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Increasingly available in garden centers, exotic cuphea looks like the tropical native it is. It loves hot, humid weather and will bloom all summer, some types producing cool little tubular flowers in red-hot colors that give it one of its common names -- cigar flower.
It does well in containers, where you can baby it with rich, moist potting soil and keep it well-fertilized. Under these conditions, it will bloom nonstop all summer, as long as it gets water. Look for a variety of forms; some have curious bat-face-shape flowers; others are more tubular.
Create a decidedly tropical feel with these two heat- and sun-loving plants.Lantana
Accent cuphea's bright flowers with the festive tones in red, yellow, or orange lantana.Mexican sunflower
Mexican sunflower's brilliant orange or yellow blooms are a perfect contrast to the more intricate cuphea blooms.