Plant Profile – Heliconia bihai

Heliconia bihai Plant Profile

The totally tropical heliconia has stunning tall branched stems, with bold flowers and luscious long green leaves. I fell in love with heliconias on our trip through tropical north Queensland. There are so many varieties, if you grow heliconia as a houseplant be sure to check the size of the plant for the size of your space as these beauties can be tall! 


Heliconia bihai (pictured: “Yellow dancer”) 


​Lobster claws, False bird of paradise


Heliconias are related to Bananas with bold upright leaves and this variety sports big gold upright flowers in winter. The flowers grow on branched stems known as inflorescences. Heliconias grow from rhizomes and originated in tropical, central and South America. They love a tropical climate and this variety will grow in most coastal conditions. Heliconia bihai are among the more cold tolerant heliconias. 


Full sun or light shade. This plant requires a very warm and bright position. 


Grow in well drained conditions, and keep well watered. Heliconias can be thirsty plants. Let the soil almost dry out between watering, and ensure to always empty the saucer. Heliconias shouldn’t stand in water. 


Height 1.5 – 3.0 metres 

This can vary depending on the warmth of your climate.


High quality premium potting mix or loam based soil. Ensure well draining.


Liquid or slow release fertiliser is recommended to be applied during in the warmer months, choose one suitable for your houseplants and always follow the instructions on the pack for measurements and frequency. This plant doesn’t require fertiliser in the cold of winter. 


Follow the above!  When choosing a pot - pick one with a drainage hole, and use a saucer to catch escaping water. Empty the saucer after watering.  May need repotting every 12 months in the spring. 

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