Heliconia lingulata

Heliconia lingulata

Heliconia lingulata or False Bird-of-Paradise originates from South America.

Best suited for growing as a house plant or in warm greenhouse.

Description:

Heliconia lingulata is quite big: it can reach 2-6 m in height.

The leaves can grow 1-2 m long. They look like the leaves of a banana.

The inflorescence bears 7 to 25 bracts, red or orange at the tip and yellow at the base, from which emerge a small, pale yellow flower.

Usage:

Ornamental, cut flowers

Nomenclature:

Common names:

False Bird-of-Paradise, Flowering Banana, Lobster Claw, Macaw Flower, Parrot’s Flower, Wild Plantain

Synonyms:

Bihai lingulata, Heliconia weberbaueri

Etymology:

Heliconia: from the Latin heliconius from Helicon, a sacred mountain in Greek mythology)
Lingulata: from the Latin lingulatus (with a small tongue)

Origin:

South America

Habitat:

Rainforest

Hardiness:

USDA zone 10-11, 4 °C

Care:

Soil:

Nutritious, moist but well drained. A mixture of peat moss, sand and compost.

Exposure:

Sun, light, partial shade

Water:

Keep the growing medium moist

Feed:

Fertilize monthly during growing season

Temperature:

Best suited for the warm greenhouse. It might prove difficult to keep it inside the house due to the low air humidity when the heating is on. Maintain a temperature of minimum 15 °C the whole year round, ideally a constant temperature of 25 °C.

Flowering:

In summer but can flower all year round if growing conditions are optimal

Propagation:

Seed, division of the rhizome

Sowing instructions:

  • scarify the seeds
  • soak the seeds 4 days in tepid water
  • sow 2 cm deep in a light mix and moisten
  • place the pot in a heated mini-greenhouse or plastic bag which you close
  • 25-30 °C
  • germination: 1-2 weeks if seeds are fresh, longer if seeds are not fresh

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