Plant Library

Firefly Bat Face Cuphea

Cuphea x purpurea 'Firefly'

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Firefly Bat Face Cuphea (Cuphea x purpurea 'Firefly') at Green Thumb Nursery

Firefly Bat Face Cuphea flowers

Firefly Bat Face Cuphea flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Firefly Bat Face Cuphea (Cuphea x purpurea 'Firefly') at Green Thumb Nursery

Firefly Bat Face Cuphea in bloom

Firefly Bat Face Cuphea in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  24 inches

Spacing:  18 inches

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  8b

Other Names:  Cuphea llavea x procumbens


A round, bushy, evergreen tender subshrub producing unusual tubular flowers lipped with upward facing, bright red petals that look like bat ears and the purple tips resemble the face; great for bedding, shrub borders, and containers

Ornamental Features

Firefly Bat Face Cuphea has panicles of cherry red tubular flowers with purple throats at the ends of the branches from mid spring to mid fall, which emerge from distinctive deep purple flower buds, and which are interesting on close inspection. It has green evergreen foliage. The pointy leaves remain green throughout the winter.

Landscape Attributes

Firefly Bat Face Cuphea is a multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance shrub, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. It is a good choice for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Firefly Bat Face Cuphea is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Firefly Bat Face Cuphea will grow to be about 24 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 24 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 18 inches apart. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn't necessarily require facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It may require supplemental watering during periods of drought or extended heat. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid.

Firefly Bat Face Cuphea makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag - this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Massing  Garden  Container 
Flowers  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features