Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Their claws are showing

Despite its abundance, the Lobster Claw heliconia (Heliconia rostrata) is still one of the undisputed favorites in the Heliconia family. This popularity is due to the exotic, bright and colorful inflorescense it produces and the way it is displayed, hanging boldly like an elegant pendant. Its unique presentation of red and yellow bracts are the real attraction rather than the actual flowers.

A flowering but sad-looking image of a Lobster Claw heliconia.
When I asked my mother to take pictures of the Lobster Claws in our garden, what I meant was the rows of Lobster Claws in the nursery which she had been proudly bragging as lush, beautiful and vigorous.

Imagine my dismay when I received an e-mail with an attached image of this one lousy potted plant (left image). Although it had beautiful flowers, the blooms could not hide its lanky, lonely and lamentable disposition.

Disappointed, I called home with an audibly disgusted tone. I asked about the honest to goodness state of the heliconias we bought over a year ago and those they bought a couple of months later. What happened to all of them? Is this the only one that survived?

The rows of energetic Lobster Claws in our nursery.

Mom said they are all in good state, healthy and constantly producing new shoots that she took them out of their plastic containers and planted them directly to the ground, in fact some are very much in bloom. Whenever possible, she would separate some new shoots and grow them in plastic bags.

A cluster of Lobster Claw heliconia in a state of bloom.

It turned out, she delegated the task of taking pictures to my brother, who may have been too lazy to walk a few steps out into the nursery that he just took a snapshot of the closest Lobster Claw he could find. Knowing my brother, that's the most probable explanation.

A closer look at the dense growth of Lobster Claw heliconias.

This time, Mom took the pictures of the said heliconias herself, and now I know she has the reason to be really proud of our Lobster Claws. Aside from those left planted in black plastic containers, there are these two rows of thick clumps of Lobster Claws growing and multiplying in the nursery.

All of these heliconias will soon be moved to the upper garden as soon as the rainfall becomes constant. I would love for them to grow lush and thick in their future site, just like the way they are now in the nursery.