The Complete Guide for Bat Face Cuphea (Cuphea Llavea) Care

The Bat Face Cuphea, otherwise known as the Cuphea Llavea or Bat-Faced Cuphea, Red Cuphea, Cuphea, is a popular shrub plant loved by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this shrub will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green-colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, taking care of your Bat Face Cuphea is not too difficult – as long as you follow our guidelines in this Bat Face Cuphea Care Guide. Now let’s get started.

The fundamental caring guidelines for every Bat Face Cuphea can be summed up into the following:

  • Water: The Bat Face Cuphea requires water initially but it tolerates drought once established.
  • Light: Keep your Cuphea Llavea in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Bat Face Cuphea in soil with well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand, chalk, and loam.

And as with many other plants, these are the only three care factors you need to remember to make sure your Bat Face Cuphea is, for the most part, healthy and well to survive.

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Bat Face Cuphea belongs to the Lythraceae family, the genus Cuphea and the species Llavea, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Cuphea Llavea.

As with other Cuphea’s, the Bat Face Cuphea is an evergreen plant, which means it will be present year round in your garden.

Growing Region

The Bat Face Cuphea is a plant native to Mexico. As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your Bat Face Cuphea is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.

With this in mind, the Cuphea Llavea will be most used to regions where the plant hardiness level falls between 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a, 12b, 12a and the ideal climate zone is between 11, 12, 13, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Bat Face Cuphea is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.


But what exactly does this mean for your Bat Face Cuphea? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Cuphea Llavea can grow up to 1′ – 3′ (30cm – 90cm) in 1′ – 3′ (30cm – 90cm) and 2′ – 3′ (60cm – 90cm) in 2′ – 3′ (60cm – 90cm). These dimensions make the Bat Face Cuphea a relatively medium shrub compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 24″ – 36″ (60cm – 90cm) free so the Bat Face Cuphea can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Bat Face Cuphea is a fairly complicated plant to take care of. This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat irregular watering needs.

Expressly, most experts agree that the Cuphea Llavea requires water initially, but it tolerates drought once established.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Bat Face Cuphea in soil with well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Bat Face Cuphea is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Bat Face Cuphea prefers to have soil with good drainage properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand, chalk, and loam.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Placement

In terms of light & exposure, the Bat Face Cuphea requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this shrub will do well as long as you keep it in full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Cuphea Llavea in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day).


Being an evergreen plant, the Bat Face Cuphea will be present year round in your garden. Moreover, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (late), the summer (early, mid, late), and during the fall.


You can expect your Bat Face Cuphea to flower around the spring, summer and the fall months from April to June (spring), from July to September (summer), and from October to December (fall).

In particular, this shrub is well known for its long bloom season and showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Bat Face Cuphea produces some beautiful red, or black and red/burgundy flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Bat Face Cuphea have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

You can expect the leaves from your Cuphea Llavea to be around (1-3 inches) in size.

The Bat Face Cuphea is well known for being able to attract hummingbirds and butterflies, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.


How should you then organize your garden to include your new Bat Face Cuphea? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Other owners consider that they compliment well most gardens of informal and cottage, city and courtyard, and in traditional garden styles

In particular, the Bat Face Cuphea’s best location within your garden is in hanging baskets, patio and containers, beds and borders, pathways, and in wall-side borders,.


So that’s it! These are the main plant care requirements that you need to keep in mind in order to have a healthy Bat Face Cuphea in your garden or home.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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