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Dartolution

Heliconia Thread

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Dartolution

Who here grows Heliconias (all species), and what species do you grow and where. 

I love these plants and have for years. I have a few varieties of psittacorum (choconiana, sassy, and lady di), a lingulata, and have a hybrid on the way from Ricon PR (etsy). 

These are easily one of my favorite tropicals, but I have struggled with them at times here. They are exceedingly difficult to overwinter even indoors in a warm room with a grow light above them (PFW640, or HB1500). The biggest issue I have faced is root rot, and getting the right soil for them. 

 

I have read that they like bone meal? Can anyone attest to this?

 

 

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KDubU

I like them a lot too but have zero experience. I have planted three Heliconia rostrata that I ordered back in Dec. They are putting up new growth so happy about that but being in 9a, I believe I am borderline on these. @Dartolution I see you’re in AL, so maybe you have a similar zone to me. Can you list which have been successful for you and any tips?

Edited by KDubU
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Missi

I got some fresh and healthy rhizomes of H. xanthovillosa 'Shogun' (the one with fuzzy yellow inflorescences) and Heliconia psittacorum 'Sassy' from a Puerto Rican grower mid-summer last year. I also got Heliconia indica 'Rubra" from a Hawaiian grower. They all grew well, but of course the plants died back over the winter. Hopefully they come back strong this growing season. There are a ton of other Heliconia species and cultivars I'd love to grow, but they're just too high maintenance in my alkaline, nematode infested sugar sand soil. I prefer my in-ground plants to be less maintenance because I already have a ton of divas in my container garden.

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Merlyn

I bought the generic orange Psittacorum from the local Lowes, and also Lady Di.  I planted both in the front bed around an oak, and they spread into the bed nicely and bloomed continuously through the summer.  In the first freeze both burned to the ground, and the orange ones never came back.  I think it was only 33F or so.  Lady Di regrew and spread like wildfire this year.  It also burned to the ground at 28F with frost, but many are already resprouting.

I tried a few of the bigger ones, planted in May 2019, with pretty good success:

Bihai Giant: eBay seller from PR, this one is supposed to grow 12-15' tall but maxes out at 6' and never blooms.  The leaves look nice, but I probably got a dud.  90% burn at 28F w/frost.

Chartacea "Temptress": same seller.  It's a quick grower and pretty, but doesn't bloom very much.  It burned to the ground at 28F with frost.

Wagneriana "Rainbow": same seller.  This one rotted in the pot and I never got to plant it.

Latispatha "Gyro": different eBay seller.  This one's also a fast grower and blooms frequently.

Rostrata: from Green's nursery.  Fast grower and frequent bloomer.

My only disappointment is really the Bihai Giant.  I was hoping for a tall beast in that spot.  I read somewhere that they really only bloom South of Miami, so it's possible that they get too cold in the winter and not enough sweltering heat in the summer in the Orlando area.  I'll probably trash this one at some point, and try something like Bihai x Caribaea "Hot Rio Nights" or "Richmond Red." 

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Merlyn

Here's the other ones that I've researched but never bought:

Angusta – any types Height Hardy to upper 20s and bloom Thanksgiving-Dec so may never bloom?
Angusta "Red Holiday" 2 – 3 Red/white flowers at Christmas
Bihai or Caribaea 10 – 25 Marginal blooming except S of Miami, generally avoid it
Bihai x Caribaea "Hot Rio Nights" 6 – 13 Leu recommended, vertical then pendulant red blooms
Bihai x Caribaea "Richmond Red" 6 – 13 Leu recommended, vertical then pendulant red blooms
Heliconia Bihai x Marginata "Raulineana" 6 – 7 May-June bloom at 6 to 10ft tall with established clumps
Densiflora "Fire Flash" 3 – 4 Red/orange flowers
Hirsuta "Peru" 4 – 5 small red/orange flowers
Latispatha 'Mexican Gold'   Hardy to low teens, blooms Sep-Nov
Latispatha "Distans" 2 – 5 May die/rot below 20F, blooms Sep-Nov
Lingulata 5 – 15 May die/rot below 20F, blooms Aug-Nov, may bloom in 1 year stalks
Lingulata "Spiral Fan"   Leu – froze in Jan and 4-5ft tall and blooming in late May
Psittacorum "Andromeda" 1 – 2 Dwarf Orange heliconia, also may not regrow
Pendula 5 – 6 Hanging flowers, "Frosty" and "Red Waxy"
Schiedeana 5 – 6 Easy growing cold hardy to 28-29F, but may never bloom if stalks die back
Subulata 5 – 8 Easy growing cold hardy to 30s, but may never bloom if stalks die back
Vaginalis "Africa" 5 – 6 Full sun to 30% shade, good to 20-25F, probably 9a safe per Leu Gardens

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necturus

I am growing Heliconia schiedeana and Mexican Gold. Both are pushing new growth after our severe freeze. Mexican Gold can supposedly die to the ground, recover and bloom the same year, whereas schiedeana takes a year without damage to bloom. I cannot personally attest to this yet. H. schiedeana bloomed well at Mercer Botanical Garden last year.

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Dartolution
4 hours ago, KDubU said:

I like them a lot too but have zero experience. I have planted three Heliconia rostrata that I ordered back in Dec. They are putting up new growth so happy about that but being in 9a, I believe I am borderline on these. @Dartolution I see you’re in AL, so maybe you have a similar zone to me. Can you list which have been successful for you and any tips?

@KDubU I live in zone 8a and unfortunately cannot grow these places in the ground. All of mine are potted, and I have encountered issues with them like most attempting to grow them in this manner along the way. 

 

@Merlyn Thanks for the input. Do you fertilize with anything? 

 

@necturus Schiedeana is supposed to be the most cold hardy Heliconia, but because of the requirement to have a good 12-18months of grow before flowering, I don't even bother with planting it, and would much rather have something like a rostrata. 

 

I had a rostrata last year I grew to about 7 feet, then repotted, and then a hurricane hit (Zeta) and threw it all over the yard. Shortly after putting it back into its new pot, the cold hit, and it really never recovered. I will attempt growing a rostrata again. 

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Merlyn

I toss mine some generic 10-10-10 fast release 4x per year, but otherwise I don't give them anything.  They are in fairly rich soil in a raised bed around an oak tree.  This is a photo from January 2020, shortly after a 33F cold front.  The Chartacea "Temptress" is the torched cluster.  The "Orange Gyro" is on the left, Rostrata is on the other side of the oak (and did ok at 33F) and Bihai not-so-Giant is on the right side, just behind the 6' tall Hawaiian Ti.  The taller plant in the background, just to the right of the oak, is a "Bordelon" banana.

974796304_P1070253heliconias.thumb.JPG.82fb41fca64609a339623a307cbff0a1.JPG

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Dartolution

Just a bump for this thread. 

 

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