Heroic Heliconias

Paul Plant

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The envy of all southern state gardeners is our ability in warm districts to grow stunning tropical plants. The crown jewel adored by florists and gardeners would have to be the great range of heliconias. Editor Paul Plant delves into these heroic plants loved by many gardeners.

There are believed to be around two hundred species of Heliconia, with perhaps an even greater number of cultivars available on the world market.

The natural distribution of these plants includes tropical and subtropical Central and South America, Indonesia, the Caribbean and some islands in Melanesia. Many species which originate from high elevation areas or southern latitudes are more tolerant of cooler winter temperatures in subtropical and warm temperate zones, whilst many species from the equatorial tropical rainforests can be cold sensitive.

The genus Heliconia belongs to the family of Heliconiaceae.

Also looked at is:

  • Culture
  • Popular Heliconia Species
    • Heliconia angusta
    • Heliconia aurantiaca
    • Heliconia bihai
    • Heliconia caribaea
    • Heliconia chartacea
    • Heliconia collinsiana
    • Heliconia densiflora
    • Heliconia indica
    • Heliconia latispatha
    • Heliconia lingulata
    • Heliconia longiflora
    • Heliconia longissima
    • Heliconia marginata
    • Heliconia mathiasiae
    • Heliconia metallica
    • Heliconia nutans
    • Heliconia orthotricha
    • Heliconia pendula
    • Heliconia pogonantha
    • Heliconia psittacorum
    • Heliconia rostrata
    • Heliconia stricta
    • Heliconia subulata
  • Selections of Heliconia
From a 8 page Feature Article in Issue Twenty Four
Birds are a common pollinator for heliconias in Singapore. Image Paul Plant.
Heliconia chartacea 'Sexy Pink'. Image Paul Plant.
Heliconia longiflora. Image Paul Plant.
Winter Chills

Helen Curran

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Tropical gardens are a joy to behold and it is no wonder that those of us who live far away from the tropics endeavour to create these gorgeous gardens in our own backyards; sometimes with success and sometimes with setbacks. Sydney horticulturist Helen Curran explains some techniques to help protect and acclimatise tropical plants to the chillier districts of Australia.

Tropical gardens are filled with large luxuriant foliage in a variety of shapes and textures and in a veritable plethora of colours. The flowers add to this plethora with an array of colours from the subdued pastels through to intense eye-catching hues. They can instil a feeling of warmth and energy, or introduce a tranquil, relaxed ambience to our busy lives.

Gardeners invest a lot of time and money along with hopes and dreams in their gardens, especially when buying precious new tropical plants. With fingers crossed we hope that Mother Nature provides a warm winter
to help our plants through their first year.

It is possible to successfully grow a tropical garden in areas with cool winters including areas that experience frosts in winter and late spring. This magazine has subscribers in cooler districts such as Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Western Queensland, all keen gardeners with a passion for tropical and subtropical plants.

From an 2 page Feature Article in Issue Twenty Four
Codieaum variegatum in a protected spot with a canopy.
Alcantarea vinicolor showing the remnants, on the lower leaves of last year's below freezing temperatures.
Top 10  Perennials for  Warm Climate Gardens
Noel Burdette



Perennials are found in all climate zones from the tropics to cold temperate climes. They are popular in cottage gardens and with the right selection are well suited to subtropical and tropical gardens.

Nurseryman and horticulturist Noel Burdette presents ten plants ideal for warm climate gardens, although the list could have covered hundreds.

Without a doubt, when purchasing plants these days we all want the
best value for our money. Plants that grow quickly require minimal attention and can multiply each year to provide extra plants for the garden or friends. This can only be an advantage for keen gardeners.

One group of plants that ticks all these boxes is herbaceous perennials. For many diehard fans of softer garden styles, the term perennial can often be associated directly with those species of plants from colder climates that become seasonally dormant during cold weather. These plants die down below ground level, where a thick (dormant) crown or root stock still remains just under the soil surface waiting to re-emerge in the spring or early summer when the weather warms. In warmer climates most of our popular herbaceous perennials are evergreen and do not die down unless they originate from seasonally dry climates where this growth habit offers an advantage to the plant.

The list of Perennials (in no particular order):

  • Peruvian Lily (Alstroemeria psittacina 'Variegata' (syn. A. psittacina 'Royal Star'))
  • Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus)
  • Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea)
  • Yellow Bulbine (Bulbine
  • frutescens)
  • Golden Glow (Rudbeckia laciniata 'Hortensia')
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis)
  • Salvia
  • Wild Iris (Dietes grandiflora)
  • Agapanthus (Agapanthus praecox subsp. orientalis
    (syn. Agapanthus orientalis))
  • Brazilian Walking Iris (Neomarica gracilis)
From a 6 page Feature Article in Issue Twenty Four
Jerusalem Artichoke.
Myrtle Rust

Joan Dillon

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The below link complements this article read in the current issue:

Visit the STG Blog – here – for an update on Myrtle Rust.



Of great concern to many gardeners, the horticultural industry and environment agencies, myrtle rust has left many people unsure about what to do with their native plants. Our native plant specialist Joan Dillon helps to explain the current issue and what to do…

Of great concern to many gardeners, the horticultural industry and environment agencies, myrtle rust has left many people unsure about what to do with their native plants. Our native plant specialist Joan Dillon helps to explain the current issue and what to do…

There will be few gardeners who are not aware of the disease myrtle rust, a relatively recent arrival in Australia. It is native to South America and is caused by a fungus, Uredo rangelli, which belongs in the guava rust group. There are other closely related fungi in this group and absolutely definitive identification will depend on genetic studies.

It was first officially 'detected' in New South Wales in April 2010 although it may have been here for two years prior to that. It has since spread north along the coast to Cairns, and as far south as Wagga Wagga in New South Wales but does not appear to have been recorded west of the Dividing Range in Queensland.

It is spread by microscopic spores which can be transported on clothing, bees, fur and feathers, via water splash and by the wind. The spores can survive for up to three months in the environment and are most likely to infect plants in wet, humid weather.


From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Twenty Four

Rhodamnia argentea.
Water Plants

Paul Plant

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Waterlilies may be the most commonly featured aquatic plants in magazines and books, and yet there are many other specimens that grace ponds and lakes. Paul Plant introduces more flora to add to our garden.

Topics covered are:

  • Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)
  • Fox Nut (Euryale ferox)
  • Pickerel Weed (Pontederia cordata)
  • Wavy Marshwort (Nymphoides crenata)
  • Victoria or Amazon Waterlily
  • (Victoria amazonica)
  • Water Poppy (Hydrocleys nymphoides)

From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Twenty Four

Fox Nut.
Wavy Marshwort.
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