Heliconia Metallica (shining bird of paradise) profile

Written by Maggie

Oct 29 2021

Heliconia Metallica (shining bird of paradise) profile

Heliconia metallica (commonly known as the shining bird of paradise), is 35-260 cm high. Leaves are oblong, 25 -- 110 cm long and 8 -- 27 cm wide, acuminate at the top, tapering at the base, green on the surface, light purple on the back; Petiole is 1-40 cm long.  

Heliconia metallica picture

Heliconia metallica
Bird of paradise is one of the best trees for pots

Heliconia metallica Characteristics


Heliconia metallica plant height is 35-260 cm.


Leaves of heliconia metallica are oblong, 25 -- 110 cm long and 8 -- 27 cm wide, acuminate at the top, tapering at the base, green on the surface, light purple on the back; Petiole is 1-40 cm long.


Inflorescences of Heliconia metallica are terminal, erect, 23-65 cm long, rachis slightly zigzag-curved, thinly pubescent; Heliconia metallica has 4-7 bracts, green, 7-11 cm long, flowers 1-3 or more in each bract, exserted when open, tepals red, apex green, narrowly cylindrical, 5.5 cm long, base 4-5 mm conjoint tubular; The stamens are 4-5 mm wide.


Heliconia metallica fruit is triangular, grayish-blue, 8-10 mm long, containing 1 to 3 seeds.

Heliconia metallic Ecological habits

Heliconia metallica is native to tropical areas and likes the warm and humid environment. It is suitable for cultivation in hot and humid areas in the south or in large greenhouses. The temperature for growth is 22℃ to 25℃. The overwintering temperature of most species is not less than 10℃.

How to grow and care for Heliconia metallica


Heliconia metallica likes an environment with sufficient sunlight, which is conducive to the rapid growth of leaves and the normal development of flower stems. If the sunlight is insufficient or the shading time is too long, the plants will be delicate and easy to fall, which will directly affect the yield and quality of flower branches. However, when Heliconia metallica is cultivated in summer, its leaves will burn if exposed to strong direct sunlight.

The family pot

Heliconia metallica needs to be placed on a balcony or in a sunny place near a window sill when planting in a home pot. In most areas of the northern summer, light is too strong, easy to burn the leaves, to the appropriate shade. When growing in greenhouses or greenhouses, auxiliary light should be added if the light is insufficient.


Heliconia metallica likes a humid environment, which requires high air and soil moisture, because the plants are dense, with large leaves and fast water evaporation. Heliconia metallica growth stage, air humidity is maintained generally in 60% 80% had better.


The soil should be kept wet for a long time. As long as it is not stagnant for a long time, it can grow well, so the moisture must be sufficient. Garden cultivation can be planted in the poolside to maintain greater air humidity, and through more watering to maintain soil moisture, by spraying water to maintain higher air humidity; Potted, in the spring to summer growing season, should maintain about 500, 'air humidity, in addition to watering, in summer when the weather is dry, can be sprayed around the plant and the ground, in order to improve air humidity. In winter, because many varieties of Heliconia metallica are dormant, the plant growth slows down. You only need to keep the soil moist, otherwise, too much water will cause root rot.

Generally speaking, Heliconia metallica should be watered once after planting, so that the soil and root system can be well combined to facilitate the recovery of root system growth. But the soil moisture after the initial planting should not be too large, otherwise it will cause root rot, but because of the rapid evaporation of the leaf water loss, can be used to increase the air humidity method to solve the problem.

Greenhouse cultivation

When using greenhouse or greenhouse cultivation, the flowering period is mainly in winter and autumn, and the amount of watering should be set according to the growth of the plant and the temperature of the greenhouse. Water more when the room temperature is high, and waterless when the room temperature is low. Otherwise, it will affect the growth of the plant and affect the yield and quality of cut flowers. However, special attention should be paid to the fact that when Heliconia metallica is cultivated in the greenhouse, the humidity in the shed should not be too large. If the humidity in the shed exceeds 70%, it is easy to make the flower stem, flower bud and petal of Heliconia metallica infected with mildew. 

Cultivation substrate

Heliconia metallica for large perennial herbaceous plants, developed root system, cluster thrive, in warm southern areas open, high and dry terrain, soil deep, loose fertile and well-drained of clayey sand is better, if the soil is too heavy, harden, alkali, or poor drainage, will directly affect the growth and development of rhizomes and clumps of normal growth, make the plant, not good growth, plant small, flowering.

When plastic greenhouses or greenhouses are used for cultivation in the Yangtze River Delta region, places with low underground water levels and good drainage should be selected. In the north, solar greenhouse or warming greenhouse can be used for cultivation. The optimum pH value for the growth of Heliconia metallica is 6-7. Fertilization of Heliconia metallica cultivation management can be more extensive, but due to the rapid growth of dense leaves, a large number of flower stems, nutrition consumption, so whether on the open field or greenhouse cultivation, need sufficient fertilizer. The general use of cooked dry manure mixed with calcium superphosphate as base fertilizer, every 100 square meters with organic fertilizer (including cooked cake fertilizer, chicken manure, pig manure, etc.) 800 1 1000kg, calcium superphosphate 50-60kg.


