Heliconia (Heliconia) is a spectacular herb belonging to the family of the same name. Natural habitat - tropics of the central southern parts of America, southeast Asia. There is an assumption that the plant is named after Mount Helikon, on which, according to Greek myths, beautiful muses lived.
Heliconia is a tall (up to 3 m) herbaceous perennial with a powerful rhizome and a pseudostem formed by large, oval-elongated leaves. In their shape, venation and arrangement they resemble banana leaves. The only difference is in their two-row arrangement on the stem.
Heliconias grow fast enough, and bloom in the second year. In this case, an inflorescence is formed on each segment of the root, bearing the stem and leaves. Heliconia has a peculiar period preceding flowering. The flowering itself is accompanied by a sharp and active growth of the stem, which is shortened in the vegetative phase. The shoot, as if waking up, very quickly breaks through the inner part of the vaginal canal and brings to the surface a beautiful, unusual shape, hanging or vertical inflorescence. It is formed by a large number of small flowers, safely hidden inside the leaves, called coverts. The plant seems to be ashamed of their nondescriptness and reliably masks.
The covering leaves are colored in various shades: bright red, orange, pink and yellow. In some species, the edges of the leaves are emphasized with a yellow or green border. The wax coating gives them a glossy shine and elasticity. All this enhances the decorative effect of the covering leaves. Many people take them for a flower.
The original structure of inflorescences and the external similarity of the stem and leaves of heliconias with some animals and plants, for example, banana or strelitzia, gave rise to the origin of other names for the flower: parrot beak, lobster claw, false bird of paradise.
Heliconia, like other plants in the tropics, prefers bright, but diffused light. For a short period of time, the flower can be in direct sunlight.
The optimal temperature range for plant growth is from 22 to 26 degrees throughout the year. In winter, the permissible temperature limit should not be lower than 18 degrees. Heliconia does not like stagnant air and is afraid of drafts.
Heliconia needs high humidity in the room. If the air in the room is dry, then the flower must be sprayed at least 2 times a day. You can use a kermazite tray filled with water. In this case, it is important to ensure that the bottom of the pot does not touch the water. Heliconia feels great in greenhouses and greenhouses.
In the spring-summer period, heliconia needs abundant watering, as the top layer of the soil in the pot dries out. In winter, watering will be reduced, but the soil should not be allowed to completely dry out.
The optimal soil composition for planting and growing heliconia: leafy, soddy, humus soil and sand in a ratio of 2: 1: 1: 1.
From March to September, Heliconia is fed once a month with complex mineral fertilizers. In winter, the plant does not need to be fertilized.
Heliconia is transplanted annually in the spring. At the same time, the new container is chosen much larger than the previous one, by at least 5 cm. Particularly large specimens are planted in tubs. A good drainage layer is placed on the bottom of the pot.
Heliconia is usually propagated by seeds, by dividing the rhizome or by layering.
Before sowing, the seeds of Heliconia are soaked for 3-4 days in hot (60-70 degrees) water. It is convenient to use a thermos for these purposes. After soaking, sowing is carried out. The seeds are placed in boxes filled with a mixture of sand and peat, deepening them by 1.5-2 cm. The boxes are covered with an airtight material, creating greenhouse conditions. Periodically, the container is ventilated and the topsoil is moistened. Seedlings will appear within 4 months.
When propagating heliconia by dividing the rhizome or by layering, it is necessary to make sure that the adult plant has a well-developed root. Next, carefully separate the offspring from the mother form and buried it in a separate pot. Place the pot with the plant in a dark, warm place with high air humidity.
For successful rooting, moderate watering is necessary, and in dry air, the pot with the plant is covered with a plastic cap with small holes. The film is removed only after growths appear (within 1-3 weeks). It is important to ensure that the leaves of the plant do not come into contact with the surface of the film.
Heliconia rarely gets sick, but is sensitive to damage by a scabbard and a spider mite.
The scale insect feeds on plant juices, leading to a change in the color of the leaves, their drying out and gradual dropping. The flower affected by the scab is treated with a soapy solution, then with a diluted (1-2 ml per 1 liter of water) solution of actellik.
The appearance of a cobweb on the plant, the leaves become lethargic and fall off - evidence of the invasion of a spider mite. This usually happens if the plant is kept in a room with very dry air. In this case, the flower is saved by washing it with soap and rinsing it under a warm shower. In order to prevent relapse, the plant is regularly sprayed with water.
Heliconia - an inhabitant of tropical regions
America and some islands of Indonesia and the Pacific Ocean. He has a fleshy rhizome and erect stems, collected in bunches. When grown indoors, they never exceed 2 m in height.
The wide oval leaves of the gel-copy are so reminiscent of banana leaves that for some time this plant was even attributed to the banana family (Musaceae).
Catchy and showy inflorescences appear from March to October.
They can be erect or drooping, are spike-shaped and consist of very hard waxy bracts, between which small flowers bloom, the color of which ranges from silvery and yellow to bright red and fuchsia.
These inflorescences bloom for several weeks, blooming at the tops of the stems. The most widespread are heliconium rostrata (H. rostrata) and direct heliconia (H.strictd).
ON A NOTE
Heliconia is not easy to find on sale, but you can order it in large garden centers or on specialized sites on the Internet. Choose well-formed plants that are kept in the right conditions.
