conversation plant due to its strange flower shape. I must have plant in the hot, humid south!!!


On Aug 28, 2002, Marilyn1234 wrote:

Great plant that blooms all summer. In my zone (6) it is an annual. I placed it on my deck in a planter and found that hummingbirds love it!


On Aug 22, 2002, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have really enjoyed having this in my garden this year.It has bloomed all summer and sure added color to my flower beds.


On Jul 30, 2002, darius from So.App.Mtns.,
United States (Zone 5b) wrote:

Easy to grow, but an annual in my zone 6b. Blooms profusely.