Thursday, December 10, 2015
Bracts cascade in fountains of color – from shimmery red with midnight tips to blush pink and candy corn orange. Shaped like lobster claws, parrots beaks, and torches with a waxy sheen or fuzzy exterior, heliconias are some of nature’s most fantastic creations
When we fall in love with the flower, we’re not actually in love with the flower of the heliconia, instead its bracts. These bracts steal the show from the tiny flowers that are tucked within them. But they serve their purpose, as they protect the flower and its nectar from most animals, reserving the sweet honey for the heliconia’s greatest pollinator – the hummingbird. And, like bromeliads, the bracts in heliconias house many beetles, mosquito larvae, and other tropical insects.
The Heliconiacaea family, cousin of the banana, has over 200 registered species that look like they’ve come straight from a science fiction movie. Once considered weeds because they are so common in the tropical region, these exotic flowers have made their way into the mainstream flower market, as their beauty has captured the hearts and imaginations of florists around the world.
Because the heliconia ranges in size from 1.5 to 15 feet with Jurassic Park leaves that grow as big as ten feet, the possibilities for tropical flower arrangements are endless. Popular for events, weddings, and hotel decorations, heliconias add splashes of color and an exotic feel to every arrangement.
Here are some tips on how to care for and arrange your beautiful tropical flower arrangement of heliconias:
1. Get a heavy vase. These flowers aren’t dainty – usually. So make sure you have a sturdy vase that won’t tip over with their weight.
2. If using floral foam, soak it with warm water in the vase until it sinks to the bottom.
3. When vase water comes to room temperature, add the preservative packet that came with your flowers.
4. Wipe off dusty bracts with a warm washcloth.
5. Cut the stems diagonally approximately one inch from the bottom.
7. Replace water every few days until your flowers start to lose their sheen.
8. Dried heliconia flowers are gorgeous. So consider hanging them until they’ve dried to keep them year ‘round.
Heliconias and the flower arrangements made with them can be anything from delicate, using the heliconia family’s smallest species, to bold and audacious. Regardless of how you use them, they’ll captivate the attention of anyone who comes in the door. So, bring a taste of the tropics home today.
at 4:03 PM