(Kristen's Delightful Cigar Plant) Hummingbirds and butterflies love Cupheas. Kristen's Delightful Cigar Plant is a spectacularly colorful hybrid that is also a magnet for gardeners who love the pastels and abundance of its bicolor flowers.
Kristen's blossoms and those of many Cupheas are likened to cigars due to their cylindrical shape, bright coloring and fringed openings that end in a lighter color -- such as Kristen's white tips -- giving the flower an ashy look. However, this plant also bears similarities to "bat-face" Cupheas, due to tiny lavender petals that emerge from the tips and look like ears.
San Francisco's Strybing Arboretum notes that the floral structure of a Cuphea often is referred to as a calyx flower, because its calyx and flower are one rather than being separate.
Lance-shaped, blue-green leaves cover the slender stems of this Cuphea, which has both woody and soft herbaceous growth. Overall there are 260 species of Cupheas and most are native to Mexico, South America, the Caribbean and parts of the American South.
Kristen's Delightful Cigar Plant is long blooming in moderate climates where it grows well in full sun to partial shade. In areas with cooler winters, it works well as a houseplant or seasonal bedding choice.
Outdoors, this heat-tolerant plant is a fine edging or container choice as well as groundcover. Although it thrives with average watering based on local conditions, this is a water-loving Cuphea and can serve as a solution in moist areas of your yard.
(Blue Boa Hummingbird Mint) Luxurious deep violet-blue flower spikes held over ultra-green foliage. Unlike any other Agastache varieties, the flower spikes are long, wide and extremely showy.
A great perennial color spot for summer bloom and it is drought tolerant once established. Hummingbirds as well as butterflies are attracted to this plant. It won the "Too Good to Wait Performer" award at the 2013 Colorado State Perennial Trials.
(Salvador Cuphea) Closely related to but distinct from Cuphea oreophylla, this rare species has small flowers in great profusion. A spreading shrubby grower, it excells in containers where it can be enjoyed close up.
San Francisco's Strybing Arboretum notes that the floral structure of a Cuphea often is referred to as a calyx flower, because calyx and flower are one rather than being separate.
This heat-tolerant Cuphea grows well in full sun to partial shade. In areas with chilly winters, it works well as a houseplant or seasonal bedding choice. Outdoors, it is good for edging, container planting and suppressing weeds as groundcover. Although it thrives with average watering based on local conditions, this is a water-loving plant and can serve as a solution in moist areas of your yard.
Overall there are 260 species of Cupheas and most are native to Mexico, South America, the Caribbean and parts of the American South.
(Betsy's Choice Sage) Life and botany have their beautiful mysteries. Betsy's Choice Sage is one of them. We aren't certain of the parentage or history of this tall, attractive, fast-growing sage. However, we are certain that we love its tubular, royal purple flowers. Hummingbirds do as well.
Some say that it is a cross between a Salvia guaranitica and a Salvia fulgens. Some hint at a S. gesnerifolia connection by comparing it to S. x 'Jeans Purple Passion'. Others draw comparisons between Betsy's Choice and S. Amistad which may possibly be related to S. guaranitica.
On first impression, it does look like S. guaranitica. However, the leaves of Betsy's Choice are much larger and brighter; its nodes, or rooting points, are much farther apart. As to Amistad -- another South American species -- Betsy's Choice is far larger and much faster growing.
Another question is whether Betsy's Choice is the same plant as Salvia 'Betsy's Purple', which garden designer Bob Hyland of Portland wrote about for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in 2003.
Information about the connections between Salvia species can be tantalizingly elusive. Our answer to all this botanical guesswork is that we don't have any answers.
What we do know is that this shoulder-high, long-blooming, water-loving perennial is heat tolerant and grows well in full sun or partial shade. And here's a footnote discovered at the Sweetbay garden website: Betsy's Choice looks terrific with a backdrop of Pink Muhly Grass ( Muhlenbergia 'Pink Flamingos').
(Sacred flower of the Incas) Long reddish blossoms with flared, trumpet-like corollas and bright blue pollen contrast with mid-green foliage in the long-blooming, South American species Cantua buxifolia.
To be more specific about color, the flowers are magenta to red-orange. They grow in clusters of 12 or more on these tall shrubs that are evergreen in areas with mild winter temperatures. In its native lands, this heat tolerant plant grows on the margins of forests. For best results, give it full sun to partial shade and rich, well-drained soil. You'll be rewarded with visits from butterflies and hummingbirds.
Mostly known as "Kantu" or "Cantuta" in Peru and Bolivia where it is considered a national flower, Cantua buxifolia also grows in the Yungas mountains of Northern Argentina. Aside from reds, different varieties of the species offer pink, yellow and white flowers.
Cantua is a Latinization of qantu -- the species' original name from the native Quechuan people of the Andes. Buxifolia refers to the shrub's boxwood-style foliage.
Considered sacred in Andean cultures, reddish Kantu flowers often are used decoratively during during holy days. Perhaps because of their sizeable, tubular flowers, Kantu is a word also used to describe musical groups that play Andean flutes similar to pan pipes.
Hummingbirds love Salvia (sage) nectar and are attracted to it by the bright colors of tubular sage blossoms. In particular, these little whirlybirds can easily spot flowers in the red spectrum, which is prevalent among sages. Here are some hummingbird gardening tips.
Fragrance as well as color attracts butterflies. However, they don't have noses. Instead, butterflies smell and taste with their antennas and feet. Here are some ways to attract them:
If you live in suburbs or rural areas where deer plunder gardens, Salvias (sages) can be part of your plan for discouraging these hungry visitors. Here are some tips.