The common name of this pretty perennial is candy corn plant. It’s scientific name is cuphea micropetala. It is native to Mexico. The family includes over 250 perennials and shrubs that are found in tropical and temperate regions. It is a small semi-woody, shrubby plant that can reach heights of up to 3-4 feet tall with a 2 foot spread at maturity. The plant has an arching and clumping habit and is rounded in shape. The plant has narrow leaves on upright red stems and enjoys a long bloom season, flowering in summer through to fall. The flowers are bright orange and yellow. The bi-colored flowers look like the favorite Halloween candy treat. The flowers are tubular and 1 to 3 inches long.
It is an easy to care for plant that needs plenty of sunlight (full sun to part shade) and very little care during the growing season. It will grow in shady spots but you won’t get as many flowers. Plant in the spring after the danger of any frost has passed. This allows it to get established before the heat of the summer. The plants like average, well draining soil with a slightly acidic pH of 5.5 to 6.5.
It is quite drought tolerant but will not tolerate wet soils.
If you have few flowers, it means your candy corn plant is not getting enough light. This tropical plant does not like cold temperatures at all. When the temperature drops in the fall make sure you bring it inside. It needs a south or west facing window and relative humidity above 45% (It is best to use a humidity gauge rather than guessing.) Brown leaf tips are a symptom of dry air. Average room temperatures ( (65-75°F/18-24°C). It can be grown as a perennial in warmer climates. It can grow in large containers at least 18 inches or urns outdoors. They are generally too large to grow in pots as indoor plants.
The candy corn plant is closely related to the cigar plant. It shares a similar size and flower shape. The cigar plant resembles the glowing embers of a burning cigar, with a warm red color and none of the yellow hues found in the blooms of the candy corn plant.
This unusual vine is also known by a few other common names: Firecracker Vine, Candy Corn Vine and Brazilian Firecracker. Some other plants share these names, so look for the botanical name to be sure you’re getting this plant.