Heliconia rostrata

Heliconia rostrata

Heliconia rostrata or Lobster Claw is native of the north east of South America.

Is often grown to attract hummingbirds.

The flower is the symbol of Bolivia.

Description:

Heliconia rostrata can reach 2 m high, leaves may be 60-120 cm long.

The inflorescence is quite large and drooping with up to 35 bracts which are red, yellow and green. The flowers are pale yellow. Pollination is carried out by birds that feed on nectar produced by the flowers.

The leaves look like those of banana and are 1-2 m long, as for most Heliconia’s.

Usage:

Ornamental, cut flowers

Nomenclature:

Common names:

Lobster Claw, Parrots Beak

Synonyms:

Bihai poeppigiana, Bihai rostrata, Heliconia poeppigiana

Etymology:

Heliconia: refers to the Greek Mount Helicon where muses gathered
Rostrata: from the Latin rostratus (beaked, hooked)

Origin:

North east of South America

Habitat:

Cloudforest or rainforest, in clearings on wet acidic soils



Hardiness:

Zone USDA 10-11

Heliconia rostrata plant

Heliconia rostrata plant

Care:

Soil:

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

Exposure:

Sun, partial shade

Water:

Don’t let the substrate dry out

Feed:

Fertilize monthly during growing season

Temperature:

This plant is better suited for a warm greenhouse, it can be difficult to keep inside during winter because of the low atmospheric humidity due to heating
temperature should be at least 15 °C all year round, prefers a constant temperature of 25 °C

Propagation:

Seed, division of the rhizome

Sowing instructions:

  • scarify the seeds
  • soak the seeds 4 days in tepid water
  • sow at 2 cm depth in a nutritious mix
  • put the pot in a heated mini-greenhouse or plastic bag that you close
  • 25-30 °C
  • germination: 1-2 weeks if the seeds are fresh, longer if the seeds are not fresh

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