Alphabetical Plant Listing

Heliconia rostrata (Hanging Lobster Claw)

False Bird of Paradise, Hanging Lobster Claw, Crab Claw, Hanging Parrot’s Beak, Lobster Claw, Parrot’s Beak Heliconia


One of the most ornamental and cultivated species of Heliconia, Heliconia rostrata (Hanging Lobster Claw) is a large evergreen perennial boasting huge, leathery, banana-like, dark green leaves, up to 4 ft. long (120 cm). Borne on long petioles, they arise directly from the rhizomatous rootstock. In spring and summer, showy flower clusters hang from the 3-5 ft. stems (90-150 cm). Each inflorescence is made up of bright red bracts, each tipped with yellow and green, with yellowish-white flowers. The flowers produce an abundance of nectar and attract hummingbirds. They are followed by fleshy, rounded, dark blue fruits. Great for tropical gardens, the blossoms last for weeks and are excellent in flower arrangements.

  • Grows up to 4-6 ft. tall (120-180 cm) and 3-6 ft. wide (90-180 cm).
  • Performs best in full sun or slight shade in humus-rich, constantly moist, acidic or neutral, well-drained soils. Watering must be regular and abundant in summer, letting the soil to partially dry up before watering again. Fertilize with slow-release balanced products with addition of microelements. Protect from strong winds.
  • Cut out faded flower stems and damaged or dying leaves.
  • Keep an eye out for glasshouse red spider mite, mealybugs, snails, phytophthora root rot and pythium stem.
  • Propagate by seed sown in heat in spring, or by division in spring.
  • Native to Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

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Requirements

Hardiness 10 – 11
Climate Zones 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Perennials
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 4' – 6' (120cm – 180cm)
Spread 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spacing 36" – 60" (90cm – 150cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Loam
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Attracts Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden

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By Jess Kraft, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 10 – 11
Climate Zones 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Perennials
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 4' – 6' (120cm – 180cm)
Spread 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spacing 36" – 60" (90cm – 150cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Loam
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Attracts Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden

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