Heliconia stricta ‘Dwarf Jamaican’

3 Mar

Heliconia stricta 'Dwarf Jamaican' (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Heliconia stricta ‘Dwarf Jamaican’ (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: All year round

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 80cm

Eventual Spread: 1m

Hardiness: 10a, 10b, 11, 12

Family: Heliconiaceae

Heliconia stricta ‘Dwarf Jamaican’ is an evergreen tropical perennial. Its dark green leathery leaves are ovate with entire margins, up to 80cm long and 25cm across.  Its flowers are insignificant, however the flowers are contained with red/ orange bracts. Its roots have fleshy rhizomes which aids its spread.

Heliconia stricta 'Dwarf Jamaican' Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Heliconia stricta ‘Dwarf Jamaican’ Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

The species Heliconia stricta, commonly known as Lobster Claw Red Heliconia, is native to a large part of tropical South America. The variety Heliconia stricta ‘Dwarf Jamaican’ is commonly known as Dwarf Jamaican Heliconia.

The etymological root of the binomial name Heliconia is named after the Greek mountain Mount Helicon. Stricta is from the Latin meaning ‘tight or close’.

The landscape architect may find Heliconia stricta ‘Dwarf Jamaican’ useful as an attractive foliage and flowering house plant, suitable for bright conditions.

Heliconia stricta 'Dwarf Jamaican' Flower (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Heliconia stricta ‘Dwarf Jamaican’ Flower (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Heliconia stricta ‘Dwarf Jamaican’ is of little value to UK wildlife.

Heliconia stricta ‘Dwarf Jamaican’ prefers moist, fertile, humus rich, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

When maintaining Heliconia stricta ‘Dwarf Jamaican’ as a houseplant its soil should be watered regularly. Watering should be reduced during the winter months. Its preferred active growing temperature rages from between 18ºc to 24ºc, it will tolerate a temperature as low as 16ºc. Feeding with weak fertiliser solution should be carried out once a month during the growing season. Mealy Bugs may attack this plant. The old flowering bracts may be removed to keep a tidy appearance.

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