The easiest way to get a tropical feel in any garden is to introduce a few plants like the Lobster-claws or Heliconia spp. With stunning flowers to display, it can become an exclusive feature of your garden. There is always one that will suit your garden, from nearly 200 species and cultivars available in the market.

How to grow heliconia in a garden

  1. Choose a spot in the garden with semi-shade or a south facing garden should work fine but protection from harsh afternoon sun is required. Enrich the soil with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser
  2. Dig the planting hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the plant from the container, gently tease the roots but be gentle with the rhizomes.
  3. Position in hole and backfill with soil, gently firming down. Form a raised bed around the stems. This will help the water to drain out easily reducing the chances or rhizome rot. Always water in well after planting to settle the soil around the roots and keep the soil moist for several weeks while the new plant establishes.
  4. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like bark chips, sugarcane or pea straw, keeping it away from the main stem.
  5. Feed every 1-2 weeks with Yates Thrive Roses and Flowers Liquid Plant Food.

How to grow heliconia in a pot

  1. Choose a pot at least twice the size as the selected plant. Position in semi-shade to full shade and fill with quality potting mix, such as Yates Potting Mix with Dynamic Lifter.
  2. To assist with soil moisture retention, mix in some Yates Waterwise Water Storage Crystals into the potting mix.
    Remove the shrub from the container and gently tease the roots.
    Position in hole and backfill with potting mix, gently firming down. Water in well.
  3. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like bark chips, sugarcane or pea straw, keeping it away from the main stem.
  4. Feed every 1-2 weeks with  Yates Thrive Roses and Flowers Liquid Plant Food.

Growing tips

  • Heliconias can be grown from rhizomes in your garden bed. 
  • Ensure to choose rhizomes that have new eyes popping up or wait till the dormant rhizome develops new eye. 
  • If your soil is a bit on the dry side, consider applying some Yates Waterwise Soil Wetter to assist with moisture penetration and retention.
  • You can harvest the flowers as cut flowers and place them in your flower vase with some water, which should keep them fresh for a few days.
  • Heliconias are great for planting under trees or canopies as they can handle the competition for nutrients and they do not interfere with tree roots. 
  • They do particularly well in tropical and warm sub-tropical climates.
  • Ideal position in cooler climates is where they receive morning sunlight and shade from the afternoon sun.

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Recommended products

Yates Waterwise Storage Crystals

These crystals absorb up to 400 times their own weight in water. This water is then released back to the plants over time as they require it.