Heliconia Issues

navymom_2009September 27, 2009

I have a HELICONIA ROSTRATA that I am struggling with. It is planted in a large pot located in a shaded area that faces east. It was growing well until this Spring time then all of the problems started. The first symptom was that the stalk of the plant was very weak and could not support the leaves. The leaves were green with no disfigurements. In June, the new leave growth was coming in wrinkled and shortly developed brown spots on them. The nursery thought it may have been a problem with chemicals and suggested that I water the plant more than normal so that the chemicals could be flushed out. After several weeks of this treatment the new growth no longer had wrinkle. What remained was the the mature plants developing brown spots (like burn spots). I returned to the nursery - this time I was told that it was because the plant was receiving too much sun. I moved the plant further back so that it not now receiving more filtered light. After 2 weeks, I checked the plant - while it is getting new growth, the older growth is still getting the brown spots and curling at the ends. I am beginning to think that it is a deficiency of some sort and need to treat. So I'm hoping that someone can point me in the right direction.

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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

Rostrata should be able to handle lots of sun. Mine do; both the ones in containers and those in the ground. The leaves do fold up in the middle of the day when exposed to direct sun but should reopen as the sun goes down and should be fully open in the early morning. However, leaf curl is not a good sign if it is permanent. Is your pot of Rostrata on bare ground or on cement? If it is on bare ground, your drain holes may have become clogged with debris or the roots may have grown out of the drain holes into the soil thus stopping the out flow of water. Your best bet is to unpot it and take a look at what's going on at the roots. You probably have some root rot going on. If the rhizome and roots are brown and mushy, then you need to cut away the dead, rotting parts and treat with a fungicide.

Steve

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 1:21PM
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bihai(zone 9)

Steve's advice is right on. The WORST thing you can do to any containerized heliconia is overwater it. The second worst is overfertilize it. Overwatering in the container can frequently lead to root rot and rhizome loss.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 11:06AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Yes, was going to say it sounds like inadequate drainage of potting soil. That would be the first thing I would check out.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 1:37PM
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