Heliconia is in a group of plants that may grow up to 15 feet (4.5 m.) tall in nature but likely only to 3 to 6 feet (1-2 m.) in a home landscape. They are not at all frost hardy, and therefore not suited for growing outdoors where cold temperatures are common. The thick bracts make excellent cut flowers with a long vase life. Leaves are glossy, green, oval, and paddle shaped. They grow in an upright habit with the flower stems in the center. Flower bracts are arranged in terminal racemes, which may be held erect or pendulant.
Heliconia lobster claw may be found in red, orange, or yellow, usually tipped with a bright gold splash. Flowers do not appear until this perennial is two years old.
There are three main species of lobster claw: giant, hanging or small lobster claw. The plants grow and propagate from underground rhizomes, which can be broken apart and used to start a new plant.