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Heliconia Genus

Lobster claws

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General Needs

  • LightPart shade
  • HardinessTropical (min 17°C)
  • SoilWell drained, Humus-rich
  • Soil pH7.0 to 6.0
  • WaterSemi-moist

Description

Heliconia genus (Lobster claws). These are beautiful evergreen perennials with about 100 species, which are exotic plants. They have large leaves with spikes of colourful bracts which enclose relatively insignificant flowers. Frost tender, min 18C. Needs partial shade and humus-rich, well drained soil. Water generously in the growing season and very sparingly when the plants die down in winter. Heliconias are adapted to be pollinated by butterflies and humming birds, which can extract the nectars with their long thin tongues and probosci. The flowers hang down and have various colours from bright red and yellow to brown.

Characteristics

Perennials, Evergreens

Origin

C & S. America & Pacific

Interest and use

Grown for their spikes of colourful flowers and for the attractive foliage on younger plants.

Propagation

Seed or division of rootstock in spring.

Pests, diseases or disorders

Prone to red spider mites, mealy bugs and snails. Root rot may be problematic.

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