Heliconias are tropical plants originally found in South
America and the islands of the Pacific. Their common names include “Wild
Plantain,” “False Bird of Paradise,” and “Lobster Claw.” Heliconias are
evergreen plants with prominent leaves, which are oblong and can reach
up to ten feet in length. However, the plants also have distinct flowers
that form as bright colored bracts, which many misinterpret as true
flowers. These are generally yellow, pink, or red in color. With proper
care, heliconias can reach anywhere from two to twenty feet.
Consequently, they are most commonly used in landscaping, which affords
them plenty of space to grow. When situated outdoors, they can sometimes
experience winter wilting. However, these hardy plants will bounce back
when the temperature rises again.
Heliconias can be grown either in large pots or free gardens.
However, if left in a garden bed their growth can become uncontrolled.
Thus, it is important to keep their expansion in check. The ideal
foundation for a heliconia plant is a mildly acidic soil, which should
be kept moist at all times. Heliconias require ample water, and should
be watered before the soil runs dry. Additionally, these plants thrive
particularly well when provided with organic mulch. However, they
require little additional nourishment and need only be fertilized once
per year. They are also not picky about sunlight, and you can place
heliconias either in direct light or a partially shaded area. However,
those grown in the shade will actually be taller. With regards to
temperature, heliconias cannot survive below fifty degrees Fahrenheit.
So, they should be kept in a fairly warm area.