Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Crab Claws, Hanging Lobster Claw
Heliconia rostrata

Family: Heliconiaceae
Genus: Heliconia (hel-ih-KOH-nee-uh) (Info)
Species: rostrata (ro-STRAY-tuh) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

23 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By Brugmania
Thumbnail #1 of Heliconia rostrata by Brugmania

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There are a total of 28 photos.
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5 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive juliefrdmn On Jun 5, 2014, juliefrdmn from Golden Beach, FL wrote:

I have about 10 Heliconia rostrata that are doing great in zone 11 South Florida, Miami area. They do best in partial shade but seem to thrive in any type of soil. They are planted about 800 feet away from the Atlantic Ocean on a salt water canal. They have no problem with salt tolerance or pests. They love to be watered frequently. They cannot tolerate wind and the shoots will easily break in high winds so plant them in a protected location. The ants seem to love the sap that comes out of the lobster claw flowers. The ants do not harm these plants and in fact the ants seem to keep other insects off my Heliconia rostrata. I have several plants that are 9 feet in height. My only problem is wind damage to the plants. The Heliconia rostrata gives your garden a real tropical feel. By Gregg L. Friedman MD

Negative eliasastro On Sep 30, 2011, eliasastro from Athens
Greece (Zone 10a) wrote:

A stunning tropical with fantastic inflorescence, but not suitable for outdoor growing even in the mildest parts of my country, because of low average winter temperatures (10C/50F in Athens to 13C/55C in the islands).
Rhizomes can survive in the winter, but dying back simply means no flowering, so a home greenhouse for overwintering is necessary for blooming. The dwarf - mini variety is more manageable for overwintering indoors and may be tried in a South facing window, with some direct sun. The standard variety is far too large for indoor growing.

Positive cgstoker On Jun 23, 2006, cgstoker from Tampa, FL wrote:

My potted lobster claw died back during the winter months in Tampa due to lack of care but actually rooted in the ground around the pot and came back the following Spring. I then dug it up and re-potted them into 2 pots and they are doing beautifully in full sun to partial shade depending on the time of day.

Positive SteveStrelitzia On May 15, 2006, SteveStrelitzia from Cape Coral, FL wrote:

Despite tattered leaves from Hurricane Wilma and a Spring long drought, I resisted cutting the pitiful looking canes to the ground.

My Heliconia rostrata has rewarded me with multiple blooms on last years canes.

Things that worked for me.
1) Plant in a wind protected eastern exposure for morning sun only.
2) Fertilize frequently with a slow realease granular fertilizer.
3) Monthly fertilize with a balanced water soluable fertilizer.
4) Keep evenly moist with frequent waterings.

Positive tremax On Aug 7, 2004, tremax from Delray Beach, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

They are doing beautifully in Delray Beach (zone 10).Growing in partial shade and proliferating nicely. Kept very wet.

Positive xyris On Jun 1, 2004, xyris from Sebring, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I am pleased to announce that my smaller Heliconia rostrata plants have started to flower as of the last week of May. I have tried to protect these from the coldest temps of the winter, and it seems to have worked. Note that this area had NO frost or freezing temperatures in the winter of 2003-2004, a bit unusual for us. I also have a huge clump about 8 feet in diameter and 7 feet tall that I think is this species, but it has not flowered yet. I hope for flowers this summer, if so, I will post pictures.

Neutral PanamonCreel On Dec 11, 2002, PanamonCreel from Celaya
Mexico (Zone 10a) wrote:

Heliconia Psittacorum is the smaller species of the Genus and usually stays around 2 feet tall. Mine was actually sold to me as a Heliconia rostrata (Hanging Lobster Claw) which can get 3 - 9 feet tall.
I've got my H. Psittacorum sitting on an South window in full sun which it seems to enjoy. Rhizomes, side shoots on plant grow quickly and can push the pot to it's limit in a short time period.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Boca Raton, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hollywood, Florida (2 reports)
Lake Worth, Florida
Loxahatchee, Florida
Miami, Florida (2 reports)
North Miami Beach, Florida
Orlando, Florida (2 reports)
Pompano Beach, Florida (2 reports)
Punta Gorda, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Satellite Beach, Florida
Sebring, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Venice, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Winter Haven, Florida
Yulee, Florida
Zephyrhills, Florida
Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii
Honomu, Hawaii
Haslett, Michigan
Biloxi, Mississippi
Vieques, Puerto Rico
Lafayette, Tennessee
Galveston, Texas
Mcallen, Texas
St John, Virgin Islands

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