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SYNONYMS:
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GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Monocostus is a genus in the plant family Costaceae with only one species - Monocostus uniflorus. This species is only known from a small area in northern Peru near the city of Tarapoto. I tried in vain to find it in 2008 and I fear it may now be extinct in the wild. Fortunately someone collected it years ago and placed it in cultivation for all to see.

It is a gorgeous little plant! The bright yellow flowers arise from the leaf axils amid a sea of small green rounded leaves that have a bit of a waxy feel. The plant grows to no more than 18 inches tall and is very easy to grow in pots if you are in an area too cold for outdoors growing in the winter. It flowers easily and is very showy in the pot or garden.

It is reported to have grown in steep rocky areas in nature and does seem to prefer very good drainage, but regular moisture. I doubt it is hardy outdoors in colder areas than USDA zone 10 or 9B at best.

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Aframomum daniellii flower Afamomums are basal blooming plants from Africa, and are seldom found in cultivation - much less offered for sale to the public. The most well known is A. melegueta that produces the spice "grains of paradise". Aframomum daniellii is also used as a spice in Africa (and medicinally by the native people of Camaroon) and is sometimes known by the common name "bastard cardamom". I have even seen claims that use of the seeds of Aframomum have been shown to improve the sexual vitality of men in native African tribes that use this spice, but I make no such representations :) .

The plant has thin stems and narrow leaves and grows to about 4 feet tall in a gallon sized pot. The flowers are a soft lavender color and bloom in the spring time in my greenhouse. I have not tried growing this outdoors through the winter, but I doubt it would be hardy in areas with frost. In its native habitat it grows in forested areas and I am growing it in part shade. If you want to try a REALLY different ginger that no one else in your town is likely to have, here is your chance.


Aframomum daniellii Aframomum daniellii

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Alpinia calcarata flower Alpinia carcarata has nice reedy foliage reminiscent of bamboo, and if you live in a frost free area you will get some pretty flowers every spring. But like other Alpinias, this will only bloom on second year growth and if the foliage tips freeze back it will not bloom that year. The good news is that It is actually quite hardy, and even stays evergreen through the winter to bloom in spring if the temperatures do not drop below the mid twenties. It is rated by most sources as zone 8 hardy and it csomes back from the root no problem here in my Tallahassee zone 8B garden.

The pictures on this page were taken in my Tallahassee garden in one of our milder winters. Most of the references indicate it will grow to 5-6 ft tall but it will grow to only about 3 feet tall in areas where it freezes back in winter.. I am growing it in 3-4 hours of direct sun, in the usual moist but well drained organic soil.

My friend the late Bob Riffle, author of The Tropical Look (an excellent, AHS award winning book) describes it as being native to India, 5-6 ft high, leaves are 2" wide by 12" long, dull dark green, lighter undersides. Flowers white with yellow and red variegation.


Alpinia calcarata foliage Alpinia calcarata foliage

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Alpinia formosana - flowers Alpinia formosa is called the "pinstripe ginger" because of the pattern on the foliage. It is a really striking plant for the garden even if it never blooms. When it does bloom, it produces red and white "shell" flowers, typical of Alpinias, except they are upright instead of drooping as in Alpinia zerumbet. Like most other Alpinias, it blooms on second year growth, so will not bloom in a year that the foliage freezes back. It will withstand a light frost with minimal damage to the foliage, and is root hardy according to most sources to zone 7B.

In my garden it grows to 5 ft. tall. I grow it in about 4 hours direct sun in rich, moist, organic soil. I have read that it will grow even in full sun if the soil is kept moist.


Alpinia formosana at Leu Gardens, Orlando Alpinia formosana - foliage

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
plantphotos/Alpinia galanga flowers in a vase Alpinia galanga is mainly used in Thai cooking to add a spicy kick to this famous cuisine. There is a great website with lots of information about all kinds of spices at Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages.

As an ornamental, Alpinia galanga is not very flashy, but it is the only Alpinia that will bloom reliably on first year growth. That's the good news - the bad news is that the flowers are not very showy when the foliage has frozen back. But I think you will agree, these pictures (from my own garden after a mild winter) show just how under appreciated this plant's potential is as an ornamental garden plant.

Alpinia galanga is easy to grow in moist, rich, organic soil in part sun. The tropical foliage grows to about 6 feet tall and it is hardy in zone 8.