It is quite easy to grow Afelandra orange if you comply with the requirements for lighting and ambient temperature.
Originally from areas with a tropical climate, it prefers warm, lit areas and a humus-rich soil mixture consisting of peat, sand and a special mixture for ornamental plants.
In spring and summer, liquid fertilizers must be added to the water for irrigation every two to three weeks. To give the plant a neat appearance and maintain its compactness, in winter, branches are pruned, twisting them by about half.
Afelandra orange loves sunlight, but is afraid of direct sunlight.
Afelandra orange feels good at a temperature of 12-24 ° C, it is afraid of drafts. In the summer, it needs frequent spraying.
During the active growing season, in spring and summer, it is necessary to water the plant at such a frequency that the soil mixture dries slightly between waterings. In winter, the plant's need for watering decreases.
To know: The best time to buy orange aphelandra is spring, when flowering begins and the plant grows. Choose compact plants with a lot of buds.
For planting lemon, I make up a substrate from turf soil, organic matter (rotted horse manure or garden humus) and river sand (1: 1/2: 1/2), having calcined the mixture in the oven.
I provide at least 10-12 hours of daylight. Lighting should be diffused, otherwise burns on the leaves may appear.
I do not rearrange the tree once again to a new place. For uniform crown formation, I turn the pot around its axis every other day by no more than 10 degrees.
It is important that the topsoil is always moist. I water my pets every day with warm, settled water, and in hot summer - twice a day. If the soil is dry, it is necessary to spill it several times in order to saturate the entire earthen lump with moisture, draining the excess from the pallet each time.
For feeding citrus fruits I use granular horse manure "Orgavit" (according to the instructions), sometimes vitamins "Revit" (I dissolve 2-3 tablets in 1.5 liters of water, spill the soil after the main watering).
Timely pruning of lemon during the dormant period (November-February) promotes better ventilation of the crown and distribution of the load between the branches. In the second year, 3-4 lateral shoots (branches of the 1st level) are formed in the seedling, which are cut by 25 cm, next year the branches of the 2nd level are shortened by no more than 10 cm, after another year (and henceforth) branches 3 the th level is cut by 5 cm. Also, weak shoots and growing vertically are always completely removed.
When the first flower appears, be sure to remove it. And I do this until the rooted cuttings are 2.5-3 years old, otherwise it may die.
Plants up to 2-3 years old every year in early spring I transfer them into large pots by 2-3 cm, adding fresh soil around the perimeter. Too large a flowerpot is not needed so that the plant does not waste energy on the formation of the root system, but it is important that its base is not narrow and has drainage holes. Do not transplant lemon during flowering or fruiting.
In the fall, the temperature of the content is gradually reduced. My beauties winter at +15 degrees.
It is worth starting a heliconia if you are a real connoisseur of exotic plants with unusual flowers.
This plant, like the banana with strelitzia, has beautiful large leaves, but it is appreciated precisely for its very large inflorescences in an orange-yellow-red range.
It looks like a fabulous bird or an incredible ethnic ornament.
Heliconium will also take up a lot of space - in size, it is comparable to the royal arrow.
Strelitzia can be placed even on the windows of the southern exposure - its dense leaves with a bluish bloom are well protected from direct sunlight. She may need shading only in early spring. Bananas and heliconias are also light-loving plants, but in direct sunlight they can get very serious burns. Therefore, it is better to place them on the windows of the east or west exposure. In winter, it is advisable to supplement these natives of the tropics with special lamps.
All these plants have a fairly strong root system. When planting, they need to provide good drainage in order to protect the roots from decay, and a high-quality, humus-rich, loose substrate. For better breathability, perlite and some charcoal can be added to the substrate.
The reproduction of these plants is associated with certain difficulties. They can be sown with seeds, but the same strelitzia can bloom 4-5 years after sowing. When dividing overgrown plants, there is a risk of damaging the root system - this method is only possible for experienced flower growers.
“Nolina prefers a bright, sunny place, room temperature and higher. In summer, nolina can be taken out on the terrace or balcony. "
At our place of work, for many years now, the Nolins have been standing on tables in the middle of the office, quite far from the windows, and they are doing quite well and growing up.
"When the content of nolina in winter at a temperature of 15-18 °, watering is excluded."
However, I still occasionally water the plant, as our kitchen is very hot and dry where it stands. Once every two weeks, I pour warm water into a flat tray. But I agree that it is better to underfill the nolina than to pour it over. Even in summer, short-term overdrying does not harm the plants.
"At a normal room temperature of about 20-22 ° C, the air humidity is increased by periodically spraying the leaves."
I rarely spray plants.
"Top dressing is carried out in the summer with a complex mineral fertilizer once a month, reducing the concentration by half."
But I don’t feed Nolina, she grows so beautifully. In my opinion, the more often you fertilize the plants and transplant them, the faster they grow, and here it all depends on the size of the room in which the plant is to live. The only thing that I use instead of feeding is water from an aquarium with fish, and even then it is mainly water from the upper settled layers, almost without silt suspended small indoor birds.
«Young plants are transplanted annually, adults - less often, in wide low pots ”.
I use a universal primer that is sold in a store.