growing heliconia in Melbourne, Victoria

tirto(9b)June 29, 2010


I've grown interest in growing Heliconia ever since I went to Singapore Botanic Garden. Heliconias are abundant over there and they grow so well that even some of them cracked and grow on the cemented pathway. back in Indonesia, I used to think of them as potential weed, due to how quick they grew and nearly overtake the whole garden in a year (worse if I give them fertilizer). So, I undervalue them and threw all of them away.

Now, I live in Melbourne, the winter temperature here can get to -1 to -2C in the morning with occasional very light frost, around 8 - 10C during midday. I read through the garden forum, people talk about schideana, subulata, angusta, spissa etc as being cold hardy. But, I wonder how cold they can survive to? will they still flower after exposure to -1C?

I have been searching for answer from different sources. however, it seems every areas and ones own experience are different. So, I've decided to experiment it myself. I grow heliconia rostrata and subulata outside in the pot at the moment. there was just a light frost here yesterday. The subulata has not shown damage yet, but the rostrata has shown a slight frost burnt around the edges of the leaves. Should I worry about this?

I wonder if anyone has experience growing Heliconia in temperate zone (in melbourne) succesfully?

I'm going to put subulata, rostrata, bihai 'nappi' and angusta 'red christmas' into the ground in my garden once the winter pass. So, I will need advice how to look after them.

Can anyone tell if heliconia caribaea x bihai 'kawauchi' will likely to survive melbourne weather?


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If you can find a HELICONIA SCHIEDEANA, they would make it through your winter no worries.

Here in southern California, they border on being invasive, at least in my yard.

Here's a photo of mine.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 7:27PM
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Thanks Cagary for your help. It's hard for me to find this species. e-bay is my last hope.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 9:27PM
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I ordered seeds on and they're slowly waiting to germinate right now. They can take up to a year to sprout so I'm still waiting.
I'm sure that there are other heliconias that can make it in Melbourne. Here it got to 19 degrees a few nights this record breaking winter and my new heliconia hirsuta hybrid "costa flores" died to the ground and resprouted in spring. The pseudostems are now over 2 ft. tall and should flower again before the seasons over!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 10:48PM
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Hi Jaxtropix,

has your heliconia ever flower after that? how did you protect it in the winter?

many thanks

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 1:42AM
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I planted it against a wall, covered it with a tarp during freezes, and then replanted it in a wetter spot before spring. Its growing like crazy and I will be shocked if it doesn't bloom before winter, since its almost as tall as it was when I bought it in bloom.
This winter I'll dig up the rhizomes, divide and repot, planting them back out in spring, much like gardeners up north grow elephant ears. Here's a shot of them from my blog... They're the ones on the left.

Here is a link that might be useful: Overwintering Tropical Tubers

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 8:34PM
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They look very healthy, jaxtropix.It just gave me inspiration not to give up putting my heliconia into the ground.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 6:33AM
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I just thought I'd let you guys know that I have a new inflorescence on one of the stalks. This is after dying to the ground in winter so I think this is a good candidate for growing here in zone 9 since it blooms so quickly. I'll share photos when I can.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 3:01PM
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Hey Jaxtropix,

that's exciting, I can't wait to see what it's like. I moved my heliconia red angusta ouside a month ago. I thought it suffered a little because of the heater inside the house. the leaves were showing sign off dryness so I brought it ouside for more humidity.
last week, I noticed a green with red line color bud coming from the tip of the plant. it's bulgy and has a tiny leaf at the end. is that influorescence? if it is, I'm surprised considering it has been exposed to near freezing point twice. yesterday was 0.2 in the morning for 2 hours, and it hasn't shown sign of damage yet.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 4:00PM
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