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Cigar Plant: Growing & Caring Tips

A cigar plant is an annual plant with a small multi-stemmed shrub with prolific red blooms that look like fireworks. People also call them Mexican cigar plant, and they are amazing drought-tolerant plants that can survive in hot temperatures. Because of its easy maintenance and unique appearance, it is a beautiful houseplant to have outdoor. You can either plant it in a container or on the ground, and this plant looks great either way. Not many people know about cigar plants, and this is why we are going to discuss them today. You are going to find some basic information and other useful tips regarding cigar plants below.

1. What Is Cigar Plant?

Cigar plant or firecracker plant is a tropical evergreen shrub that has a bright red flower with white and black tips. It gets its name because of its resemblance to a cigar, and its appearance is very appealing to many people. You can easily grow them in containers and leave them outside during spring and summer. When the cold comes, just bring them indoors because they also do well at room temperatures too. Cigar plants are small shrubs that rarely grow above 25 inches, making them great for houseplant collection and decoration.

2. Cigar Plant – FAQs:

2.1. Is cigar plant a perennial?

Cigar plant is a tender perennial, meaning it can live for many years. However, they are not winter hardy. Because it is a half hardy perennial, many gardeners grow it as a hardy annual outdoors. This is why it is better to grow a cigar plant in the pot so that you can move it inside in winter. It makes a beautiful decoration around a patio and indoors, but it cannot tolerate extreme cold weather very well.

2.2. How do you take care of a cigar plant?

Just like other indoor and outdoor houseplants out there, you have to know what your cigar plant needs. You can easily take care of it by knowing the right amount of fertilizer and water to give. Along with that, you should also know about the light and temperatures that are suitable for its growth. Soil and transplanting are also important, and these are the basic things you have to do to care for cigar plants.

2.3. Where do cigar plants grow?

Cigar plants grow in zones 9b to 12 year-round, but you can also grow it as an annual. If you grow them in tropical areas where it is hardy, they bloom off and on all year round. But if you grow them as an annual in cooler zones, the bloom will appear in summer. These plants come from Jamaica and Mexico, so they will grow as long as you give them full sun.

2.4. Do hummingbirds like cigar plants?

Yes, hummingbirds love cigar plants. On top of that, butterflies and other pollinators are also fond of this plant due to its appealing beauty. If you want to attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators to your garden, cigar plants are one of the best choices.

2.5. What are cigar plant common diseases or pests?

The good thing about cigar plants is that there are no common diseases or pests that attack them at all. This is another important reason why people love growing the cigar plants as outdoor houseplants. However, there are a few things to watch out for when you want to grow them indoors. A few potential threats are aphids and thrips, but you can use insecticides like neem oil to eliminate them. Since they are immune to most diseases, there is nothing else to worry about.

3. How To Grow A Cigar Plant From Seed

I am among the people who enjoy growing plants from scratch, and growing a cigar plant from seed is actually easy. You can find cigar plant seeds from your local store, or you can shop for them online. With just a few simple steps, and you will be able to grow your own cigar plants right away.

  • Plant the seeds directly into the ground in late spring if the temperatures are right. It should be at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit because they enjoy full sun, and they can tolerate hot temperatures well. If you sow the seeds when the temperatures are not favorable enough, the seedlings will be overly leggy.
  • Regularly fertilize and water the seeds, and they will germinate within a few weeks. Make sure to keep the soil moist and provide sufficient sun, and your cigar plants will keep growing.
  • Another way to grow cigar plants from seed is by doing it indoors if you are concerned about the temperatures. You can start the seeds indoors around 3 months before the expected last frosts, and that will also work. The process is just the same, but you will have to plant the seeds in a pot or container instead.

4. Cigar Plant Basic Caring Tips

Many gardeners love cigar plants because they are very easy to grow and take care of. The one amazing thing about them is that you won’t have to worry about giving them too much light or water. To make things easier for you, I have put together the basic caring tips for cigar plants below. Just a few simple things, and your plants will surely grow beautifully all season long.

4.1. Fertilizer

Your cigar plants appreciate regular fertilization during their growing season because they need that to bloom and flourish. One of the best fertilizers to give them should be balanced and weak liquid fertilizer that you can easily spray. Simply feed them every few weeks, and the fertile soil will aid their growth on top of the fertilizer. You will only need to feed them from spring to fall, and fertilization is not necessary throughout the winter. Just give them some water will do. They won’t need fertilization in cold months.

