Heliconia, a very close relative of the banana plant, is a tropical flowering plant and highly prized by commercial florists. One heliconia flower can add a dramatic statement to an otherwise pedestrian arrangement of flowers. Although the heliconia is usually propagated by rhizome, it is possible to germinate and plant the seeds, although they can take up to a year, depending upon variety, to sprout.
Removal of the fleshy seed coat is an important step in heliconia seed germination. To do this, soak the seeds in water for a few days. Change the water twice daily, scrubbing the seed coat prior to placing the seed into the clean water. After several days using this procedure, the seed coat should be completely removed.
Pour a mixture of 80 percent lightweight potting soil and 20 percent coarse sand into the seeding tray. Water until the soil is completely drenched and allow the excess to drain out of the bottom of the tray.
Plant the seeds 1/4-inch into the soil and cover lightly with more soil.
Place the tray in a warm area (at least 75 degrees F) that receives bright light but not direct sunlight.
Water only when the surface of the soil is dry.
Transplant the seedlings when they are 3 inches tall. Plant them in standard potting soil to which you have added 14-14-14 slow-release fertilizer, according to the package directions.