Alpinia galanga - plant

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Alpinia henryi flower I have listed this plant under the name Alpinia henryi, because that is the name it is most widely known by in US horticulture. Technically, the correct name is Alpinia hainanensis, named after the south China island where it was found. The names Alpinia henryi, and also Alpinia katsumadae, are actually the same species under different names.

Alpinia henryi is sometimes called "Sweet Dragon" because it is the only Alpinia with fragrant flowers, but please do not expect them to have the same heave fragrance as the white butterfly ginger, Hedychium coronarium. It is much lighter and described in the Hardy Gingers book as "honey scented". It will not bloom (as with most Alpinias) if the foliage freezes back, but it is rated as root hardy at least to zone 8B. I suspect it may be hardier than that. The foliage has remained evergreen here in winters that the temperature only dropped into the mid twenties and it bloomed nicely for me the following spring.

The foliage is dark green and shiny, growing to 6 feet tall if it does not freeze back, and it makes a nice landscape plant. I have it growing in about 4 hours of direct sun in moist, but well drained organic soil.


Alpinia henryi

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Alpinia japonica in flower I don't know why this plant is not offered more widely for sale. I have only ever seen it listed by one mail order source. They list it as Alpinia japonica 'kinisiana' and call it the "peppermint stick ginger". I have not found an Alpinia japonica subspecies or variety listed that way anywhere in the botanical literature, so I will only say for sure that it is an Alpinia japonica.

[NOTE: During the Third Symposium on Zingiberaceae in Thailand I inquired about this plant with Dr. Hidenbu Funakoshi of Japan. According to him, this is not a subspecies of A. japonica. He says the plant that is named "Alpinia japonica 'Kinisiana' is actually a hybrid of A. japonica and A. intermedia, and the plant that is sold by Stokes Tropicals under the name "Peppermint Stick" is actually just Alpinia japonica. He said A. japonica is the most cold hardy species of Alpinia.]

This is a very hardy Alpinia, one of the few gingers that will stay evergreen in freezing weather. I have tested it myself at temperatures down to the mid twenties, and I have heard that the foliage will stay green down to twenty degrees. It is rated as root hardy to zone 7B and is small enough to be easily grown in pots.

If it does not feeze back, it will produce gorgeous red and white spikes in early spring giving the name "peppermint stick ginger. Most Alpinias only bloom on second year growth. The foliage grows to about 2 ft. tall and it will therefore make a fine groundcover plant.

Grow Alpinia japonica in light shade to part sun. I find it will take about 5-6 hours direct sun if kept moist in summer. Soil requirements are not too demanding, but a well drained organic soil is best.


Alpinia japonica in flower Alpinia japonica in flower

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Alpinia nutans flower Alpinia nutans is not a very showy plant, but it is easy and reliable. It can make a very nice groundcover in partial shade, but seems to be quite variable in height. My plants have grown to just 2 1/2 ft tall, but I have seen it as tall as 6 feet. It rarely blooms, and I have only had it flower here one year and seen it in flower once elsewhere - at Huntington Gardens in California. Alpinias generally bloom on second year growth, so although it is reliably root hardy to zone 8, do not expect flowers unless you are in a frost free area.

The foliage of Alpinia nutans is evergreen in areas that do not have a hard freeze. It has a very distinctive "cardamom" fragrance when brushed or rubbed, but this is NOT the plant that produces the spice by that name.

Grow it in shade to part sun, in moist but well drained organic soil.


Alpinia nutans flower Alpinia nutans as a groundcover

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Alpinia pumila flower This is a beautiful foliage plant with silvery stripes, and only about 6 inches tall. It spreads very slowly, but makes a supurb groundcover, and it is rated as hardy to zone 8. In fact the plant is evergreen down to 22 degrees F. The flowers are similar to Alpinia japonica, rose red spikes, but closer to the ground. It is grown in full to part shade, well drained soil kept moist with a good mulch.

I have not seen it offered for sale nationally on any other mail order site, and am surprised that it has not been placed in tissue culture and mass produced.


Alpinia pumila foliage

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Alpinia zerumbet flowers Alpinia zerumbet is a very common ginger in frost free climates, but it will survive in much colder areas and even bloom if the tips of the plants are not frozen back. It is evergreen down to the upper twenties.

