Cigar Plant Care: How to Grow Cigar Plants

cigar plant care guide- how to grow cigar plant

Ornamental plants do have a way of getting you attracted to them. It is always a delight to see how their colors brighten gardens and even indoor settings. Although loved and admired, many do not feel drawn to growing them because of the complexity that comes with them.

There are easy ornamental houseplants to grow; you only need the right information on these plants. We are eager again to provide you with one of the easiest ornamental plants you can grow – The cigar plant. We are almost certain that you must have seen the cigar plant as they are quite popular.

We will discuss the cigar plant growth and care guide. But first, what is the cigar plant?

Cigar Plant Background

Botanical nameCuphea ignea
Common nameCigar plant, firecracker plant
LightFull sun, partial shade
Soil typeMoist, well-drained
Soil pHNeutral, acid
Plant typePerennial, Annual

The cigar plant, otherwise known as firecracker plant, cigar flower, Mexican cigar, etc. It is a tropical evergreen species of flowering shrubs, from the Lythraceae family. The word Ignae in its botanical name Cuphea ignea is derived from a Latin word, which means fire or glowing red. The plant is a perennial; it can live for more than 2 years and can grow to about 12 to 25 inches tall and wide.

It comes in small leaves with a color range of light to dark green. The very noticeable red bloom of the cigar plant has the resemblance of a firework.

The flowers have black and white tips and a tubular shape, like a cigar. The plant got its name from the resemblance of the white rim with a lit cigar. Cigar plant can be grown as an annual plant in many other regions, it also can bloom all year round, producing various colors, i.e. Red, orange, purple, pink, etc.  

Image: Pink Cigar Plant / Neefer Duir, Flickr.

The cigar plant is one of the ornamental plants that can be characterized as easy to grow. Although it may seem fussy at first, it is easy to get acquainted with, and in no time, you will find it easy to grow them. Growing and caring for the cigar plant helps you prepare for other plants that are highly maintained. Below, we have provided all you need to grow and care for your cigar plant.

Cigar Plant Requirements

The cigar plant is known to be easy to grow, as long as it is provided the right requirements. The requirements below model the plant’s origin, which will help it grow as healthily as it can be.

1. Light

Lighting is really important to the growth of the cigar plant. It enjoys being placed in full sunlight to partial shade. If you live in temperate regions, it is recommended and best to place them where they can be exposed to full sun. Inability to get access to the full sun results in slow growth, brown patches on the foliage, and the plant will stay compact in shape.

2. Humidity

The cigar plant is from the tropical region and if you are familiar with plants from there, you will know that they are medium to high humidity lovers. Hence if you do not have high humidity in your space, you can look for alternatives to provide humidity. i.e. misting the plant regularly in winter, especially if they are placed in a room where heat is produced. In summer, we recommend that you purchase a plant humidifier or also mist it regularly.   

3. Water

Adequate watering is encouraged for the cigar plant because the plant loves to stay moist. However, the plant also has a high chance of getting root rots. It is best to increase the watering level during the active growing season and greatly reduce it during the winter. the plant should be watered when the top 2 inches of the soil is dry. For best results, we recommend that you create a watering schedule that fits your plant’s needs.

4. Soil

Due to its tropical background, the cigar plant will grow properly in a wide range of soil, as long as they are fertile and well-draining. The plant is moisture-loving, and also really susceptible to root rot. An important factor in deciding the soil type is considering how draining the soil and the pot are.

cigar plant care guide

5. Temperature

The cigar plant needs to b protected from strong wind and freezing conditions. As they are frost-tender plants, they are only able to thrive in USDA 10 to 12. You can grow the cigar plant as an annual or bring them in when the frosts arrive if you are in a location with harsh winter.

6. Fertilizer

Although cigar plants will bloom properly without the help of fertilizers, you can feed them during the growing season to further aid their blooming. It is recommended that you feed them with diluted fertilizer, to prevent harm. They can also be fed once in three weeks in spring and summer. However, fertilizers should be skipped during winter.

Cigar Plant Propagation: How to Grow Cigar Plants

Propagating the cigar plant is irresistible; you will always want to have more. It is such a delight to let you know that propagating this beauty is as easy as the word. The plant can be propagated via stem cutting and seed and you do not have to wait for long to get them! Follow the steps below to propagate your cigar plant.

Cigar Plant Propagation Via Stem Cutting

  1. Identify and select a healthy and mature plant. Make a cutting of about 3 to 4 inches long.
  2. Get rid of the leaves below and dip the clear end of the cuttings into rooting hormones (your plant will grow well even if you don’t do this).
  3. Prepare a container with fresh potting soil and plant the cuttings there. Water the soil regularly to keep it moist.
  4. Your plant will develop its root system in few weeks. When the root is strong enough, they can be transplanted to other individual pots or garden.  

Cigar Plant Propagation Via Seed

It is best to sow the cigar seed in late spring. Growing it indoor first is also an option. The seed should be placed gently into the soil. It should not go too deep, only far enough where rain or wind won’t throw it off the soil, with a temperature of 22 degrees C. In about 10 days, the seed will begin to germinate.

Allow them to develop for another 8 to 10 weeks before transplanting them outdoor or to other pots.

Cigar Plant Care: How To Care For Your Cigar Plant

  1. The cigar plant is not susceptible to pests and diseases. However, they attract birds and insects.
  2. The plant can become leggy, especially when it is exposed to the sun for a long time. Pruning will keep it tidy and pretty. Pinching back will also give room for more flowers.
  3. The plant is drought tolerant and this means it can suffer a little water neglect. However, it should not be left dry for a long time.
  4. Be mindful that overwatering can still lead to root rot. Hence the watering requirement is moist soil and not over-watered soil.
  5. Flowering all year round is highly dependent on where you live.
  6. The cigar plant is not known to be toxic to pets and humans.

Final Thoughts

Apart from being a beautiful plant to sight, not many are aware that cigar plant oil can be used for cooking. Many other studies may prove that the plant extract can be used to treat an ulcer. Who knows, you may just be growing some medicinal plant in your home.

The most important requirement for the cigar plant is attention. Be ready to give lots of it.