Heliconia Hirsuta "Costa Flores"

I'm so lucky that these survived my north Florida winter!  These opening inflorescences are only the tip of the iceberg, and about 5 to 6 more bracts will open up on each cane and stay in color for months.  When I purchased the plant early January, there were still attractive bracts on the ragged plants to give me an idea as to how they'd look.

"Costa Flores" has really taken off in the moist soil of my garden after winter, and a little protection has gone a long way.  I ended up having to cut back all of the stems, but regrowth started in no time at all, even as the days were still somewhat cold!  As I've stated in previous posts, this year I'll divide and replant half of the heliconia in a container and protect the other half with heavy mulching and a blanket.

If you grow heliconias yourself, don't forget to use the long lasting spikes for flower arrangements!  These can be pretty pricey at the florist, but by growing your own stock you have the opportunity to harvest as needed!

Here's another one of the blooms, with one of the orange flowers poking out of the first bract!

Here's a shot of the whole plant,  Many more blooms to come!

Even though retailers like Home Depot stock heliconias like this in summer here in Jacksonville, I hear a lot of complaints that they're misrepresented as "Cold Hardy" simply by selling them outside their zone.  It would be a shame if they didn't, since then we wouldn't have the opportunity to try growing them at all!  

Even if you're sure they won't last in your winter, forgo the usual purchase of annuals and get one of these dramatic showstoppers instead.  Plant it by the pool, site it by the front door, or even pot it up so you can move it indoors in freezes!  There is no excuse not to try a heliconia.  They're much easier than you think!


  1. Heliconia flowers are always so showy and dramatic. When all those buds open, yours will look deadly gorgeous! Looks like you already made the plan for their winter protection :)

  2. Hi,
    Thought I would pop by to visit and I'm so glad that I did because I was not familiar with this heliconia. We grow lots of heliconias down here but I've never seen this beauty. Congrats on the beautiful blooms.

  3. My heliconia took a hit this winter and so far the plant is back but no flowers.

  4. Easier than people think, yes, but mine (H. psittacorum 'Bright Lights') was a nightmare with spider mites last winter, which makes me less enthusiastic about them than I was last summer.

  5. thats looking good, rainforest gardener, and yes I think Heleconias are hardier than people think. I just love the fact that the flowers stay looking good for so long. Remember that once it has flowers that whole "section" must be cut back as they only flower once. Cutting it back will make it send out new shoots.

  6. Very pretty bloom and healthy looking leaves too. I have never had any luck with heliconias. Maybe I'll take your suggestion and try growing one in a container.

  7. How sweet! I am happy you encourage us to try, at least! It sure is worth a try for this beauty!!!

  8. This skinny looking one is quite unusual. And will definitely look nicer as part of flower arrangement.

  9. In my area, HD and Lowe's make no bones about the heliconia's cold tenderness. They sell them in the "houseplant" section. As well, they sell the arboricola and peace lilies in that section, though I've had a lot of success with those right in the ground. Some winters they are damaged, some they are unscathed, but they always look healthy by summer. As a matter of fact, I don't think they're any less cold-hardy than the ti plants and crotons that we usually see sold in the "landscape shrubs" section.

  10. Ami:
    This will definitely be the one plant I baby over winter!

    My Chutney Garden:
    I love your blog, and thanks for stopping by!

    Rusty in Miami:
    What kind of heliconia is it? I know that some are hardier than others, and the size can make it take longer to recover. At least it survived!

    I suppose that overwintering it is easier if you only have to bring it in on freezing nights... I guess there are less of those here to worry about. Did you try misting the leaves every couple of days? I would even consider cutting some of the stems back to improve circulation and make it easier to maintain if you try it again.

    african aussie:
    Yup, I plan on doing that, also to keep it looking nice. If I end up getting another kind this summer I might end up trying to get some seeds.

    If you do, just be sure to give them lots of water! They love it!

    Its fun to try growing new things! Yay!

    The flowers will unfold new bracts too, but I agree that they look elegant even while skinny and unopened.

    You know, I also had a hard time finding tropical landscape plants in your area and around Brandon and Tampa. I'm sure it has more to do with the regional management than the company policies... they also consider Tampa and Jacksonville to be in the same climate so the selection is identical.


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