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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Tuesday - August 29, 2006

From: Ida Grove, IA
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Wintering over a Cuphea ignea in Iowa Zones 4-5
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a Cigar Plant, or a cuphea. I live in Iowa and need to know how to take care of this plant. Does this plant die and that's it, or does this plant come back year after year?

ANSWER:

Cigar plant (Cuphea ignea) is a tropical plant, native to Mexico and the Caribbean. It can withstand light frosts (USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8-9) and come back in the spring; but, for Iowa in Zones 4-5, I'm afraid it would be 'goner' left outdoors in the winter. It could, however, be grown in a pot as a houseplant and moved outside in its container during frost-free weather to become part of your landscaping.

 

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