Our selection this month comes from the very warm, humid Atlantic Plains of Costa Rica in Central America. 

Bordered by Panama to the South and Nicaragua to the North, Costa Rica has only 0.03% of the Earth’s land mass surface, but contains nearly 6% of the entire world’s biodiversity. With microclimates that include very warm somewhat flat Plains to subtropical rain forests to towering volcanoes, the country is ideal for the cultivation of the world’s most beautiful tropical flowers.

During the warm summer months, most flowers are challenged by the harsh conditions of the season. On the Plains, day time temperatures easily run in the 90’s, with the humidity in the 90+% range. Cooled and drenched by ample rainfall and excellent growing conditions, the featured flower in this month’s collection is a medium HELICONIA.

Accenting the Heliconia is the awesome color of the RED GINGER, also known as Alpinia Purpurata, which rounds out the vibrant color palette.

Foliage visually pulls the bouquet all together. The greens used in your Costa Rica Summer Collection include a Manchado Tip (green and white tip), a stem of the Phoenix Palm, plus stems of Black Ti (pronounced tee), and  the ever popular Hala Leaf. Add your personal touch in choice of form and container.


There are approximately 200 species of Heliconia in as many sizes. They are all native to the Americas, the Pacific Islands and Indonesia. In Costa Rica (from where this month’s selection from your favorite Flower of the Month Club is imported), Heliconias are found growing wild throughout the country.

The oblong leaves of the plant are found in lengths ranging from a demure 6 inches to oar-length 10 footers. (The enclosed medium size is found somewhere in the middle.) The leaves grow opposite one another on non-woody petioles that often grow longer than the leaf, exceeding 10 foot in length. They usually form large clumps as they age.

The flowers are produced on long, erect or drooping panicles, and consist of brightly colored waxy bracts, with small true flowers that peak out from the interior of the bracts. The growth habit is similar to the banana plant, to which the Heliconia is related.


1)  Your favorite Flower of the Month Club recommends immersing the flowers in room temperature water for 5 minutes to bring them to room temperature.

2)  When arranging, remove all foliage that will fall below the water line of the vase. Cut off one-quarter to one-half inch from each stem, at an angle*, being careful to avoid stem damage. Use a very sharp knife, with the cut made under running water or submerged in water. Immediately place the stems in the water-filled container, and be sure to add the enclosed plant food to enhance the life of the bouquet.

3)  In all cases, the water should be cool, about the same as your own body temperature. For longest vase life, replace the water every two to three days, and re-cut all stems.

4)  If a stem appears to need a little lift, revive it by recutting the stem (again, under warm water), and then laying the entire flower in that same warm water. When revived (about thirty minutes), you can return it to your arrangement.

5)  Keep flowers away from drafts and sources of heat. Do not refrigerate. These flowers prefer a cool, dark environment at night.

*An angle cut keeps the stem from resting flat on the bottom of the vase, which inhibits water absorption.


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Tracie Burket
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