Alpinia zerumbet can grow to be quite tall, up to 8 feet or more. It grows best and flowers best if grown in at least 5 hours direct sun, in rich, moist, organic soil, well drained. Hardiness has been rated as zone 7 in many references, but I have not tested it that cold myself, nor do I know anyone who has. It is probably a safe bet to be root hardy in 7B or 8A but will not bloom in those areas since it only blooms on second year growth.
Alpinia zerumbet flowers


Alpinia zerumbet flowers Alpinia zerumbet flowers

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegated Chinese Beauty' This is a form of the ubiquitous Alpinia zerumbet, or "shell ginger" that the Chinese call "Yu Hwa" ginger, which means "rain splashed". Look at the picture to the right, and I am sure you will see why. It has a much softer look than the common variegated shell ginger. I have only seen it listed in one mail order site where it is called "Variegated Chinese Beauty", and a beauty it is. The foliage grows a little shorter than the standard Alpinia zerumbet, to maybe 6 ft tall, and it has similar shell-like flowers.

It is reported to be root hardy to zone 7B, but just like the species, but this Alpinia will only flower on second year growth, so don't expect flowers if you are in an area where the foliage will freeze back. Fortunately it can stay evergreen down to the upper twenties like its more garish variegated cousin that is commonly sold in big lot stores. The picture of the flowers below were taken after one of Tallahassee's zone 8-B milder winters.

Flowers or no flowers, it is a beautiful plant that will give a tropical look to your garden in part sun to nearly full sun if the soil is kept moist. It should be grown in rich, moist organic soil, but not kept too wet during winter dormancy.


Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegated Chinese Beauty' Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegated Chinese Beauty' Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegated Chinese Beauty'

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Boesenbergia rotunda flower Boesenbergia rotunda grows to about 2 ft tall in light shade. It is known as "Chinese Keys" and is used as a spice in Thai cooking. It is sometimes found still listed under the old name - Boesenbergia pandurata. As an ornamental, it is not spectacular, but it does increase well and makes an attractive groundcover for shady areas. The flowers are beautiful, but they are usually hidden at the base of the foliage and often go completely unnoticed.

Chinese Keys is listed in most references as being hardy to zone 7 or zone 8, and I have been growing it for many years in my Tallahassee zone 8-B garden with no problems at all. It goes dormant naturally like Curcumas and Kaempferias, and the rhizomes can be lifted in winter if you are in a colder area.

I grow Boesenbergia rotunda in a well-drained woodland soil in filtered shade and I have read that it can be grown in deep shade.


Boesenbergia rotunda

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Burbidgea schizocheila flowers I have seen this ginger listed under several different common names, but my personal favorite is the VooDoo Flame Ginger, as it was listed in a wholesale nursery in south Florida. I have also seen it listed with the species name "scheizocheila", but I think the correct spelling is as above. It is hard to find and even harder to grow unless grown in the right conditions, so I am listing it in the advanced series.

Burbidgea schizocheila is native to Borneo where it grows as an evergreen in hot, humid jungles. The foliage is very interesting with a bumpy texture and almost succulent feel to the leaves, dark green on top and purplish brown undersides. Makes a perfect contrast to the bright golden yellow flowers. Most descriptions I have seen indicate that it blooms in spring and fall, but I have always seen it blooming in the winter. It grows to 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall.

As mentioned above, this is NOT an easy plant to grow. It is somewhat of an epiphyte and needs a fast draining soil with the rhizome ABOVE the soil level and only the roots in the soil or potting medium. It is also quite tender and cannot be allowed to go dormant, so it must be grown year round in warm, humid conditions. It is small and compact enough to be grown as a houseplant. If you do grow it outdoors, make sure it is in bright shade and high humidity, planted in leaf mold or similar loose, organic material.


Burbidgea schizocheila foliage

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:

Costus fissiligulatusThis plant was distributed by the famous ginger grower John Banta and introduced to the trade by Glenn Stokes of Stokes Tropicals. He dubbed it 'African Princess'. I have been growing it for a couple of years now and it is one of the easiest Costus to grow and bring to flower. It grew to over 6 feet tall in my greenhouse this past winter, but consistently flowers just as easily in a 6 inch pot as shown in the photo to the right. It is untested for cold hardiness but presumed hardy only in USDA zone 10 or possibly 9B. But it is easily propagated and grown in small pots making it suitable as a house plant or greenhouse plant in colder locations.

