How To Take Care Of Your Heliconia

How To Take Care Of Your Heliconia

A genus of eye-catching, flowering, tropical plants with over 200 species found in the Americas and some Pacific and Indonesian islands, they will definitely give your indoor or outdoor setting that really ‘exotic’ tropical look and feel.

When young, they are fine indoors, but tend to grow quite quickly and need a bit of space, so they can be planted outdoors or kept in pots on your patio when older. The Green Grower stocks Heliconia Tortuosa (Red twist) Heliconia Subulata, with its lovely yellow and red flowers (bracts) and Heliconia Angusta (Christmas) with its stunning red and white flowers. (Please note in-store only).

They form great backdrops and screens with their big upright banana-like leaves and make an ideal contrast interspersed with palms near fences or on banks.

How much light does your Heliconia need?

Indoors, a filtered sunny window is ideal and outdoors, whilst they like the sun as it helps the flowering process, they prefer a partially shaded position sheltered from wind or frost extremes.

What type of soil does your Heliconia need?

Soil indoors and out must be well-draining and rich in organic matter. A generous amount of compost or manure around the base will prove beneficial outside.

What temperature is best for your Heliconia?

As a houseplant, a range of 15-28C is fine, however they do not like a dry heat as is so often the case with heat pumps or an open fire. Humidity is important, so try a stint in the bathroom or misting.

Once established outdoors, they can be quite hardy, but as with most tropical plants in New Zealand, do not like exposure to strong winds or frosts.

How much water does your Heliconia need?

Be careful that indoors or outside, they don’t dry out. Water regularly and keep moist, especially in the warmer months.

What is the best fertiliser for your Heliconia?

To maintain growth and bright colour of the flowers, fertilise every 3 or 4 months with a slow-release fertiliser rich in magnesium. In Spring and Autumn, sprinkle sheep pellets around their base outside.

General Care Tips for Your Heliconia.

Relatively low maintenance and pest-free, they can be dead-headed to encourage further flowering, while older leaves can be trimmed in Summer. In warmer parts of NZ, cut them back in Autumn, or Spring in cooler areas. Regular Summer watering is necessary and some of the taller varieties may need staking in windier positions.

The Green Grower’s Rating of Heliconia.

Heliconia look beautifully tropical in any indoor or outdoor setting with their bright flowers and lush foliage. Add their relatively easy care and we thoroughly recommend them. According to old Greek mythology, they help keep you looking and feeling young too! What more can we say?!

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