Wild plantain, Heliconia
One of the Caribbean's biggest flower
Massive plants, up to 6m tall, resemble to bananas in dense clumps. Erect floral displays up to 50cm long. This is an eye catching erect bract of striking red tips. Fairly dense habit when less than 3 years old, but can spread fast in the tropics. Leaf stalks may reach up to 6m in shade but only 2m in full sun. Can bloom all the year in tropical climates but tends to flower mainly in summer in other places.
Each stem can only flower once, after which the entire stem deteriorates, dries up and collapses.
The spread can be controlled by first installing a root barrier into the soil, then planting the Heliconia. Every 3 years or so, the entire clump is dug up and a young division is replaced in the hole.
Tropical rainforest (altitude 50 à 500m)
Seeds or rhizoms
Culture and care
Their requirements are simple: fertile well drained soil, warm humid temperatures and adequate water.
In areas where rainfall is low, additional irrigation is important.
Heavy mulching is recommended to protect the soil from drying out, and to enhance the soil organic matter.
Heleconias may be grown in pots or in the ground.
In the tropics plant Heleconias just before the wet season commences for best results.
Heleconias may die back in winter but will flower from summer through autumn.
Heliconias like HUMIDITY!!!
- Ornemental use
Very nice indoor plant. Can be planted as a single plant or in edge. Tropical cut flower.
Heliconia is for Mount Helicon, Boetea, Greece, sacred to the Muses of mythology. Caribaea is for the origin.
In the West Indies, wild plantain were planted to indicate a path (beacon)
Water collects in the bracts of the straight stems, which provides a habitat for many species of tiny aquatic organisms. Many other animals depend on the heliconia as well. Hummingbirds and butterflies like to drink the sweet nectar from the heliconia’s flowers.
It is used as ornemental and tropical cut flowers