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This month’s featured bouquet hails from the Tropical Rain Forests 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 of subtropical rain forests to towering volcanoes, the country is ideal for the cultivation of the most beautiful Heliconias.

Heliconias are the focal point of your Rain Forest Bouquet including a gorgeous specimen of RED HELICONIA, accompanied by PSSITACORUM HELICONIA in brilliant red and yellow hues. We’ve added a smattering of RED GINGER, also known as Alpinia Purpurata, to round out the strong color palette. Foliage visually pulls the bouquet all together, and comes to you in the form of green TI (pronounced tee) LEAVES (Cordyline Fruitcosa) as well as a sampling of the CORDYLINE TIP FOLIAGE.

CARE TO KNOW A LITTLE MORE ABOUT HELICONIAS?

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. Heliconia is derived from the Greek word helikonios, and common names include Lobster Claws, Wild Plantains, and False Birds of Paradise.

The oblong leaves of the plant are found in lengths ranging from a demure 6 inches to oar-length 10 footers. 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.

In this plant’s native countries, it provides food and shelter for a variety of rain forest creatures. The flower is an important food source for humming-birds, and many, including the Rufous-breasted Hermit hummingbird, use the plant for nesting. Some bird species use carefully positioned leaves to make waterproof nests that resemble tents.

RAIN FOREST BOUQUET

1)  Your favorite Flower of the Month Club recommends immersing the entire contents of your shipment in room temperature water for a few minutes when you first unwrap them.

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 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.

3)  In all cases, the water should be just barely warm, a slightly higher temperature than 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 vase bottom, which inhibits water absorption.

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Tracie Burket
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