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Heliconia rostrata is one of the most recognized and widely grown species, and one of the most beautiful. The inflorescence it produces is one of the most colorful you will ever encounter. It is pendent, the bracts are red with greenish yellow edges. The flowers last a long time and make an excellent cut flower. It is an easy grower in tropical areas but some room is required because the stalks can reach 7 feet in height. Bright shade is ideal with good moisture in the air and in the soil, but no soggy soils. Heliconias are also heavy feeders. Sheltered areas are better because strong winds can shred the leaves pretty bad. Can be grown in large pots.
The family Heliconiaceae contains a single genus, Heliconia, with distribution in the Neotropical region and in Pacific islands from the island of Sulawesi (Indonesia) east to Samoa. The genus contains between 200 and 250 species (about 180 so-far described). Additionally, there are at least that many forms or cultivars.
This Heliconia grows in clumps to 6 ft with a spread of 5 ft. It has 6 ft long banana-like leaves. Each inflorescence has red or orange bracts edged with green. Heliconia stricta cv. Dwarf Jamaican growing only 1 to 3ft high this small sized Heliconia is suitable for a wide range of designs. Dwarf Jamaican grows well in pots and is known to tolerate variable temperatures more than other Heliconias. Blooms all year and can be planted in full sun to semi-shade. Propagation: Clump division, or rhizome. See Thai Heliconia - varieties Gallery.
A truly spectacular hanging heliconia, H.vellerigera is a solid orange-red color with brilliant white hairs. It is a medium sized heliconia, reaching 6-7 feet tall. The leaves are light purple on the underside. Blooms throughout the year. See Thai Heliconia - varieties Gallery.
A very upright growing heliconia, rauliniana has red/yellow bracts the twist as they open. Inflorescence consisting of 10 to 15 spirally arranged bracts. It is a strong grower, and blooms freely in warmer months.