Heliconia Bihai Tropical Plants

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Introduction to heliconias, heliconias are tropical plants related to bananas, cannas and gingers. There are about 100 different individual species, and most species then have a large number of hybrids and cultivars, with flower styles varying significantly from the original. The actual heliconia flower is fairly insignificant. What most people would call the 'flower' is actually a group of colourful specialised leaves, called bracts. The true flowers are hidden inside these bracts. Heliconia leaves look more or less like banana leaves. They are generally green, but some are tinged slightly with colour (particularly when young) and sometimes the leaves and stems are coloured or patterned slightly. some foliage is wildly coloured, however, particularly in heliconia indica cultivars. Heliconias grow from an underground system of rhizomes. Rhizomes are a type of root (the ginger that you buy in the supermarket is a piece of rhizome from the common edible ginger plant). There are pictures of heliconia rhizomes below, under 'rhizomes'. Where and how to grow heliconias, most heliconia species do not tolerate cold weather and will suffer injury when temperatures fall below 13c. The general climatic conditions required for healthy growth are warm and humid. All of the eastern coast of queensland, northern stretches of new south wales, and most areas of humid northern territory and western australia are perfect for heliconia growing - the only requirement is selection of the right cultivars. , zones 10-12 are excellent for heliconias. Zone 9 is fine for all except the ultra tropical species. Zone 8 will support cold tolerant heliconias if they are looked after and provided the right microclimate. See the zone hardiness map page to check your zone. Most varieties of heliconias will grow well in full sun, where others require partial shade. They tend to grow taller if grown in shadier areas. Heliconias prefer freely draining soils with high organic matter.


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