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Types of Caribbean Flowers

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Types of Caribbean Flowers

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The Caribbean is spans both tropical and sub-tropical climate zones. The combination of temperature, humidity and rainfall makes the Caribbean ideal for many types of flowers considered exotic in North America. Although the Caribbean has a number of native flowers, introduced species, like hibiscus, do exceptionally well in the islands.

Ixora

Ixora is a tropical evergreen shrub that grows in the Caribbean. Ixora are native to Asia and India. Ixora is sometimes called West Indian jasmine. Ixora grows in a wide range of soil types, including loam, clay and sand. It does best in a slightly acidic soil that drains well. Ixora flowers can be red, orange, yellow, or white. Ixora grows in the United States in the United States Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zone 10. It grows on the southern tip of Florida and along the central and on the central and southern coasts of California. You can also grow it outdoors in small pockets of southern California and a small pocket of southwestern Arizona. It also grows well outdoors in Hawaii. In other areas, ixora must be grown indoors.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus flowers in a variety of colors, including pink, red, yellow, white and multi-color. Hibiscus, a native to China, is a tropical flower that grows exceptionally well in the Caribbean. Most hibiscus flowers are a one day flower that blooms in the morning and wilts by afternoon. A few varieties have flowers that survive for two days. Hibiscus grows well in a variety of soils, but prefers neutral to slightly acidic soils that drain well. Different varieties of hibiscus can grow in USDA Climate Zones 6 through 10. Hibiscus will grow from the Pacific Northwest through the southern one-third of the United States and up along the east coast.

Flamingo Flower

The flamingo flower is a popular flower that grows well in the Caribbean. The plant on which these flowers grow have large, heart-shaped dark glossy green leaves. The red heart-shaped flowers look like they are waxed. The tall, yellow bracts on these flowers are puckered and look like they are lacquered. Flamingo flowers grow to about 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. They grow best in acidic sand and loam. The flamingo flower grows outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 10b and 11, meaning it only grows on the southern tip of Florida and southern California coast. It also grows well outdoors in Hawaii. In other places, you must grow this flower indoors.

Lobster Claw

Lobster claw, or Heliconia psittacorum, is produced extensively for the cut flower industry in the United States and the Caribbean. The yellow and red flowers on this plant look very much like a series of lobster claws. It blooms year around. Lobster claw is native to the Caribbean. Related to the flamingo flower, they grow best in acidic sand and loam. Unlike the flamingo flower, the flowers on the lobster claw grow in a downward trailing fashion. This flower is sometimes called the parakeet flower. The lobster claw grows outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 10b and 11. You can grow it outside on the southern tip of Florida and southern California coast. It also grows outdoors in Hawaii. In other places, you must grow this flower indoors.

Keywords: Caribbean horticulture, Caribbean gardening, Caribbean flower

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.