Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Plant Guide

Cuphea llavea

Common Name
Bat-faced Cuphea
CA Native
Plant Type
18" - 24" x 24"
Flower Color
Red and Purple
Bloom Time
  • Constant
Small, Fuzzy Green
Deer Resistant
Seldom Damaged
Wildlife Value
  • Attracts Beneficial Insects
  • Hummingbirds
Growth Rate
Adverse Growth Factors
Special Features
  • Fall Color
  • Low Maintenance
  • Showy Flowers
Water Use
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Low
Soil pH
6.5-7.5 (neutral)
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
  • Shade
Soil Type
Not Particular
Well Drained
Description and Cultural Plant Tips

Cupheas bloom nonstop all year round in most Marin locations. Will die to the ground in areas that get hard frosts but will grow from roots the following spring. This mounding sub-shrub has masses of 1" long red and purple flowers. The tubes are lipped with 2 upward facing pedals that resemble ears and the purple tips resemble the face of a bat. Plant behind yellow Coreopsis grandiflora 'Early Sunrise' , yellow or pink lantana or with yellow daylilies.

Plant slightly higher than soil grade in well-drained soil. Likes it sunny and hot. Very easy to grow. Is heat and drought tolerant. Can be trimmed to give it a more compact shape.

Hummingbirds love this plant.

No diseases or pest problems.

Master Gardener Comments

I have this plant in a large container on my deck. It gets afternoon sun and blooms nonstop all year round. A great conversation piece. Children love the little bat faces.


C. llavea 'Caribbean Sunset' - yellow and orange flowers

C. llavea 'Flamenco Samba' - cherry red with purple throat

C. llavea 'Flamenco Tango' - pink and violet flowers

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