Probably the best known tropical cut flower, heliconias are big, brightly coloured flowers that look great in large arrangements. They come in three main types: the large glossy crab claws, pendulous Sexy Pink, or more delicate parrot flowers. They are often sold with their glossy attractive leaves, which can either be used with the flower or separately in other arrangements. The coloured ‘flowers’ are actually bracts – the small true flowers can sometimes be seen peeping out between the bracts.
Heliconias come in a range of colours – mostly red, yellow, or orange, sometimes with green stripes. The ‘Sexy Pink’ range are pink, but can also be red.
They are grown in tropical areas in QLD, and to a lesser extent in the Northern Territory. Imported heliconia come mostly from Hawaii, Indonesia or Malaysia.
Types: Crab Claws, Sexy Pink, Parrot Flower
What to look for
- Flowers (bracts) should be fully developed, glossy and open;
- Avoid bunches with brown flowers, as this can mean chilling injury.
- Never refrigerate.
- Recut at least 2 to 4cm off each stem with sharp secateurs and place in water immediately.
- Preservative is optional.
- Replace water every day – these large flowers are thirsty.
- Misting is recommended as they like high humidity.
Interesting Facts about this Flower
In the wild heliconias are an important food source for hummingbirds.
Botanical Name: Heliconia caribae, H. rostrata, H psittacorum
Common Names: Crab Claws, Parrot Flower, Sexy Pink
Stem Length: 30 to 100 cm
Country of Origin: Central America
Available Colours: Pink, Red, Yellow