Heliconia is named after Mount Helicon, the seat of the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts and sciences in Greek mythology. Heliconia flowers are actually highly modified leaves and bracts. People enjoy their colorful, gravity-defying ornamentation.
Heliconia, also popularly known as lobster-claw, wild plantain or false bird-of-paradise, is a beautiful flower with multi-color bracts and varied flower structure. Some of its popular varieties are as follows:
1.Heliconia Psittacorum Golden Tourch, Heliconia Lady Diana (Yellow)
Golden Torch is a vigorous and hardy heliconia that grows from 4-6 feet tall. It has large musoid leaves that contrast beautifully with the deep yellow flowers. It can be grown in partial to full sun. If you are looking for a lemon yellow heliconia, this is the one for you.
2.Heliconia Stricta Dwarf Jamaican
Dwarf Jamaican is a real beauty that is small, 1 1/2 to 3 feet in height and does well in pots. Very beautiful 5 inch dainty inflorescence that are deep rose-colored and evenly grade from pale to deep hues.
This traditional and most recognized heliconia is called Pendula Lobster Claw. Blooms are pendulous or hanging up to 3 feet in length with striking red and yellow bracts. Blooms all year. In pots will flower at 5 to 6 feet tall. Full sun to 50% shade. Originally from the Amazon.
4.Heliconia Psittacorum, Heliconia Lady Diana (Red)
Heliconia psittacorum varieties rarely exceed 5ft (1.5 m). They are less affected by cool temperatures and also require less care. Can be grown in containers and kept indoors. Psittacorums produce inflorescence all year long, usually blooming already during the first year after planting.
5.Heliconia Psittacorum, Heliconia Lady Diana (Orange)
Heliconia Lady Diana (Orange) are remarkable plants, not only for the beauty of their flowers, but also for the fact that they are so mysterious.
Growing conditions for heliconias
- Heliconias should be planted in a draining soil with the top sticking out of the ground.
- Heliconias flourish well in loamy soils rich in humus.
- Heliconias need sunlight, with temperatures that do not go below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Plant rhizomes which may or may not have a young shoot.
- Cut back the old shoot to about 6 inches before planting.
- The eyes or buds, present in the Heliconia rhizome helps to grow new shoots in about four weeks, while roots grow from the rhizome.
- Heliconias need an abundance of water.
- Since Heliconias are heavy feeders, a soluble balanced or granular time-release fertilizer can be used.
- Heliconia’s blooming season is once to several times a year.
Heliconias plant care
- Heliconias need a lot of sun and heat, so put under the sun or in a brightly lit area or keep them under a sun lamp for extended periods.
- Remove any dead leaves and stems.
- Mulching is necessary as it retains moisture around the root zone, and controls the weeds.
- Apply any organic fertilizer once in 2 months.
- Overwatering may cause the roots to rot.
Facts about Heliconia
- This herb is closely related to the banana.
- The Heliconia’s bracts are so large and colorful that they almost hide the flowers altogether. This keeps the flower’s sweet nectar from other birds so that only specialized birds can get to it.
- Heliconia has oblong leaves growing opposite one another on non-woody stems, often forming large clumps with age.
- Heliconias are grown as landscape plants.
- Heliconias grow to a height of 3-30 feet in height.
- There are some species of Heliconia which have upright facing flowers.
- Some Heliconia flowers droop down from the main stem and are called hanging Heliconia.