Heliconia rostrata

Lobster Claw Plant
False Bird of Paradise

The pendant red and yellow bracts of Heliconia rostrata make it one of the most rewarding tropical plants you can grow. It is commonly called the lobster claw plant because of the shape of its flower bracts which can appear at any time during the growing season.

Pendant Heliconia rostrata.

The hanging inflorescences of this pendant Heliconia may be up to 3 feet long.

The bracts are mostly red but turn yellow at the tips. Long lasting when cut, they are excellent additions to floral arrangements.

The dramatic leaves are also useful in the vase.

The foliage of H. rostrata is much like that of a banana plant or a bird of paradise.

In fact, another name for it is False Bird of Paradise.

Heliconia rostrata grows from underground tubers, producing canes as tall as 8 feet. The tubers multiply below ground and will form a clump in time. The blooms form on year-old canes so avoid removing canes that have not yet flowered.

Growing The Lobster Claw Plant

Heliconias For Sale

Plant tubers or potted plants away from high winds in a semi-shady spot. They need some sun but full, all-day sun may be too much.

Give the plants a slow release fertilizer in the spring. Then use a liquid fertilizer monthly throughout spring and summer.

Heliconia Plant Care Tip: If your plant becomes spindly and begins to bloom poorly, you are not feeding it enough.

If you want to use a granular for the monthly feedings, a palm fertilizer will meet Heliconia's nutritional needs. Keep plants evenly moist--almost wet. Grow them much the way you would canna lilies.

After they bloom, canes should be cut to the ground.

Heliconia clumps need to be dug up and divided every few years or they will loose vigor. Replenish the soil with rich organic compost and fertilizer before replanting the divisions.

Heliconia rostrata is native to Central and South America, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. This tender perennial can only be grown in the ground in zone 9b or warmer. In colder zones grow them in pots and protect them during the winter.

Images of Heliconia Tropical Flowers

Heliconia psttacorum picture.

Heliconia psittacorum

Heliconia (center), bird of paradise and Anthurium flowers in an arrangement.

Heliconia and bird of paradise in a flowerr arrangement.

and Gingers

Heliconias and gingers usesd in a flower arrangement on Maui

Heliconias and gingers are the most striking flowers in this arrangement.

The bold foliage at the base comes from the swiss cheese plant and variegated pothos which grows to mammoth proportions when allowed to climb.

What Do Heliconias and Gingers Have in Common?

Ornamental ginger plant photo.

Ornamental Ginger Plant

You can see the similarities in this photo. Both plants grow from underground rhizomes. Both flower on tall, upright stalks which die after blooming. Both sport broad, bright to dark green leaves that are longer than they are wide.

Heliconias and gingers enjoy similar growing conditions and their flowers look great together in the landscape as well as in the vase.

Other Beautiful Tropical Plants

The Giant Crinum Lily

Medinilla myriantha: Ornamental Malaysian Grapes

The Anabolic Split-Leaf Philodendron

Cocos nucifera Facts, Photos and Growing Tips

Easy-to-Grow Tropical Houseplants

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