Heliconia schiedeana

Heliconia schiedeana

Heliconia schiedeana or Parrots Beak is one of the few hardy Heliconias: the plant survives light frost but will rarely flower in frost zones.

It is better to grow it as an orangery plant.

In its habitat it is an evergreen but in frost regions the plant will die and grow back from the rhizome next spring. It produces many suckers.

Description:

The plant is a fast grower: 2,5-3 m in 1 growing season. In cultivation it grows up to 1-2 m. Rhizomes are small.

Leaves are oblong and wind resistant, about 1,5 m long.

The beautiful inflorescence is erect and ramified with red bracts and yellow flowers.

Usage:

Ornamental, cut flowers

Nomenclature:

Common names:

Lobster Claw, Parrots Beak

Synonym:

Bihai schiedeana

Etymology:

Heliconia: from the Latin heliconius (from Helicon, a sacred mountain in Greek mythology)
Schiedeana: in honor of Wilhelm Schiede, a german physician and naturalist

Origin:

South of Mexico

Habitat:

Steep slopes

Hardiness:

USDA zone 9-11, -1 °C

Care:

 

Soil:

Nutritious, moist and well drained

Exposure:

Partial shade, 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 °Call year round.

Propagation:

Seed, rhizome

Sowing instructions:

  • scarify the seeds
  • soak the seeds 1 night in water
  • sow at 0.5 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 seeds are fresh, longer if seeds are not fresh

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