Wild Plantain, Balisier
|Florists make the most of their brilliant, waxy bracts. These may point upward or dangle, forming flat planes or spirals, in hues from canary and chartreuse to flame and scarlet. Spreading by offsets, most take up a lot of space, reaching 20 feet in tropical heat and humidity. The smaller Heliconia stricta and its cultivars come in more manageable sizes. The dwarf Jamaican grows just 2 feet high with dainty five-inch flower bracts, rosy red edged with green. Beautifully marked leaves outshine the bracts of Heliconia indica (Green Heliconia). The leaves of Heliconia rubricarpa variety Rubricaulis boast stunning, bright rose midribs and feathery stripes. Hummingbirds feast on both the flower nectar and the insects that hide in the upright bracts. Tip out the water that collects there, or you may have a mosquito nursery. In the rainforest, frogs, bats, snakes, and even possums curl up in the cozy nooks. Grow outdoors only in the tropics and subtropics, elsewhere in greenhouses. Can grow in tubs to control size and location. Need a sheltered spot with partial shade, high humidity, and fibrous, moisture-retentive soil enriched with lime and dried manure. Trim off old flower stalks to encourage new growth. Grow more by division or from seed.
One of the largest Heliconias, its solid red, yellow, or green bracts may form in fall, winter, and spring. Look for many named cultivars with different leaves, bract sizes, and variegated colorings.
Attributes - Heliconia caribaea
Plant Type: Perennial
Bloom Season: Early Summer through Late Summer
Flower Color: Red, Yellow
Height: 5 ft. to 15 ft.
Width: 15 ft.
Sunlight: Partial Sun
Climate: Zones 10, 11
Notes: Container Plants, Cut Flowers, Long Blooming, Low Maintenance, Showy Flowers.
Heliconia hirsuta, Heliconia latispatha, Heliconia pogonantha