Parrot's Beak

One look at the flowers and you'll see where this tropical plant gets its name.

Colorful Combinations

The trailing silver foliage of parrot's beak works well with many other plants. The long and graceful stems are adorned with whorls of delicate, silvery green leaflets that give the whole plant a light and feathery appearance. The neutral foliage enhances any color combination, whether a warm or cool palette. And as long as the nights are cool, these plants will produce beautiful flowers. Curved hook-like petals are rounded in clusters of red, orange, and yellow blooms. The stunning blooms are almost orchid-like in their complexity.

Parrot's Beak Care Must-Knows

Parrot's beak is sensitive compared to other trailing annuals and a little tricky to grow. These plants like well-drained soil. They're likely to drop their leaves if they go too dry for too long. Be sure to water them well, especially in the summer heat. If you plan on growing parrot's beak for its blooms, keep in mind that they begin to flower when there are cool nights, so they'll generally grow best in the spring and fall. In warm tropical climates, they'll grow well in the winter.

To encourage beautiful blooms, grow parrot's beak in full sun. Full sun also promotes better branching as well as intense silver foliage. In part shade, branching is much more sparse, and leaves will take on more of a greenish hue. It may be best to give these plants some shade during hot afternoons in climates with hot summers.

When growing parrot's beak from seed or as young plants, pinch young growth early on to encourage branching. Otherwise, the plants will get leggy. If they lose vigor as they age, the plants can easily be cut back to spur a flush of new growth.

More Varieties of Parrot's Beak

Parrot’s Beak Overview

Description Parrot's beak is a stunning tropical plant that acts as both a groundcover and a trailing plant. With brilliant lacy silver foliage on graceful stems, these plants are stunning backdrops in the garden. Parrot's beak also features intricate flowers in stunning colors. During seasons with cool nights, the plants boast interesting curved blooms in all of the shades of a sunset, deep reds, oranges, and yellows blended together.
Genus Name Lotus berthelotii
Common Name Parrot’s Beak
Plant Type Annual, Perennial
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 6 to 12 inches
Width null to 2 feet
Flower Color Orange, Red
Foliage Color Gray/Silver
Season Features Fall Bloom, Spring Bloom, Winter Bloom
Special Features Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 11
Propagation Seed, Stem Cuttings
Problem Solvers Groundcover, Slope/Erosion Control

'Amazon Sunset' parrot's beak

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Lotus 'Amazon Sunset' blooms more frequently than most other parrot's beak varieties. It bears orange-red flowers.

Parrot's Beak Companion Plants

Angelonia

Angelonia Serena White
David Speer

Angelonia is also called summer snapdragon, and you'll know why once you get a good look at it. It has salvia-like flower spires that reach a foot or 2 high, studded with fascinating snapdragon-like flowers with beautiful colorations in purple, white, or pink. It's the perfect plant for adding bright color to hot, sunny spaces. This tough plant blooms all summer long. While all varieties are beautiful, keep an eye out for the sweetly scented selections. Most gardeners treat angelonia as an annual, but it is a tough perennial in Zones 9-10. Or, if you have a bright, sunny spot indoors, you can even keep it flowering all winter.

Gerbera Daisy

red gerbera daisies
Marty Baldwin

Gerbera daisies are so perfect they hardly look real. They bloom in nearly every color (except true blues and purples) and produce huge flowers on long, thick, sturdy stems. They last for a week or more in a vase, making them a favorite of flower arrangers. This tender perennial will last through the winter in only the warmest parts of the country, Zones 9-11. In the rest of the country, it's grown as an annual. It does well in average soil kept evenly moist but not overly wet. Fertilize lightly.

Lisianthus

Eustoma 'Balboa White' lisianthus
John Reed Forsman

Lisianthus flowers make people ooh and ahh. Some varieties of this annual look like a blue rose. It's such an elegant flower you'd never guess it's native to American prairies. And lisianthus is one of the best cut flowers—it will last in a vase for 2 to 3 weeks.

Lisianthus can be challenging to grow. They're extremely tricky to grow from seed, so start with established seedlings. Plant them in rich, well-drained soil in full sun after all danger of frost has passed. Keep moist, but don't overwater. Taller varieties of lisianthus often need staking to keep their long stems from breaking, but newer dwarf varieties are more carefree.

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