Botanical name: Cuphea ignea
Cigar Plant also called Cigar Flower or Mexican Cigar Plant is a 1 ft high bush bearing a profusion of tubular, orange-red cigar-shaped flowers among the smooth narrow 2 in. long leaves. It is fast growing reaching its full height in one year. The plant requires regular pruning to keep it compact and bushy. Cigar plant is a tropical densely branched evergreen shrub native to Mexico and West Indies.
Cigar Plant prefers bright light with some direct sunlight. Bright light is necessary for development of bright leaf color with reddish-purple leaf tips. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants
Keep the soil moist at all times for Cigar Plant and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold period. Avoid waterlogging as it can lead to Root-rot Disease. Learn more on how to water houseplants.
Cool to average warmth with a minimum of 100C is ideal for Cigar Plant. Protect the plant from cold and hot draughts. Learn more on temperature for houseplants.
Cigar Plant has no need for high humidity. Mist the leaves occasionally or set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity if the air is too dry.
Feed Cigar Plant with a potassium-rich water-soluble fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing season. Withhold feeding in the cold season as growth is minimal and it can lead to fertilizer burn. Regularly flush out excess fertilizers by running a stream of water through the soil until it comes out through the drainage holes, allow to run for at least 10 minutes. Find out more on how to feed houseplants.
Repot Cigar Plant during the growing season only when the plant is pot-bound. Use a pot that is 1 size larger. Cigar Plant blooms best when slightly pot-bound. Do not repot a plant that is in flower. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent waterlogging as it can lead to Root-rot Disease. The soil should be free-draining and rich in organic matter.
Pruning Cigar Plant is easy. Remove dead leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy. Remove spent flowers to encourage more blooms. Cut back the straggly stems at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.
Cigar Plant can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem-tip cuttings or by seeds.
Propagating Cigar Plant from stem-tip cuttings
Take 4-6 in. stem-tip cuttings from a healthy Cigar Plant plant. Insert the cuttings in moist free-draining soil. Place the set up in a warm well-lit spot. Maintain the soil moist through out until the new plants are well established.
Propagating Cigar Plant from seeds
Spread Cigar Plant seeds evenly on moist free-draining soil and slightly cover with some soil. Cover the set up with a plastic sheet to create a greenhouse effect. Place the set up in a warm brightly-lit place. Maintain the soil moist through out by gently misting the soil surface. Transplant the seedlings when they are well established into individual pot. Place the seedlings in a shaded well-lit place. Maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges and the plants are well established.
Brown leaf edges in Cigar Plant are caused by low light. The plant require bright light with some direct sunlight.
Cigar Plant will not bloom if the light is too little. It requires bright light but away from direct sunlight.
One reason for leaf drop in Cigar Plant is cold draughts. Protect the plant from cold draughts to prevent sudden drop in temperature. The other reason is dry air. Mist the leaves more regularly or set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity.
One common disease in Cigar Plant is Root-rot which is brought about by waterlogging. Never allow Cigar Plant to sit in soggy soil; ensure good drainage of both the pot and the soil.
Cigar Plant (Cuphea ignea) plants are non-toxic to humans and pets.