cut flower of the month
HELICONIA CARIBAEA ‘FLASH’ WILD PLANTAIN, BALISIER
BOTANICAL NAME Heliconia spp. (hel-i-KO-nee-a) COMMON NAMES Lobster claw, False bird-of-paradise, Parrotflower DESCRIPTION Heliconias are grown for their brilliant, unusual flower heads (bracts), which rise from clusters of bananalike leaves. Heliconias’ size and height vary greatly depending on thespecies. Some are as short as 2 feet tall, and some grow to 25 feet in height. The colorful bracts may be erect, pendulous or spiraling. COLORS Most Heliconias have more than one color in the blossoms. Thecolors include hues of red, pink, yellow, orange, green and white. VASE LIFE Consumers can enjoy Heliconia flowers for up to three weeks, depending on variety and the care and handling the flowersreceive.
BLOOMS Heliconia blossoms need to be harvested and chosen at their peak of maturity because they do not develop after they are cut. Look for blossoms that have high gloss and vivid color.Avoid blossoms that are creased or marred. Don’t purchase Heliconias too far in advance.
H. CHARTACEA ‘SEXY PINK’
H. WAGNERIANA RAINBOW HELICONIA EASTERHELICONIA
Heliconias are available year-round.
PROCESSING TIPS Do not submerge Heliconias in water, as is often done with gingers and Anthuriums. To remove the white powder thatoften covers the flower heads, stems and leaves, sponge the areas with a room-temperature solution of soap that contains a few drops of cooking oil, rinse with fresh water and allow to dry. Plant shineproducts also can be used; follow label instructions. REFRIGERATION Heliconias are sensitive to low temperatures, which can cause them to turn a bluish or gray color, so never expose them totemperatures below 55 F.
H. VELLERIGERA ‘SHE KONG’
H. ANGUSTIFOLIA HOLIDAY HELICONIA
WATER Check the water level daily, and add warm flower-food solution as...