Favorite or New Plant
The common name of Cuphea llavea refers to this pernnial's flowers, which resemble bat faces (well, if you squint a little and use your imagination). The plant grows 2 to 3 feet tall and wide and blooms in spring. It does best in filtered light beneath tree canopies or with protection from afternoon sun in the low desert. I've seen it growing in full sun, but then it requires ample water and mulch in summer. It's frost tender at 20 degrees F, but resprouts from the roots in spring. The flowers, with scarlet petals and deep purple interiors, attract hummingbirds.
Clever Gardening Technique
Eliminate Unnecessary Spraying
Spraying pesticides routinely as a "prevention program" is seldom needed in our desert landscapes. Most true pests appear seasonally within specific temperature and humidity conditions and disappear when those conditions change. Learn which pests may cause problems in your region on the plants you grow, and whether preventive spraying is a viable option. Your County Cooperative Extension office can provide these details.