Sunday, 22 February 2009

the Heliconia

Pop by any florist around the world and you are likely to see at least one species of heliconia displayed on sale. This is hardly surprising given the fact the heliconia is indeed one of the most stunning flowers to have emerged in the florist trade. It's striking hues and exotic form explains why it often ends up taking centrestage in any tropical floral arrangement. In fact, the heliconia is probably the most celebrated icon of all tropical plants. (the others being the ginger and the banana)

I have a couple of heliconias in my collection but not all of them seem to be doing well. Like the bananas, they grow well after it has been established and when this happens, they can get rather aggressive, especially those which have runners. This explains why I tend to prefer those that clump. Large heliconias tend to require more space and are fairly tolerant where light is concerned. However, they are fairly heavy feeders and will require moist soil with a high clay content to do well. 

The ones which give me constant blooms are the H. Sexy Pink, the H. bihai 'Lobster Claw 1' and the H. guadaloupe. The others which are surviving but don't appear to be blooming anytime soon are the H. Sexy Orange, H. Caribaea purpurea, H. angusta 'Holiday' , H. indica 'Striata' and H. bihai 'Yellow Dancer'. 

The one pictured here was taken from a friend's garden and it is the extremely rare H. solomonensis.  

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