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Old 06-28-2011, 06:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Location: Penticton, BC, Okanagan Valley, Canada
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Default Heliconias indoors in winter?

I have during my trips to various countries in the tropics been fascinated by heliconias, but have
become only recently interested in growing tropicals up here in the frigid north.

Therefore my question is: Has anybody attempted to grow these beautiful plants in northern
regions, i. e., wintered them in pots inside the house?

I would really appreciate to hear about your experience.

Thanks in advance,
Olaf
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:03 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Heliconias indoors in winter?

I tried looking for them, but I just cant find any larger sized ones! There are some that stay small and can easily flower in pots so I think you could definitely grow those in pots. The larger heliconias will not flower in pots and take a few years in the ground to reach blooming size.
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Heliconias indoors in winter?

Thank you Alex, now I need to find out, which are the large ones and which the small varieties
and how small are those.

Olaf
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Old 06-29-2011, 07:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
Location: Lake Charles, La
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Default Re: Heliconias indoors in winter?

Olaf,

I've been growing heliconia in containers since 1994 on the Louisiana Gulf Coast. Even here in zone 9, they are very problematic from December to February. I over winter mine in a heated greenhouse keeping the temperatures at around 60. I supply plenty of humidity and air circulation. They don't like this environment at all. By the end of February, they look awful and many of the mature stalks stop growing. This is important because it is the second year, mature stalks that bloom the following summer. Spider mites are a bad problem in this environment and because I cram so many plants into the greenhouse, leaves from one plant touch the leaves of another plant and those little devils just go from one plant to another. I've had good years where I've been able to control the mites and had marvelous blooms the following summer(see my gallery for pictures of a couple of dozen heliconia) but it has taken great effort. Growing them inside your house I would imagine would be next to impossible. Remember, they don't like temperatures below 50 for any extended period of time and require very high humidity. They are ultra tropical. You would be nursing them for too many months indoors for them to survive. I don't know where you live but anyone trying them outside of zone 8 will have a monumental task ahead of them.

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Old 06-29-2011, 04:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Heliconias indoors in winter?

I have one heliconia that I've overwintered one season already. I started it from seed. I've found that since it is related to the banana, you can pretty much give it the same conditions as the banana. I did keep it in the bathroom window last winter just for the steam bath whenever we showered. It is currently about 9 inches tall and getting a new leaf about every 2 weeks now.

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Old 07-01-2011, 12:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Heliconias indoors in winter?

Thank you for your comments, Alex, Steve and Lancelot. I could come up with a lot of things, but
not with humidity. We live in an arid region, just north of the northern tip of the Sonoran Desert.
Even though our bathroom is reasonably well lit and I use it as a starter for canna and such,
I can rarely ever get even parts of the mirror or windows foggy, when showering.

I guess, that heliconia is one kind of exotic, which I will have to pass on. Although I will still
admire them when in the tropics.
Olaf
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