Sunday, 6 January 2013

Heliconia angusta 'Red Christmas'

Here is one of my heliconia blooms. It flowers in late winter for me and they last for months - in fact they are still on the plant now.

It is not a fussy or difficult heliconia to grow. It forms a tight clump but the leaves spread out quite a bit. 

This weekend I thought I would make a row of them so I got a couple more (you can see the one in the ground behind it)

The soil is pure sand. The pavers were layed on a raised sand bed, so that is what these plants grow in.

Initially I thought the sand would be a benefit due to it's good drainage and thus helping to keep cold-sensitive tropicals dry in winter. It didn't matter in the case of this heliconia, as it seems to be a very thirsty plant and likes a bit of shade.

Eventually the two newbies will fill up and form a hedge with the older one. I've put in few water-retaining pellets so they don't always look so dry, too. However, seeing as though these plants are not fussed on temperature or sun, I may end up moving them eventually when  I try out another variety that will only grow in these hotter conditions. Such spots (heat traps in a marginal climate garden) are so precious that I call them 'valuable real estate' and can't let them be wasted on plants that would grow just as well elsewhere! My plants get moved so moved it's like a game of  'musical plants!' Not surprising really, when you consider that most of my plants are not grown in this climate so there is a lot of experimentation to be done to get everything just right.



  1. Heleconias are great for continual flowers - that is a lovely variety you have. Here in the tropical North they flower well in the wet season, so I think adding water retaining pellets is a good idea. It is a good idea to get the clumping variety as they can take off if you get the running variety.

    1. Hi africanaussie

      Heliconias look so delicate but are incredibly hardy. I have several larger varieties and have gotten huge in a very short time - growing continuously even through winter. And yes, they are very thirsty plants !

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  3. I love Heliconias too and have several varieties but not this particular one, 'Red Christmas' They love lots of water and can grow up to 12 feet tall as in the case of Heliconia rostrata.

    1. They are very elegant plants, and extremely easy to grow under the right conditions.


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