Plants of the genus Cuphea include the cigar plant, firecracker plant and the Mexican cigar flower.
As you can probably tell by the common names the flowers of Cuphea are often long and cylinder shaped like cigars; usually of a dark red colour.
That said, some varieties of Cuphea have a wheel shape. They tend to flower from the summer until the first frost of the winter.
em>Cuphea linarioides by João de Deus Medeiros.
Cuphea cyanea by Scott Zona.
It is best to start growing cigar plants indoors first. They should be planted on the surface of the soil, in a light lit area with a temperature of about 22 degrees Centigrade.
Cuphea seeds usually take about 10 days to germinate. They should be grown for a further ten week,s then transplanted outdoors in the middle to late spring with a spacing of 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 inches).
They prefer to grow in a partially shaded or sunny part of the garden that has a heavy soil that rich in humus.
Once the cigar plants have settled they should be pinched back at the growing tips, this will promote branching of the plant and lead to more flowers.
If you require more cigar plants then cuttings from the roots can be taken in the autumn.
Alternatively the plant can be grown as a perennial by over wintering the plants indoors.
I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Cuphea plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ Lythraceae growing guides: How to grow Lagerstroemia indica and Ophiopogon plants.