They have lovely
flowers & foliage
A few weeks ago, we introduced you to the ornamental bromeliads, a close relative of the lovely ananas. As they are valued for their foliage and floral beauty, so are the heliconias, close relatives and allies of the delicious fruit—the banana.
One of the few
ornamental species of plants that are valued both for the flowers and
foliage, the heliconias grow well in our climatic conditions. Like the
cana, these are also rhizomatous plants, with a ginger-like root
system). The leaves may be like the banana, a few feet long, or like
the strelitzia, the Bird of Paradise. The leaves are leathery and
medium to deep green and in certain species can be brown and wooly
beneath. The mid-rif of the leaf in some species can be pale or maroon
and so can be the petiole (the extension that joins leaf with main
The heliconias look good when grown as border or specimen plants. They make very good pot plants too. The plants have to be saved from frost and harsh sunlight. These plants do very well under semi-shade conditions. These are perennials. Like similar foliage plants like the banana, Bird of Paradise, cana, traveller's palm etc, its foliage too has to be protected against strong winds.
The heliconias need plenty
of water during the summer or growing season. In winter, however, they
generally need no water. The soil for the heliconias has to be porous
but rich. This will also help multiplication of rhizomes.