20 to 25 days after planting, is the recovery growth period of Heliconia metallica root, do not fertilize, if the fertilizer is too much, it will affect the recovery growth of the root, serious may cause root rot. When there is a new leaf formation in the rhizome, that the root has been restored to growth, can be applied decomposed dilution cake fertilizer, generally every half month fertilization. In the growth boom period, every half a month topdressing compound fertilizer or spray a foliar fertilizer, nitrogen fertilizer can not be too much, otherwise easy to inverted. In May, when the flower stem is pulled out from the axil, phosphate and potash fertilizer should be added 3-5 times to improve the quality of cut flowers of Heliconia Metallica and make the design and color more beautiful.

Heliconia metallica

The propagation of Heliconia metallica

Propagation methods of Heliconia metallica include plant division, seeding and tissue culture.

Seed propagation

Heliconia metallica belongs to insect-pollinated plants. Without insect-pollinated plants, pollination cannot be completed, and thus natural fruit-bearing cannot be completed.

Heliconia metallica under the wild state of origin on some narrow class birds and bats pollinate eat nectar, cultivation and other subtropical areas in China, due to lack of insect-borne, owing to lack of accumulated temperature at the same time, it is hard to strong, is a strong through artificial pollination seeds, also due to the development of incomplete, generally no germination ability.

The seeds of Heliconia metallica are mostly imported from abroad. The matrix generally adopts loose and permeable mixed matrix, which can be mixed with peat soil, garden soil and sand in equal amounts, or can be directly sanded. Disinfect the substrates before sowing.

Heliconia metallica sowing containers, in a small number of cultivation, can be used in shallow basin sowing, large-scale industrial production directly planted in the shed, the use of plastic special seedling hole tray is conducive to the transport of seedlings.

Because the seeds are large and the seed coat is hard, the seeds of Heliconia metallica should be soaked in warm water at about 40℃ for 3-4 days before sowing, and then disinfected for 5 minutes with 5% new germine 1000 times solution. Sowing by on-demand sowing effect is good. After sowing, the soil should be covered with 1 to 1.5cm. After the substrate is wet, the plastic film should be covered to keep wet. The pot sowing can be used to wet the soil by soaking water in the basin bottom, and then the film or glass should be covered to keep wet.

The suitable temperature for germination of Heliconia metallica seeds was 25℃ to 28℃ and germinated 25 to 30 days after sowing. When the seeding temperature is not stable, especially when the temperature is below LO ℃ to 12℃, the germination rate is slowed down, the germination is not orderly, and sometimes the seeds rot.

Seedlings of Heliconia metallica after sowing generally take 2 -- 4 years to blossom, and some species with larger plant types are rarely used, but the sowing method is a necessary means for its cross-breeding and new variety selection.

Division propagation

The underground stem of Heliconia metallica has a strong ability to spread and meristem. The underground stem has a large number of bud eyes. Under the condition of high temperature, high humidity and sufficient fertilizer, a large number of tillers appear, so division propagation is the most commonly used method. Planting time can be carried out in spring, summer and autumn, but the effect is best in late spring and early summer.

When dividing, dig out the mother plant with an underground stem, and divide the rhizoma of the mother plant into several clusters with a sharp knife. Generally, the survival rate of each cluster is higher than 2-3 buds, which can be planted in the pot or directly planted in the shed. It is better to use 3-4 roots or 6-7 leaves in pot. When planting, the excess leaves and old leaves on the stem should be cut off, and the stem of 20-30Cr ~ L should be retained to reduce the evaporation of water. When cutting the roots, the root system should be damaged as little as possible, and the incisions should be small and smooth.

Pseudostem should not be planted too deep. The foliage must be exposed to the ground. When there is a new bud on the original ramet, it can grow out in ten days. When there is no new bud in the original, the new bud will be produced again when the stem grows to 30-40CNL.

Split plant seedling before planting to apply sufficient decayed organic fertilizer as base fertilizer, after planting to fully water. Adult plant no matter potted or ground is planted, after growing for many years, it will be very dense, crowded, affect ventilation and growth, generally 2-3 years need to divide a plant.

The distribution area of Heliconia metallica

Heliconia Metallica is originally from Venezuela.

Heliconia metallica was introduced in the Taiwan Province of China.

Heliconia Metallica uses

Heliconia Metallica has done a lot of research on the production of cut flowers and the application of garden cultivation abroad. As a typical tropical plant, the temperature required for growth and flowering and the cold tolerance of Heliconia metallica should be considered if it is to be cultivated and applied in the vast subtropical and warm tropical areas. At present, there are few studies on the introduction, domestication, expansion and application of Heliconia metallica abroad, as well as the physiological characteristics of its cold resistance, which restricts the wider promotion and application of Heliconia metallica.

Heliconia metallica has been introduced in China since the 1980s, but so far, most of it is only limited to botanical gardens, and there are few studies on its production and cultivation and cut flower production, let alone the introduction and related studies on landscape application.

Heliconia metallica

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