First things first. Heliconia Seeds are tough, so tough in fact that their shell is almost impenetrable to water making for a lengthy germination period.
To overcome natures defences and to achieve successful germination in a much shorter period of time you first need to scarify the seed coat with a sharp sterile knife or even sand paper which is our preferred method.
When scarifying the seed coat to expose the embryo please take care not to damage the seed interior or your seed will not grow.
Now the seed as been scarified it will readily take in water so we suggest soaking the seeds in water for at least 3 - 5 days making sure you change the water every 12 hours as this will give optimum conditions at this very early stage of your seeds life.
Now it is time to plant your seeds and we recommend doing so in sterilized potting medium formulated specifically for seed starting that can be bought cheaply from any garden centre. We recommend watering the growing medium thoroughly and then allowing 30 - 45 minutes for the medium to stand and drain.
Plant the seeds no more than 3/4 inch deep in the loose, moist, and well-drained soil.
Pat the soil down firmly so that seed is about 3/4 to 1/2 inch below the surface and keep the soil between 72 - 75°F to allow successful germination to occur. (Inexpensive heat mats or a purpose built seed starting propagator would be ideal)
Remember to lock in the moisture by using a clear propagator cover or a clear plastic bag over the germination containers both of which will keep the moisture from evaporating.
Heliconia Seeds do not need intense light to germinate so a dark area or diffused light area with warm & moist conditions is what you are trying to achieve.
Once your young seedlings have produced their second set of leaves they can be safely transplanted into a larger pot.
Heliconia may take several months to germinate so please be patient.