Heliconias for Collectors
Heliconias are tropical plants originating mostly from Central and South America. They are generally found in heavily forested areas along creek banks or in disturbed areas. Most Heliconias will live and grow in up to 40% shade. They like high humidity, bright light, moist soil rich in organic matter, a protected position and good drainage. Heliconias are heavy feeders and appreciate fertilising and mulching during the growing season.
Rhizomes should be planted with the top protruding out of the soil. Water well and mulch, re-water as the soil dries out. After flowering, cut back the spent flower stems to make room for new growth. As tropical plants, Heliconias prefer temperatures over 20C. However, there are several heliconias that are suitable for coastal areas all the way down to Sydney.
If possible we recommend potting your rhizomes up. They can be planted out when they shoot and establish roots. If you are in a particularly cold area it is best to purchase your heliconias in spring so that they have a full growing season before encountering winter conditions.