The Nierembergia plant is also known as cupflower, the plant is actually a heat-loving compact mounding plant that is smothered in flowers from early summer through fall. The Nierembergia plant is a tender perennial that survives only in zones seven to ten, the plant is easily grown as an annual in colder areas.

Furthermore, the genus Nierembergia that is native to Argentina, is named for Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, a seventeen century Spanish Jesuit theologian and naturalist. The taxonomy of this genus (in the potato family or Solanaceae) is rather confused, so the species for cupflower may be listed as caerulea, frutescens, hippomanica or scoparia. The Nierembergia plant grows neat, spreading mounds about twelve to fifteen inches across. The fine textured foliage is produced on multiple stems, with stiff, linear leaves to ½ long. The 1 inch white or bluish-purple star-shaped, saucer-like flowers have lemon yellow centers. Their color does not fade even in the brightest sun.

Nierembergia plant can be use for edging, in borders, rock gardens, or containers, including hanging baskets and window boxes. The Nierembergia plant thrives in this hot environment, spilling out to soften the edges of the stones and hiding the scraggly bases of the other plants.

You can start the Nierembergia plant from seed sown indoors eight to ten weeks before your date of average last frost. Barely cover the nierembergia seeds. The nierembergia seeds should germinate within two to three weeks at seventy degree Fahrenheit. Keep moist until emergence, and then the plants can be kept on the dry side. The young nierembergia plants grow very slowly, but grow more quickly once they are transplanted. Transplant outdoors six to twelve inches apart (after hardening off) just before last frost date in moist, organically rich, well-drained soil in full sun. Mulch the plant to help retain moisture and also keep the soil cool. The nierembergia plants are drought tolerant once they are established. The plant stem cuttings can be taken in late summer to hold the plants over the winter.


Nierembergia Varieties

The ‘Mont Blanc’ variety: This particular variety is a profuse bloomer with brilliant white flowers on the plants only six inches high that spread to twelve inches wide. The small cup-shaped flowers face upwards. The ‘Mont Blanc’ was an All-America Selection winner in 1993. This variety has better heat tolerance than the other species.

The ‘Purple Robe’ variety: The ‘Purple Robe’ variety has blue-violet flowers. The plants are about eight inches tall. 

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