Over a period of time we bought a total of 56 different varieties, being told that all the varieties we picked would perform in the Brisbane area. We spent up to $75 for some of the better plants. All that was left was to wait for the flowers to come.
Well, we waited and waited and eventually found that only certain varieties would flower here and even then some of those would not survive a cold winter.
All in all it’s been a disappointing and expensive experiment.
Out of the 56 different Heliconia’s about 25 have survived with a number of those yet to flower.
So, here in Birkdale with poor soil and little water I can give you some recommendations based upon my experiences, the following Heliconia’s will grow, and believe me if these varieties can survive in my garden they will survive in any Brisbane Garden.
Here are my recommendations:
Caribaea ‘Kawachi’ has been a prolific flowerer.
Bihai ‘Lobster Claw’s’ one & two have also been good.
Bihai ‘Yellow Dancer’ has been good.
Orthotricas are perhaps my favourite Heliconia, but are temperamental, hate the cold and do not reproduce well here.
Augusta’s grow well ‘Red holiday’ and ‘Yellow Christmas’
The best of all Rostrata ‘Parrots Beak’, thank goodness it flowers well; in my opinion when in flower it is the most spectacular Heliconia of all.
Jamaican Dwarf has done well and always flowers.
Bihai ‘Chocolate Dancer’ is good.
Papsiana is good
Pseudoemygdiana ‘Birdiana’ has a great yellow flower and has survived for a number of years.
Hirsuta ‘costa flores’ is a great looking Heliconia and flowered spectacularly for me last year but was hit especially hard last winter’s cold, I am trying again, this time in a more sheltered position.
Spissa ‘Mexican Red’ flowered well but then died on me.
I know ‘Hot Rio Nights’ can grow well here but not for me.
I soon dug out the strictas as they were ‘travellers’.
Richmond red foliage grows well but has never flowered.
Chartacea ‘extra sexy’ and ‘sexy pink’ are not worth trying, not at all cold tolerant.
No luck whatsoever with Champneiana ‘Maya blood’ and ‘Maya gold’.
I am still trying with several others such as ‘emerald forest’, ‘prince of darkness’ ‘manoa sunrise’ ect.
I am not saying that given the right circumstances some of the ones that will not grow for me will not grow else where in Brisbane, given good soil plenty of water and a sheltered position they may do very well; all you can do is to keep trying.