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!