Did you know - That heliconias are related to bananas?
Sourced from the shady lush forests of Central and South America, there are now over 200 recognised species of Heliconia and many more cultivars. Spectacular tropical plants, they vary considerably in their habit and flowers. Some grow upright, others hang like a pendant. The majority of Heliconia flaunt bold and extravagant shades of reds and yellows, with luscious green foliage. They grow from an underground system of roots known as ‘rhizomes’. These rhizomes can be used to grow more Heliconia, providing they are well looked after. The size a Heliconia will grow depends on the species and ranges from around 60cm - 5 metres!
How should I look after my Heliconia?
Heliconias as a species grow in a wide variety of habitats worldwide including cool altitudes to warm humid tropical forest. Looking after them is pretty straightforward. They love humid and warm climates – the heat does wonders for their growth! They prefer temperatures over 20 degrees, although there are some varieties that will perform well in cooler areas, as far down the coast as Sydney. Feed and water them regularly, but do not let them get waterlogged, as this puts their roots at risk of damage.
In areas with low rainfall it is important to water a little more often to ensure the plant doesn’t dry out. Keep moist but well drained. Heavy mulching is recommended to provide the soil with nutrients and moisture. Complete fertilizer blend is often recommended but they also do well with plenty of organic fertiliser and mulch once every 4-8 weeks. Most varieties prefer full sun, but there are a few that enjoy a little shade. The shade seems to encourage some species to grow taller.
Heliconia are simple to maintain -
Typically, Heliconia shouldn’t be pruned. The stems are made up of rolled leaf bases which is where the flowers emerge. Each of these stems only bloom once, so after the flower has died, you may wish to cut the stem back. This will maintain the health of the Heliconia and keep it looking its best. Removing the old flower will encourage more and also increase the airflow between the stems.
When planting your Heliconia -
Consider the space it may require. Some Heliconias are "Runners" (psittacorums) others are "Clumpers". The "runners" will invade the space of its neighbour plants if it is not contained with a root barrier or grown in a large pot. Heliconias should be planted as soon as possible after purchase. They can then take anything from 6 months to 24 months to flower. If planting in cooler areas, wait until spring to purchase your plants, to give them the best chance of establishing over the warmer months.
Heliconia's for sale online
If you have any questions or would like more specific guidance about any of the Heliconia we sell, get in touch and we will be able to assist you. Here at Lush Plants, we will provide you with honest advice enabling you to grow happier and healthier plants. You can find a range of the Heliconia we currently stock here.