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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.

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.

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.

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.

Heliconia griggsiana

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Pendent Heliconia

Heliconia griggsiana, native to cloud forests to 2000m, is one of the more cool tolerant Heliconia that will thrive in temperate conditions. A medium-sized Heliconia with pendent, spiralling inflorescences supported by leaves that have maroon midribs and are whitish below.

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!

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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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