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Heliconias

Exotic Heliconias

These are a close relative of the banana family, quintessentially tropical with large banana like leaves producing flowers that immediately remind you of a tropical paradise. They are not in any way hardy in our climate but one or two of the species are root hardy to lower temperatures and more tolerant of cool conditions during summer growth. If anyone has a warm conservatory or heated greenhouse to bring them on, they can be raised from seed. The seed requires soaking for two/three days and sown in a well drained damp compost at a temperature of 30°C. The seed may take a couple of months to germinate and the seedlings will need a temperature of 30C by day, 18°C to 22°C by night and good sunlight to bring them on. Sow in late spring when our improving weather conditions will help. By mid summer the plants could be used outside in pots for tropical foliage effect. It is possible to grow the shorter varieties to flowering size, usually triggered by our reduced autumn daylight hours, given a reasonable sunny warm humid position.
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Heliconia aemygdiana

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"Purple Peru" 10 seeds
A medium sized heliconia, 5-6 feet tall.  Grows well in partial to full shade, so may suit our UK dismal climate under glass.  Bracts are hot pink-lavender with a bright yellow rachis and small green flowers.  Fruits are large and round, green when immature and an attractive glossy blue colour when ripe.

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Heliconia aurantiaca

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Aurantic Heliconia  10 seeds 

A smaller species to 5 ft, with a compact, relatively small, erect bright yellow to orange inflorescence. Found in the forest understory, usually on limestone based soils. Looks to be a good subject for pot growing under glass in the UK.

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Heliconia collinsiana

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Hanging Red Heliconia 10 seeds 
Heliconia collinsiana is an attractive plant relatively short to about 7 feet, with spectacular solid red bracts that have a frosty wax coating.  The leaf undersides and pseudostems also have a heavy waxy coating. We find it not so hardy as some of the Heliconias that we grow, but well worth the effort both from the attractive foliage and the stunning flowers, given very warm greenhouse conditions.

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Heliconia dielsiana

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Northern Red Heliconia 10 seeds 
A tall growing Heliconia from 6000ft up in the mountain areas of Colombia that should make this variety more tolerant of our cooler conditions even under glass. The seed requires soaking for two or three days and sown in a well drained damp compost with a temperature of 30°C to 32°C. The seed may take a couple of months to germinate and the seedlings will need a temperature of 30°C by day, 20°C by night and good sunlight is essential to bring them on. Sow in late spring when our improving weather conditions will help. By mid summer the plants could be used outside in pots for tropical foliage effect.

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Heliconia latispatha

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Yellow Gyro 10 seeds 
Heliconia latispatha is one of the root hardiest Heliconias, very attractive with Banana type leathery leaves and red lobster claw bracts. The seed requires soaking for two or three days and sown in a well drained damp compost with a temperature of 30°C to 32°C. The seed may take a couple of months to germinate and the seedlings will need a temperature of 30°C by day, 20°C by night and good sunlight is essential to bring them on. Sow in late spring when our improving weather conditions will help. By mid summer the plants could be used outside in pots for tropical foliage effect. Latispatha is also one of the shorter varieties flowering at 6ft, but to flower in its second or third year you would need to keep the plant warm enough during winter to prevent the top growth dying back to the rhizomes.

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Heliconia Mixed

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Mixed Heliconias 10 seeds 
If you really want to be ambitious why not try a mixed selection of Heliconia seed for variety of foliage and form. When I grew these last time as a trial I had three different species out of a seed pack of 10. One of them (collinsiana) I  included in the front picture of our first catalogue for it's attractive large leaves with a pure white bloom on the underside. Available only as a mix of species, it is pot luck to see what comes up, but I can guarantee you will be excited with the challenge of these plants, capable of growing anywhere from 4ft to 15ft!

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Heliconia psittacorum

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Parrot's Beak 10 Seeds 
A useful and very pretty Heliconia in that it flowers when only 3 to 4ft tall. Although not one of the hardier types it’s size makes it easier to look after and I had no trouble bringing a plant through last winter on the bench of a heated greenhouse. Usually golden yellow but some seed may come out more orange
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Heliconia rostrata

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Lobster Claw 10 seeds
Heliconia Rostrata is the classic hanging Heliconia grown in the tropics, with brilliant scarlet and yellow claws. I have grown this plant easily enough from fresh seed and it has the additional attraction of a maroon reverse to the leaf. A challenge to grow a plant large enough to flower but not tall at 4ft. We usually have one of our 5ft plants flowering each Autumn and what a fantastic display they make as a very unusual pot plant!
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Heliconia velloziana

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Lobster Claw 10 seeds

This Heliconia grows to about 5 or 6 ft and tolerates some shade.  As it is also from southern Brazil it may have some cool hardiness, making it a useful plant to try under heated glass in the UK.
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Heliconia wagneriana

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Easter Heliconia 10 Seeds
A classic Heliconia with upright flowers on a reasonable size plant topping out at 6ft tall. Grown extensively in the tropics as a border plant. Needs plenty of heat though right through the winter in the UK. Perhaps suited to a conservatory that is used as a heated garden room during the winter, as long as it placed in a well lit position.

Expect a challenge to raise it to flowering size but worth it if you succeed!

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Symbol Codes

Germination -- Easy Moderate and Challenging

Backlog for Fresh Seed Flavour

Hardiness - To -5°C җ To -10°C җҗ Fully Hardy җҗҗ

Needs Shady Position Sunny Position Water Loving