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HELICONIA psittacorum 'Andromeda'

Image of Heliconia psittacorum 'Andromeda'

Carol Cloud Bailey

Family

Heliconiaceae

Botanical Name

HELICONIA psittacorum 'Andromeda'

Plant Common Name

Parakeet Flower

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Parakeet flower is an everblooming, tropical plant that produces an abundance of bright flowers above clumps of lush, evergreen leaves. It is native to the moist areas of the Lesser Antilles to northern South America. With good care, it looks great all year around.

This vigorous ornamental spreads by rhizomes and has long, banana-like leaves that are dark green and tatter easily in strong winds. The flowers are borne atop long, smooth, green flower stalks that are held above the leaves. They are comprised of red, orange-red or orange showy bracts (modified petal-like leaves) that hold small, tubular flowers. Each true flower may be yellow, red, orange or green and have a dark spot at the end, which makes it look like a parrot’s tongue. Hummingbirds pollinate the blooms and the small drupe fruits that follow are blue-black.

Parakeet flower grows best in full sun to partial shade and organic-rich, evenly moist soil with good drainage. Established plants will tolerate short periods of drought. Fertilize regularly for best performance and remove tattered or browning leaves to keep it looking clean and attractive. This cold sensitive species will quickly die if subjected to frost.

Be aware that this is a strong spreader that will fill a bed quickly and may even become invasive. In tropical zones it is grown as a landscape plant. Those living in temperate regions can grow it as a houseplant or conservatory specimen, though regular division and pot upgrades are required. Its elegant, tropical flowers are long lasting when cut and look great in bright, colorful arrangements.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    2'-8' / 0.6m - 2.4m

  • Width

    5'-12' / 1.5m - 3.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Latin America and the Caribbean

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Thicket/Colonizing

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Yellow, Red, Green, Orange

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Fruit Color

    Red, Orange

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Groundcover, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes