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Heliconias: Sieze the moment

The start of every year is the best time to purchase and plant heliconias.

If you're looking to make an eye catching display either in a landscape or in a display at a garden centre then lush tropical heliconia leaves adorned with striking flowers are an excellent choice and sell exceptionally quickly.

In South East Queensland and the New South Wales East Coast Heliconias are looking good now and peak around March.

Most varieties will flower well in pots, but even those not in flower have bright picture tags which are sure to attract customers.

Most heliconias thrive in full sun to 30% shade, but check each variety as some, like Red Christmas or Jamaican Dwarf require more shade.

Some good varieties to consider are:

Lower growing: Sassy, Petra, Mildred, Andromeda, Lizzette, Daintree (all are psittacorums so will spread by runners to fill garden beds, except Mildred which is a mathiasiae and tends to form tighter clumps)

Mid height: Golden Torch, Red Torch, Tropics

Tall: Criswick, Hot Rio Nights, Yellow Dancer, Black Cherry, Kawauchi, Rostrata, Rauliniana

Our favourite out of the lower growing heliconias is Sassy, owing to it's versatility as it thrives in full sun but will still perform well in 50% shade.

For mid height we like Tropics as it forms a neat, large clump, it is tall enough to screen a fence very effectively yet not so tall that it is overly sensitive to wind. It flowers continuously from January right through until Winter sets in.

Rauliniana is a good choice out of the taller varieties if you have narrow garden beds as it has a neat, upright growth habit. However, if you need a very tall sturdy plant, you can't go past the beautiful Criswick.

Some heliconias will not thrive in climates cooler than the tropics, so are not ideal for Brisbane or further South, they include some of the pendulous varieties such as Sexy Pink. Our nursery is slightly NW of Brisbane CBD and we do get occasional frost, so we do not grow any of the varieties that cannot cope with our seasonal variations.

Don't wait to late in the year when heliconias are much harder to find, have a look at what's in stock now and you won't be disappointed.

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