The firecracker plant (Cuphea ignea), also called the cigar plant, is a cold-tender perennial, flowering, shrub-like plant that can grow up to 4 feet tall with singular reddish-orange flowers. The cigar-shaped flowers are usually 1 1/2 inches long and have rings of violet and white at the tip of each bloom, resembling a lit cigar or firecracker. You can grow firecracker plants as perennials in warmer climates, where winter temperatures stay above 35 degrees Fahrenheit, or as an annual in colder climates. You can also grow firecracker plants indoors in containers in colder regions to keep them as perennial flowers.
Plant your firecracker plant in early spring. Select a planting site that receives full sunlight and has rich, loose soil.
Dig a planting hole that is the same depth as and twice the width of the nursery container. Mix into the displaced soil some organic compost, so that you have a half-and-half mixture of compost and native soil.
Plant the firecracker plants at the same depth as they were in the nursery containers. Water the soil generously and pat down the soil gently with your hands.
Water your firecracker plant evenly and deeply two or three times per week during the growing season to supplement rainfall. Don't allow the soil to dry out, and water the plant more frequently during dry spells or droughts.
Feed your firecracker plant once every two weeks throughout the late spring and summer. Apply a water-soluble, all-purpose flower fertilizer during watering, according to the dosage instructions on the label.