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Heliconia Growing Instructions



Unlike many vendors, we will often ship Heliconia rhizomes with stalks and leaves intact, and often the leaves will be folded over in the package and/or have trimmed leaves.

-Do not worry- this is intentional :)   We always attempt to keep existing stalks on the rhizomes growing, and try to keep any stalks intact w/o cutting them down if possible.

A Heliconia stalk can continue to grow new leaves and blooms even with cut/trimmed existing leaves  and/or folded leaves.  If a growing stalk can almost fit in the box, and we can fit it in by folding over the top leaf, we will do so- this way it is quite possible that stalk will continue to produce new leaves above the bent one once potted up.  If a stalk with a folded leaf does *not* produce a new leaf after 3-4 weeks, cut it down 6″ above the soil. If the stalk *does* produce new leaves, you can cut off the bent leaf after at least one complete new leaf has unfolded.

Cut/Trimmed Leaves:   Cutting a Heliconia leaf in half or in thirds will not hinder new growth on that stalk. We often trim back existing leaves on included stalks to conserve moisture during shipping and to reduce shock once planted. This is intentional.


Growing/Potting Instructions:
You will want to have 6″ or 10″ nursery type  pots and soil ready to go for their arrival.

Choose a soil mix that is rich with organic material (dark), but has plenty of chunky aggregate like fine pine bark mulch (orchid bark) mixed in to **ensure good drainage.*
*Perlite is *not* ideal, as it actually holds alot of water.  Finely chopped Pine Bark/Orchid Bark mixed 2-3 parts to 1 part soil  is best.The pot MUST have drainage holes (preferably large ones at the bottom)  You want a pot just big enough to hold the rhizome- don’t use too big of a pot- it will encourage rot.  Good drainage is critical.
Position the rhizome in the pot so that the soil level in the pot will be the same as you can see on the rhizome (usually a couple inches deep into the soil) or just slightly higher.  The new shoots should be barely sticking out or just under the soil line- those with leaves will be above the soil a bit more.
**It is better to plant a little bit high in the soil than to plant too deep. **
Tamp the soil a bit to secure the rhizome in place.   Water thoroughly one time and allow to drain.  You can use a rooting stimulator liquid or Superthrive if you like.  Add a sprinkle of Osmocote fertilizer to the surface.Place the pot in a warm and sunny location to start the rooting and shooting process. Outdoors in alot of sun is preferred.  If the new leaves consistently get browned, move to a little bit more shade.
Do not water again until the soil is dry on the top half at least.  Always keep on the DRY side.
Keep the cuts end(s) of the rhizome covered with aluminum foil to prevent water from getting into the cut. You can also use a plastic cup inverted over the cut stem to keep water out. This keeps the stem dry and discourages rot.  Ideally, keep the stem as long as possible (don’t cut down to shorten) for as long as possible. Heliconia keep nutrients in the stems that it will utilize to grow new shoots.As more and more shoots and leaves emerge, and  temps heat up, you can water a bit more often- and add some liquid miracle gro once every 2 weeks.   Add Osmocote on top of soil and mix in a little bit.

Heliconias like HUMID weather, so spray leaves with a hose on occasion and keep in areas that would be more humid.

Don’t pot up into a bigger pot until the first one is pretty stuffed full of stalks and shoots.

NOTE: If your division arrived with leaves and stalks already on it, those stalks may continue to grow on and produce new leaves- or it is possible the plant may decide to abort those stalks and start new ones- this is normal.  If this happens, allow the aborted stalks to yellow and decline until they are fallen over or completely brown.  Then cut off about 4″ above the soil, and allow new shoots to grow on.
As the plant grows, keep in a good amount of sun – at least a half day of sun, and protect leaves from heavy winds.Stalks will bloom when they are approx 5-7 feet tall.  You want to push the plant to this height with regular fertilizing to get the blooms.In winter- keep quite dry to discourage rhizome rot..  Protect the rhizomes from  freezing temperatures by adding mulch.  Try to not cut down any stalks if possible, as they can continue to leaf and bloom in the spring- any bad looking leaves that are NOT the newest emergent leaf can be trimmed back or off.

Do not leave outside in temperatures consistently below freezing.  Heliconias really do not like going below 32 degrees for any length of time- short overnight snaps are usually not a problem, but if temps will dip below 35 for many nights in a row, bring inside and keep soil on the dry side.  A humid-air location is preferable (like a greenhouse or even a bathroom)

When overwintering indoors in drier air, keep an eye out for spider mites on the leaves. If you notice spider mites, spray them right away (especially undersides of leaves) with an all-season horticultural oil and repeat 4 days later and then 25 days later until all the mites and eggs have been killed.. Mites are usually only a problem in very dry air.. they can be avoided by spraying the leaves down to saturation often- (both top and bottoms)


Heliconia love tropical heat and humidity.  They perform best when nighttime temps are above 50 and daytime temps are approx 75-95 degrees.  Attempting to root Heliconia in colder conditions can be trickier as the plant growth will be slowed.  Do not overwater in cooler conditions, as this will encourage rot, and the use of a HEAT MAT under the pot is recommended if the recommended temperatures above are hard to maintain.

Keeping the soil warm with a heat mat in cooler conditions will help.

Keeping the plant in a humid + warm greenhouse in cooler areas is encouraged.



Growing Heliconia in desert like areas (ex: Arizona) is possible- the heat is there, the main hurdle is going to be the HUMIDITY.

Do whatever you can to simulate tropical rainforest like conditions- regular misting can help.  Box stores often carry standalone misters that can be attached to a hose and timer.  a light rainforesty mist near the plant twice a day can help alot.

It is recommend to grow in an enclosed area where humidity can be contained and controlled.

Humidifiers do work, but need to be regulary refilled.  You may find a mister on a timer is easier.

If you need to grow outdoors in a hot arid location such as Arizona, Palm Springs, etc – a more ideal location is on a patio with a misting system, with a part sun to very bright shade (since the sun is hot and intense)

In these arid areas, soil can dry out much faster-  ensure the soil does not dry out completely for long periods of time- it still needs to be able to drain, but keep an eye on how fast it goes completely dry and ensure there is at least some moisture content at all times


Most importantly:  Have FUN!