Heliconia Plant, Barbados Pocket Guide


The heliconia plant (Heliconia rostrata) like the ginger lilly, is quite popular in floral arrangements on the island of Barbados. Commonly referred to as lobster claw or bird of paradise, this herbaceous perennial native to the north western region of South America is often used as an illustrative piece for tropical gardens because of its unique characteristics. They can be seen throughout the island of Barbados in gardens for their beautiful, brilliant, colorful flowering bracts.


Heliconia plants landscape and create colour throughout gardens all across Barbados. These attractive and stunningly beautiful colours associated with the heliconia serve as primary sources of attraction for hummingbirds pollinating the flower.



The heliconia leaf carries a similar appearance to that of the banana leaf. The flowers are mostly hidden by its large, multi-colour bracts and varied flower structure. The flowers of the heliconias are produced on long, erect or drooping panicles (loose, branching clusters of flowers) and consist of brightly colored waxy bracts. The actual heliconia flower is fairly insignificant and is hidden inside the bracts. What most people refer to as the 'flower' is actually a group of colourful specialised leaves, called bracts.


A Few Fun Facts About Heliconias

Heliconia is named after Mount Helicon, the seat of the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts and sciences in Greek mythology
The Heliconia's bracts are so large and colorful that they almost hide the flowers altogether. This keeps the flower's sweet nectar from other birds so that only specialized birds can get to it
Heliconias can actually grow to a height of 3-30 feet
Some species of Heliconia have upright facing flowers
Some heliconia flowers droop down from the main stem and are called hanging heliconia

Some of the commonly grown heliconia species include garden species include Heliconia Augusta, Heliconia bihai, Heliconia brasiliensis, Heliconia caribaea, Heliconia latispatha, Heliconia pendula, Heliconia psittacorum, Heliconia rostrata, Heliconia schiediana, and Heliconia wagneriana


Ideal Plant Conditions

Warmth and humidity are the general climatic conditions required for the healthy growth and development of heliconias. Their soil preference is one that drains well and that is kept fertilised with highly organic matter. It is recommended that all dead leaves and stems are removed and that mulching becomes a necessary part of the plant's life so as to retain moisture around the root system and aid in the control of weeds.


2019 BPG SunAds bit
2019 BPG SunAds imart