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Heliconia schiedeana

Hardy Lobster Claw

A medium sized Heliconia that reaches between 1.2 and 2.4 m (4 and 8 ft.) tall and produces upright inflorescences with showy, bright red bracts and yellow flowers in summer. Native to southern Mexico, it is one of the hardiest Heliconias and one of the few that will succeed in cooler climates, down to USDA Zone 8. It will be killed to the ground by a freeze but comes back in spring from the underground rhizome.

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germination comments by our visitors
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Also see plant cultivation comments below.

Seeds from this species ...

... are average to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Lightly scarified seeds before soaking - soaked for two days with water changes. Planted on surface of moist germination mix (peat/vermiculite/perlite) in clear plastic bag, placed on top of grow lights for bottom heat. First germination noted after 14 days, latest at 34 days; so far (80+ days) approximately 17% germination. Based on experience with other Heliconia spp., I would not be surprised to have more seeds germinate during the next few months. Seedlings transplanted at 40 and 80 days - not delicate, growing well under lights in potting mix.
Submitted on 20/12/2009 by E. Ulaszek

... are average to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Soaked seeds for 2 days in boiled water and placed in seed compost in a sealed container. The container was placed in a heated propagator at 30 degrees for 12 hours then removed and placed in a cool place for 12 hours, kept this cycle up for about 5 weeks, had one out of ten germinate so far. I've heard they are almost as difficult as bananas to germinate, but this doesn't seem to be the case for this species of heliconia.
Submitted on 23/02/2009 by James Moore

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

... are of high ornamental value
In East coast of the North Island in New Zealand they need very little care and grow very fast.
I have this plant outside in a warm temperate garden, zone 9, with a winter night time low of 3 degrees celcius, . It flourishes and even flowers over the winter though the cold winds make the leaves look torn and not as lush. The plant is 6 years old and flowered on it's third year and is now a large clump with growth approximately 2 metres high. I have it in a coastal garden with the original plant in full sun/part shade and I have planted divisions of it in a neigbouring garden in full sun with the same results. The original plant was a small rhizome with a single shoot when I planted it and it grew quickly with no added fertilizer and in clay soil. It gets a lot of rain over the winter months and often puts up with drought conditions over summer. It looks best with watering but as we rely on rain water for our own fresh water supply, it doesn't get a lot. It can take light frosts and be just as rewarding to grow. Although not the most showy of heliconia flowers this is the perfect cold hardy heliconia and does provide spectacular colour in full flower while providing a true tropical look to the garden
Submitted on 19/11/113 by Mandy Angus

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If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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