February 8
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Plant Genus of the family Lythraceae

Genus Description Cultivation
Cuphea This is a large genus of around 250 species of annuals, evergreen perennials and low-growing shrubs from Central and South America with flexible leafy stems and small, opposite or whorled leaves. They are grown for their masses of irregularly shaped tubular flowers produced over a long period, almost the year round. In warm climates they are easy to grow in average garden conditions and make good tub plants. CULTIVATION: Fairly frost tender, they do best in full sun or light shade in well-drained moist soil in a position sheltered from strong winds. Occasional tip pruning from an early age will encourage compact growth. Propagate from seed or from tip cuttings.
Lagerstroemia This genus in the Lythraceae family, consisting of around 53 species of evergreen or deciduous trees that are mostly small, occurs from tropical Asia to Australia. A few species are widely cultivated, with many cultivars. Their showy flowers with crinkled petals, crape-like in texture, are in loose panicles in differing shades of pink, mauve and white. They have simple variable leaves that are usually opposite, and capsular fruits. Features which extend their appeal as landscape subjects are their colored autumn foliage and attractive, often peeling, smooth bark. The timber of some species has been used for bridges, furniture and railway sleepers. CULTIVATION: These trees are generally easy to grow, responding to a wide variety of soils. They grow best in a well-drained soil in a sunny position and are tolerant of light frosts. Propagate from seed or half-hardened cuttings in summer, or from hardwood cuttings in early winter. Powdery mildew can be a problem, but newer cultivars offer better disease resistance.

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