4.2. Light

As a tropical plant, a cigar plant likes a full sun or partial shade position. This is why cigar plants are perfect outdoor plants that can stay out all day long while adorning your landscape. When they don’t get enough light, brown patches will start to develop on their bright green leaves. This is also a common problem that particularly occurs after the winter season. Another problem is that the plants will remain more compact in a less bright position. In case you grow them indoors, you want to keep them right by the window. This is to ensure that they are able to absorb and receive all the sunlight that they need.

4.3. Pruning

Cigar plants don’t grow tall, but they can form layers that create a mounding habit. Sometimes they can be leggy when they receive a lot of sunlight, especially during the growing season. In case you don’t like that, you can easily keep it under control by pruning it a little in winter. Pruning them in winter will be beneficial for their fresh and new growth in spring. You can also take advantage of the pruning by using the cut to propagate new plants, and the process is fast. Propagating a cigar plant is rather easy and simple, and you can quickly do so by stem cuttings. The best time for propagation is early spring or summer or when the original plant starts to lose its vigor. If you want to propagate your cigar plant, below is a video that will help you out.

4.4. Soil

The perfect soil conditions for a cigar plant should be fertile, moist, and well-drained so that it can grow healthily. Along with that, the pH of the soil should be neutral with the right amount of acid ad alkaline. Cigar plants are not too picky when it comes to soil because they are quite hardy. An average soil will also do as long as it drains well, and the plants will surely grow. Speaking of well-draining, things go the same with the pots that you choose for your cigar plants. Choose a pot with drainage holes to prevent overwatering so that the plants won’t have diseases like root rot. Once the pot and soil work together nicely, your cigar plants will surely grow healthily.

4.5. Temperature

Cigar plants don’t mind hot summers or temperatures, they have a high tolerance to extremely hot weather in where they come from. The only problem with hot days is that the water dries fast from the soil, and they love moist soil. To prevent your plants from getting thirsty, you should water them more frequently to keep the soil moist. And that is all you need because they don’t have a problem with high temperatures at all.

However, things are different in low temperatures during cold or winter months. You should not leave your cigar plants in strong winds or outside when the weather is cold. They are frost tender, meaning even the lightest winter frosts can damage or kill them. This is why you should not expose them to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid tissue damage. So the moment cold days start to come, bring your cigar plants inside to a warmer spot.

4.6. Water

Watering is a very important factor that you should pay attention to when it comes to cigar plants care. In order to keep the soil moist for the plant, you should give it a decent amount of watering. At the same time, proper and regular watering are especially crucial through the growing season of your cigar plants. Although they are drought-tolerant, it is better to not leave the soil dry too often. The only time to reduce watering for your cigar plants is in winter, but make sure that the soil is moist. When the weather is cold, the water in the soil will dry slower. This is why you want to water them less frequently so that the water can properly drain.

5. How To Propagate A Cigar Plant

You don’t have to get more seeds to grow more cigar plants because propagating them is relatively easy and simple. It is a nice way to expand this beautiful plant or gift your gardener friends out there. People say that cigar plant propagation is like cloning because it will result in an identical plant. There are 3 most common propagating methods, so let’s take a look.

5.1. Cutting

You can either cut or use the cuttings from pruning to propagate another new plant. Simply dip the cut ends in rooting hormone or rooting powder, and place it in a container or pot. What you need to do after is watering it to dampen the soil, and keep it in the shade for several days. This is to prevent them from stress as it adjusts and develops roots. Keep the soil damp and moist, but not saturated because it can develop root rot. Cigar plants grow fast, and it won’t take long for them to flourish for you.

5.2. Grafting

As for this one, it is an asexual plant propagation method that combines parts from different plants together. This method is to propagate plants that do not root well from cuttings to heal them so that they grow as one plant. You can also use grafting to maintain clonal production or utilize superior root systems. Although not easy, the grafting technique is common for many plants out there. I found a good video with some guides for grafting that you can learn from below, so check it out.

5.3. Layering

This method requires you to take the limb of a plant and bend its section into the dirt. The cool thing is that roots will start to form from that section without you removing them from the plant. Once you notice a good root system, you can transplant it to another pot or other places that you desire. It is a very easy and fast method to propagate a cigar plant, and it does not involve cuttings at all.

You can also check out the quick guide to propagate your cigar plant in the video from EverydayWits below.

Wrap Up

Cigar plants are one of the best plants that everyone can easily grow, both indoor and outdoor. It does not take much to do, and the caring activities are rather simple. With the tips I recommend above, growing these plants will be even easier for you. Even if you are a beginner, you still can make your cigar plants flourish. And if there are any doubts, I am always here to help you out.

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