How to Grow and Care for Flowering Ginger

Common NameFlowering ginger, ornamental ginger, ginger
Botanical NameZingiberaceae family, several genera and species
FamilyZingiberaceae
Plant TypeHerbaceous, perennial 
Mature Size4-5 ft. tall, 1-2 ft. wide
Sun ExposurePartial
Soil TypeMoist, well-draining
Soil pHNeutral, acidic
Bloom TimeSummer
Flower ColorRed, orange, yellow
Hardiness Zones7-10 (USDA)
Native AreaAsia

Flowering Ginger Care

Plant flowering gingers with other large tropical plants like cannas or elephant ears to create a sultry statement. Grow them in moist, well-drained garden soil in a part-shade location, or one that gets filtered sun all day. Flowering ginger will grow quite vigorously in the garden and has been known to take over garden spaces. Avoid planting it near natural areas where it might escape.

Feed at least every other month, and clip back flower stalks to the ground after they finish blooming. The plant is fairly trouble-free, but root rot may occur in cold, wet soil.

The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky


Elizabeth Fernandez/Getty Images

Light

Most ginger plants thrive in filtered light, such as they experience when growing in a rainforest. Ginger plants growing in full sun may develop browning on foliage margins.

Soil

Ginger plants like organically rich, moist, well-draining soil with near-neutral to slightly acidic pH.

Water

Water frequently during the growing season, less often in fall and winter. Weekly deep watering is preferable to shorter daily showers. Aim to give your ginger plant approximately 1 inch of moisture per week. 

Temperature and Humidity

Tropical ginger plants crave the high humidity and moist, rich soil of their native habitat. If flowering ginger plants get too dry, they will cease to flower and may even become dormant. As a tropical plant, ginger plants prefer temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fertilizer

Ginger plants are heavy feeders and will benefit from a biweekly shovelful of manure when the summer heats up. Otherwise, you can apply a complete flower fertilizer every other month. For the amount to use, follow the product label instructions.

Types of Flowering Ginger

The flowering ginger family, Zingiberaceae, is a diverse group including some 47 genera and more than 1,000 species. Some of the more common genus names you are likely to see in the nursery trade include Alpinia, Costus, Hedychium, and Zingiber (which includes the edible culinary ginger).

Individual species may bear such uninteresting names as “red ginger” or “yellow ginger,” but collectors should choose plants based on the Latin name to avoid mislabeled plants and muddled taxonomy issues. Gardeners just looking for an attractive container plant can look for a plant in bloom that they admire, as all tropical gingers thrive under similar growing conditions. Top varieties include:

  • ‘Beehive Ginger’ (Zingiber spectabile) has cone-shaped bracts that thrive in warm, frost-free climates.
  • ‘Crepe Ginger’ (Costus speciosus) has maroon bracts with white flowers whose petals resemble crinkled tissue paper; it may tolerate light frosts.
  • ‘Kahili Ginger’ (Hedychium gardnerianum) has fragrant yellow flowers with prominent orange stamens.
  • ‘Pineapple Ginger’ (Tapeinochilos ananassae) resembles a (red) pineapple; it is a good candidate for the shade garden.
  • Red Button Ginger’ (Costus woodsonii) is an easy ginger for beginners, but those in tropical areas should keep it in a container to prevent its invasive tendencies.
  • ‘Torch Ginger’ (Etlingera elatior) has shiny red flowers that resemble pinecones; it grows well in full sun.
  • ‘White Ginger’ (Hedychium coronarium) grows fragrant orchid-like flowers throughout the year; it may spread aggressively in the landscape in frost-free areas.

Pruning

Since flowering ginger blooms on two-year-old canes, leave any canes that didn’t bloom in the previous season. The ones that did bloom can be cut down to the ground after the flowers fade.

Prune well in the spring before new growth appears. Remove dead or damaged canes at any time during the year.

Propagating Flowering Ginger

Flowering ginger can be propagated from an existing plant:

  1. Dig up the rhizomes and cut them into 1- to 2-inch sections, each with several good growth buds.
  2. Let the pieces dry out for a day, then plant them just below the surface in rich, well-drained soil.
  3. Water lightly until top growth develops. Once established, water more heavily and fertilize regularly.

How to Grow Flowering Ginger From Seed

Since growing flowering ginger from seed can take years and doesn’t often produce the best profusion of blooms, this method is not recommended.

Potting and Repotting Flowering Ginger

Although most flowering gingers are too large to grow as houseplants, you can keep them in your greenhouse or conservatory or grow them on a shaded deck or patio. In fact, most gingers have a longer bloom period if grown in large pots. Ginger blooms will last as cut flowers for as long as three weeks. Gardeners should consult the care tag of the individual species to choose a proper location or container size. In general, a large container with a diameter of at least 24 inches is a good choice. Larger containers also retain moisture for longer periods. Choose a heavy flowerpot made of concrete or porcelain, as the rhizomes may cause plastic or other thin-walled planters to split as the plant grows.

Overwintering

In colder climates, after the first frost, remove withered foliage and dig up the rhizomes to dry out in a protected location. Store the dormant rhizomes in sawdust or sphagnum moss as you would other tropical bulbs, such as gladioli or dahlias.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Unfortunately, flowering ginger plants are like a beacon for insects. Common pests include aphids, mealybugs, ants, red spider mites, cutworms, and more. The treatment is usually an insecticide but check with your local nursery for the appropriate treatments to match the pests and the flowering ginger type. Monitor the plants closely for pests.

There are two issues with disease that are common to flowering ginger: bacterial wilt and fusarium yellows. Each of these issues causes yellowed leaves and severely wilted plants, though fusarium yellows moves much slower than bacterial wilt does. To be sure of what’s happening, look at the rhizomes. They will be water-soaked in appearance, show signs of bacterial ooze, or have significant dry rot. The only treatment is to remove the plant from the garden before the problem spreads.

How to Get Flowering Ginger to Bloom

Keep in mind that flowering ginger might not bloom the first year; some nursery plants that were started through seed might take three years or more to give you any sort of flowers. Also, note that the ginger rhizomes need at least 10 months of warm temperatures to grow, and at least a few months of temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit to produce flowers. If these conditions are met but the plant is still not flowering, consider that the plants need regular watering and that they are heavy feeders, needing a good 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer applied every month.

FAQ

  • The most well-known genus is Zingibar; its species include the common spice ginger, Zingibar officianale, also known as true ginger. The flowering ginger is for ornamental purposes and can’t be used for culinary needs.

  • It’s possible to grow ginger from rhizomes you buy at the supermarket, but it may not be worth the effort if you desire an ornamental plant with flowers—and it won’t be flowering ginger. Some ginger rhizomes sold for food use may be treated with a growth retardant to prohibit sprouting. If you come across a plump, fresh rhizome that looks alive, especially if it’s labeled organic, you can attempt to sprout it in a container in a warm place. If the rhizomes are indeed viable, you may see sprouts within two weeks.

  • Yes, these plants can grow indoors when given the proper care and a sunny, south-facing window.

Torch Ginger

The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

Pineapple Ginger

The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

Disclaimer: Curated and re-published here. We do not claim anything as we translated and re-published using google translator. All images and Tattoo Design ideas shared only for information purpose.

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