Heliconias are among the most attractive plants in a tropical garden, and they're so easy to grow! If you have a relatively big space, try planting some of these strikingly colorful varieties. Before I set up 1784, I would stubbornly grow them in pots in Manila which is impractical since they are bulky and need room to grow underground and keep itself upright.
They are not endemic to the Philippines but instead, are originally from the Caribbean, Central and South America. But they easily adapt to our conditions and I don't think they pose any harm to our indigenous environment. On the other hand, they enhance the ambience of any tropical setting.
Quite a number of people mistakenly call these plants (no matter what variety) as Bird of Paradise, which is a totally different plant altogether. In fact, that is more closely related to the Traveler's Palm than anything else. I think what confuses people is because all three of them (like still a big number of plants) produce colorful bracts that hold the true flowers inside (some just the size of pinheads).
They're very useful for simple flower arrangements since they're big and will hold up even by itself with some simple greens. Best of all, they keep long! Just put some water on a vase or a bottle, enough to wet the cut tips and they'll stay nice and colorful for even more than a week.