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   There aren't a lot of publications available about heliconias and other Zingiberales, but we recommend the following publications as good sources of information:


Development of Heliconia and Alpinia in Hawaii: Cultivar Selection and Culture (1989)
Richard A. Criley

This brief article summarizes the cultural requirements for heliconias and red ginger.  Plant spacing, soil pH, fertilization and irrigation requirements, effects of light and temperature, pest and disease management and weed control are covered.  A table is included which lists foliar levels of macro and micronutrients in healthy leaves of six Heliconia species and suggests target levels for each nutrient.  Published in Acta Horticulturae, Volume 246, Pages 247-258.


Exotic Tropicals of Hawaii (1989)
Angela K. Kepler

This book covers the floricultural use of the most important heliconias and their relatives (gingers, costus, calatheas, ornamental bananas and birds of paradise), as well as anthuriums and tropical foliage.  A brief but informative description accompanies excellent color photographs of 21 Heliconia species and 29 cultivars.  Alternate common names used in the floricultural trade are also listed for each heliconia.  Useful information is included on the care of cut flowers and the basics of flower arrangement, with several striking photographs of tropical arrangements.  Available from


Diseases of Heliconia in Hawaii (1995)
Kevin T. Sewake and Janice Y. Uchida 

Published in 1995 by the University of Hawaii's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, this publication is a valuable source of information for foliage and root diseases caused by fungi, bacteria and nematodes.  It has a numerous color photographs which aid in pathogen identification.  It is available from the CTAHR Extension Office, 875 Komohana Street, Hilo, HI 96720 (808-958-9155).


Heliconia: An Identification Guide (1991)
Fred Berry and W. John Kress

Every heliconia lover should own this excellent handbook which features color photographs and a general description of 200 Heliconia species, natural hybrids and cultivars.  Identification of unknown heliconias is facilitated by a farily detailed description of inflorescence and vegetative characteristics, including natural variation within a species.  Distribution, habitat, plant height and blooming period are also listed for each heliconia.  The book's compact size makes it easy to carry to the garden or field.  Additional chapters cover Heliconia botany, taxonomy, collecting and conservation, breeding, cultivation, landscape and cut flower uses and commercial production.  Available from


Heliconia: Botany and Horticulture of a New Floral Crop (1992)
Richard A. Criley and Timothy K. Broschat

This article is a thorough review of important literature related to the culture and use of heliconias, with an extensive list of references for those interested in further reading.  Topics covered include ecology, taxonomy, morphology, pollination, physiology, propagation, production and uses of heliconias.  Attention is given to the production and use of heliconias as cut flowers, pot plants, and for interior and exterior landscaping.  A useful table is included which lists growth habit, plant height, flowering season and postharvest cut flower keeping quality for 34 heliconia species and 91 cultivars.  Published in Horticultural Reviews, Volume 14, Pages 1-55.  Publisher John Wiley, New York.


Heliconia for Export: Technical Aspects of Production (1995)
Carlos Eduardo Ferreira de Castro

Written in Portuguese, this book gives general information on the botany, origin and propagation of heliconias, as well as the flowering season, light requirement and appropriate use (landscape or cut flower) for 148 heliconia species and natural hybrids.  The author also covers plant spacing and fertilizer and irrigation requirements for commercial cut flower production.  Annual flower production, estimated cost of production and potential earnings per hectare are given for 18 heliconia species.  Available from Livraria Rural, Rua Antonio Finatti Sobrinho No. 140, CEP 13.059.480, Campinas, SP, Brazil.


Heliconias: Llamaradas de la Selva Colombiana (1999)
W. John Kress, Julio Betancur and Beatriz Echeverry

This book, written in Spanish, gives descriptions and distribution information for 91 Colombian heliconias.  Beautiful color photographs.  The publisher is Cristina Uribe Editores, Ltda., Calle 93B No. 16-66, Oficina 201, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia.




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