Derived from the Greek word helikonios, Heliconia is a cousin to the banana and often mistaken for Bird-of-Paradise. Most species are native to South and Central America; however, a few have been naturalized in Florida. Common names for Heliconia include lobster-claws, wild plantains or false bird-of-paradise.
The unusual bracts appear in the warmer months of the year and will grow up to four feet tall (some varieties are much larger). It prefers partial shade and regular food and water to perform its best. Heliconia is not necessarily a good choice for every yard as it will spread three feet or more and needs an area where it’s allowed to do so. A landscape bed bordered by a walkway will help keep the spreading limited, but if you have the room, let Heliconia naturalize an area for a tropical look and feel.
Heliconia will add vibrant color, texture and interest to many areas of your home’s landscape — along a porch, patio, fence or around a tree. Visit your local nursery and pick out a variety suitable for your microclimate today, and then sit back, relax and watch Mother Nature at her best. Check out our portfolio for some ideas.