The family Heliconiaceae contains a single genus, Heliconia, with distribution in the Neotropical region and in Pacific islands from the island of Sulawesi (Indonesia) east to Samoa. The genus contains between 200 and 250 species (about 180 so-far described). Additionally, there are at least that many forms or cultivars. Heliconia sp. are large shrubs or small plants that can reach heights of 5 to 10 feet. They are renowned for their brightly colored flowers, in shades of pink, red, crimson, vinous, yellow and orange. Heliconia thrive in full sun or semi-shade and require regular water. They attract butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators.
Heliconia sp. can be grown in USDA Hardiness Zones 9-11 and make an attractive addition to any garden. The secret to successful growth of these tropical beauties is well-draining soil and regular watering during the summer months. During winter months, it may be beneficial to keep the plant in a pot that can be brought indoors and placed in a bright, sunlit space. To promote the best possible blooming, fertilization is recommended throughout the growing season.
As with many tropical plants, Heliconia sp. require a little extra care to thrive. However, with the right tips, they can be successful and add a splash of color to any garden.