Heliconias are rhizomatous, medium to large tropical herbs that occur predominately in the New World Tropics (South America) but with some species occurring in the Old World Tropics (South Pacific).
They are from the order Zingiberales which also includes some
of the more familiar Gingers, Cannas, Strelitzias and Bananas.
The most spectacular species and cultivars originate from South and
Central America and the Caribbean Islands. Other less spectacular
species are found in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and
some other South Pacific Islands.
They are generally quite tropical in their requirements and will
only succeed well in the Tropics and warmer Subtropics. A few from
the southernmost and northernmost extremes of their range can be
induced to grow in more temperate climates.
They grow best on a well drained friable, acidic soil with plenty of
humus. Heliconias are fast growing and are gross feeders. They
require large amounts of water and fertiliser, especially during
the warmer growing months. Most species grow well and flower
best in conditions of light shade with a few preferring medium
shade for best growth.
The most reliable method of propagation is by dividing the
underground rhizome or tuber. This should only be done during
the warmer months when plants are in active growth.
Heliconia chartacea ‘Sexy Pink’