The Q&A Archives: heliconia rostrata

Question: I've had my plants for almost 9 years, and they have never bloomed, they just spread. What am I doing wrong. Also something is eating the leaves.

Answer: Lobster claw, or Heliconia rostrata, should grow well in your gardening region but doesn't flower as reliably in central Florida as it does in southern Florida. The climate is just different enough that it may refuse to bloom, especially if it isn't getting quite enough sunshine. It will grow in the shade but will flower best if it gets a few hours of morning sunshine. So, the combination of too much shade and the wrong climate are probably why yours won't flowers. Here are the ones that we have found suitable for Central Florida: Heliconia angusta ?Holiday? is a dwarf variety that only grows 2 ?3 feet tall. It bears red inflorescences with white flowers
during Christmas time. Heliconia densiflora ?Fire Flash? is also a smaller plant reaching 3-4 feet tall. It bears reddish-orange inflorescences. Heliconia psittacorum has dozens cultivars and several of these are widely available at
nurseries and gardens centers. ?Andromeda? is a dwarf, growing 1-2 feet tall with orange inflorescences. The others commonly found can reach 3-5 feet tall. These include ?Lady Di? with red bracts and yellow flowers, ?Kathy? with orangish-red bracts and orange flowers and ?Strawberries and Cream? with strawberry-red bracts and pale yellow flowers. There are many medium sized Heliconias that can be grown in our climate. These plants typically grow in the 4 to 6 feet tall range. Heliconia
hirsuta ?Peru? grows on very slender stems to about 4-5 feet tall. It bears small, reddishorange inflorescences. Heliconia lingulata has leaves that are large and oval in shape. The inflorescences are bright orangish-yellow. The cultivar ?Fan? is
usually seen. ?Spiral Fan? has inflorescences with a spiral arrangement. Heliconia
lingulata is another species that will bloom on stalks less than a year old.
Heliconia orthotricha ?Eden Pink? grows 5 to 6 feet tall with pink and white
inflorescences. Heliconia pendula bears inflorescences that are pendulant or hang down from the plant and grows 5 to 6 feet tall.

Because there are so many that perform well in central Florida, you might consider replacing yours with some that bloom reliably.

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