Heliconias are indigenous to the dry areas of America and Caribbean islands. Although studies show the existence of more than 300 hybrid varieties, only an approximate of 20 varieties are found in tropical areas. The heliconia resembles a plantain during its initial stages of growth.
The beautiful flower of this plant is in very high demand, especially in the cut flower market. While a bunch from this plant consists of less than 30 flowers, the price of is comparatively high. Heliconia is also popular by the names of false bird-of-paradise and wild plantain. Rostrata heliconia flowers look like the claws of a sea crab and such varieties are called lobster claws. The flower will remain fresh for a long period of time. These flowers can be used to create a sense of warmth in offices, hotels and homes alike. Heliconia has become a popular choice in many houses and public gardens. There are breeds that spread quickly and there are breeds that spread comparatively slowly. Caribaea, Imperial and Black magic are some of the varieties that do not spread quickly. They have gained importance in the commercial market segment.
One must have an idea about the selection of breed for cultivation. Always choose heliconia that produce the most flowers. Richmond Red and Firebird varieties give about 50 flowers while Irish Bonacci produces about 60 flowers. These breeds are an excellent choice for commercial cultivation. The variety, Prince of Darkness is in high demand despite the fact that only 30 bunches are produced every year. It is harvested all across the world due to its high demand. Special care must be taken in order to avoid the plant stem from extending to the sides through the soil because this can seriously affect the growth of nearby plants. Fireflash, Psittacorum and sharoni are small varieties of the plant that can be grown in pots.
A wide variety of heliconia flowers are available in the market, growing up to a length of 1.5 meters. Bright Red, Chartreuse, Rostrata, Pendula, Chartacea and Collinsiana bear flowers that hang from the plant. But Bihai, Caribaea, and Stricta are some varieties that bear erect flowers. These plants have adapted well to the tropical climate.