Heliconia psittacorum (commonly known as parrot’s flower, parrot’s beak, false bird-of-paradise) is an ornamental, perennial herb grows up to 1 m to 3 m height. Heliconia psittacorum plant has reed-like stems and long, pointy banana-like, red-edged leaves with a coppery sheen. The attractive leaves have prominent midribs in shades of pink and ivory. The blooms are erect, 9 cm long with long bracts 3 – 15 cm, usually orange and red at the top. The blooms are two to five cm long, they are tubular, orange, yellow or green top with dark green or black. The fruits are rounded, 1 cm wide, yellowish to dark blue at maturity and they contain 3 seeds. It is a great garden and container plants.
Scientific Name: Heliconia psittacorum
Synonyms: Bihai cannoidea, Bihai psittacorum, Heliconia andrewsii, Heliconia ballia.
Common Names: Parrot’s beak, Parakeet flower, Parrot’s flower, Parrot’s plantain, False bird-of-paradise.
How to grow and maintain Heliconia psittacorum:
Heliconia psittacorum requires bright light to bloom. Keep your plant at least 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight.
It grows well in moderately fertile, well-drained but moist, rich organic mix soil.
It requires an average to warm temperature between 65°F – 80°F / 18°C – 27°C days. It will endure nighttime temperatures as low as 55°F / 13°C.
Water regularly, keep the soil evenly moist but never allow your plant to sit in water. Allow the topsoil to become slightly dry between each watering.
Fertilize parakeet flower plant every two weeks in spring and summer with a 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Do not fertilize in fall and winter.
It can be easily propagated by seed or by the division of rhizomes. Divide rhizomes in spring and pot separately.
Prune the plant occasionally to prevent fungal infections around the roots. Expel the dead leaves and small plants that have finished blossoming to promote more blooming.
Pests and Diseases:
There is no serious pest and disease problems. Watch for spider mites and mealybugs. Parrot’s beak is mostly subjected to bacterial infections which can be evacuated by using appropriate pesticides.