Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Check Out Standing Cypress!


Almost by accident I discovered a Tennessee native plant called Standing Cypress (Ipomopsis rubra).  It has a number of other common names including Scarlette Gilia and Flame Flower. It is a striking,  beautiful biennial with brilliant red tubular flowers spaced throughout the entire length of the 2-5 foot tall spike.

This past spring, I had planted about an ounce of Standing Cypress seed, scattering it by hand, here and there across the top of the soil surface.  Then I forgot all about it, except that on and off all summer long, I kept noticing these little green feathery-looking plants popping up here and there in my planting area.  When they hadn’t grown more than 3 or 4 inches tall by fall, I figured they might be a biennial.  I just didn’t know what they were.   I went back to my seed lists to see what I had ordered, and of course, it was Standing Cypress in its first year.

The more I read about Standing Cypress, the more I am looking forward to next summer.   It is a low-maintenance, easy-to-grow plant that deer don’t like and hummingbirds do.  It is a dependable re-seeder and once you get it started, you will have it blooming every other year.  You can get it to bloom every year if you plant seed two years in a row.   In their Native Plant Database, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center describes this plant as ”one of the most successful  species” in their field testing from seed.

It likes full to part sun and medium to dry moisture.  Its preferred soils are rocky, sandy or loamy.  Since my soil is mostly clay, it will be interesting to see what happens.  But so far, so good!

This plant sounds like a great combination of beauty, ease and dependability.  I will update this post next summer and add some pictures.  If anyone else has tried this plant, let us know how it worked for you.  Here’s to next summer!

2 responses to “Check Out Standing Cypress!

  1. joystewart March 28, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I said that I would post some follow-up on this plant. It is definitely a unique and attractive plant. I put in seed for two years in a row, so I could guarantee that I have flowers booming every year. I would recommend it in your native garden. However, I do have to say that the photograph makes the color look a bit more spectacular than it is. Color is a bit of a muted orange-red, but it does reach about 5 feet height and doesn’t need staking. I get quite a few people asking me what it is.

  2. Kat Ryan April 23, 2015 at 2:11 am

    Thank you for introducing me to this beauty. I’ve note seen it before.

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