Heliconia (Heliconia L.)

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Tree type: perennial.

Description: Heliconia is one genus of the Heliconiaceae family that is in the taxonomic order Ginger, which includes ginger, cannas, bananas, and strelitzia. The plant belonged to the Banana family until 2003. There are about 250 species in the genus, 180 of which have a biological description. In nature, these flowers grow on the edges, in tropical rainforests, on mountain slopes, on sea coasts, on the banks of streams and rivers, that is, where there is a lot of moisture and good drainage. Heliconia is a rhizomatous plant, the pseudostem is pronounced, which in turn is formed by large leaf sheaths and oblong-oval or oblong-lanceolate wide leaves. Depending on the species, the size ranges from 30 centimeters to 10 meters in height. The segments of the rhizome that bear the leaves and the stem, as a rule, give an inflorescence. The original inflorescence gives rise to the following common names for this flower: False Bird of Paradise, Parrot’s Beak, Wild Banana, Lobster Claws. The growth rate is fast.

  • Homeland Heliconia: tropical America, the Pacific Islands, the western part of Indonesia, Colombia, there are also species artificially bred by man. Most species (about 90%) grow in Colombia and are found nowhere else in nature.
  • Growing environment: Heliconia grows well both at home and in the greenhouse.
  • Leaf ornament: present.
  • Aroma: absent
  • Care: Heliconias need careful care. It is necessary to ensure that the temperature does not fall below 18 ° C, the humidity of the air is not below 75%.
  • Temperature range: 16-29°C.
  • Humidity level: high.
  • Lighting: The best light for a heliconia will be in full sun from the south/east/west.

Heliconia Flowering: present, color hue red, orange, pink or yellow (sometimes white). The shape resembles the beak of a parrot. In some species, a yellow or green border on the edges of the bracts gives the inflorescences more expressiveness, and due to the wax coating, the inflorescences have a glossy sheen and elasticity.

True flowers are small and are located inside the covering leaves, open in the morning and live one day. They usually bloom in their second year. They usually bloom in their second year. Pollination of flowers in America is carried out by tanagrams, hummingbirds and black bees, in the Pacific region – by bats.

If heliconia is pollinated by birds, then the covering leaves become brighter, and if by bats, then the color is more modest (light shade of green). Heliconia after pollination loses its leaves, the inflorescences turn pale and then fall off. Bracts are often damaged due to birds, thereby causing some damage to industrial plantations.

Heliconia is a food source for hummingbirds, which are attracted not only by nectar, but also by insects living under the leaves. In one inflorescence there are more than twenty-five species of insects, for some species the covering leaves of the plant are a nesting place.

Soil Type: For best results, use potting soil that absorbs water intensely while retaining it. Check the purchased soil for a good level of aeration, and if it seems too dense to you, add perlite or peat. Heliconia should take root a little before you start using fertilizers. If you want to choose the optimal composition of the soil yourself, then it is recommended to use the following ratio: 1 part garden soil, 1 part coarse sand or perlite, 1 part wet peat or humus and lime powder. There must be a hole in the pot.

Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist. If you use rainwater, be careful as it may contain harmful acids. Use warm water.

Fertilizer: Fertilize once every two weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer during growth.

Pests: There are no obvious predispositions to parasites.

Vegetative propagation of Heliconia by dividing in a photo

Reproduction: Heliconia propagates by dividing or planting seeds in late spring. For planting seeds, it is best to use the soil, after mixing it with wet peat and perlite. In some species of heliconia, the seeds are chameleons: at first they are orange, and then turn blue. It is also recommended to cover the pot with a plastic film with an elastic band around its perimeter, in order to avoid excessive evaporation of moisture. Place the pot under fluorescent light or indirect sunlight. After dividing, transplant the plant into the soil of the usual composition.

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