Costus fissiligulatus 'African Princess'
Costus fissiligulatus 'African Princess

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
This plant was collected many years ago in Colombia by the famous plant explorer Tim Plowman. It has gone unidentified until recently when I registered it with the cultivar name 'Lemon Chiffon'. It best fits the description of the species Costus laevis but is not at all the normal form. It produces beautiful soft lemon yellow flowers with a deep pink center contrasted against dark red bracts.

Costus 'Lemon Yellow' has not been tested for cold hardiness, but probably requires at least zone 9B conditions.


GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Curcuma elata flower Curcuma elata is one of the first gingers to bloom in the spring. In my garden, its flower heads arise from the ground in April just before the foliage emerges. The flowers are long lasting, but as they begin to fade the foliage takes over, providing a striking tropical look in the garden. This species is sometime known as the "giant plume ginger" and indeed it is one of the largest of the Curcumas, growing to 9 ft. tall in my garden.

Hardiness of this ginger has been rated to zone 7 by most references, and it has been tested in my garden down to the upper teens. For colder climates, it is probably too big to be grown as a potted plant, unless you are looking for a very large tropical look. It does however, go naturally dormant in winter, so you could lift the rhizomes and store them over winter in a cool garage or basement.

Grow this Curcuma in a sunny area, from part sun to full sun, so long as the soil is kept moist. It likes a very rich organic soil high in nitrogen. During winter dormancy, the rhizomes should not be kept too wet, or they may rot.


Curcuma elata - pretty in pink Curcuma elata foliage

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Curcuma petiolata 'Emperor' There seem to be several plant names that have been ascribed to the same or a very similar plant. I have bought this plant under the name Curcuma 'Figi', as Curcuma petiolata 'Variegata' and as Curcuma 'Emperor'. As far as I know, they are all the same plant, but the one I am listing now comes from my stock of Curcuma 'Emperor'.

The name evidently comes from its reputation as a good luck charm. Herb dealers in Thailand call it the "Emperors Wan" and it is said to have magical powers. If planted in front of a business it will bring profits and ward off evil. It is also said that if one carries a piece of the rhizome on a trip you will always return home even a trip to the hospital.

Like Curcuma petiolata (hidden lily), this one is not at all fussy about growing conditions, and would be suitable for beginners. I have grown it in conditions from filtered shade to about 4 hours direct sun and it has performed equally well. It gets between 3 and 4 ft. tall. It is a reliable bloomer and the variegated foliage (which does not show up very well in these photos) is an added attraction. A correspondent in Raleigh, NC (zone 7) tells me it is extremely hardy surviving his winters easily without any mulching.

Grow it in well drained organic soil kept moist during active growth. Like all Curcumas, this one will go dormant in the winter. The foliage will start to yellow in the late fall and that is perfectly natural for this plant. Some Curcumas are very susceptible to rotting of the rhizomes if they are kept too wet during winter dormancy. This one, like Curcuma petiolata, is pretty safe unless you keep the soil absolutely saturated.

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Curcuma 'Figi' flower I bought Curcuma 'Figi' from a nursery in South Florida several years ago, and I have never seen it listed anywhere else. To me it appears quite similar to the variegated Curcuma petiolata which is sometimes sold under the cultivar name 'Emperor', however I do believe it to be a distinct form. The rhizomes are fatter and more branched than the specimens I have of either Curcuma 'Emporer' or Curcuma petiolata 'Variegata'.

Like Curcuma petiolata (hidden lily), this one is not at all fussy about growing conditions, and would be suitable for beginners. I have grown it in conditions from filtered shade to about 4 hours direct sun and it has performed equally well. It gets between 3 and 4 ft. tall. It is a reliable bloomer and the variegated foliage (which does not show up very well in these photos) is an added attraction. It has been tested here for cold hardiness down to the low twenties, and probably would be hardy to zone 7B.

Grow it in well drained organic soil kept moist during active growth. Like all Curcumas, this one will go dormant in the winter. The foliage will start to yellow in the late fall and that is perfectly natural for this plant. Some Curcumas are very susceptible to rotting of the rhizomes if they are kept too wet during winter dormancy. This one, like Curcuma petiolata, is pretty safe unless you keep the soil absolutely saturated.


Curcuma 'Figi'

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Curcuma flaviflora flower NOTE: this plant formerly known as Curcuma flaviflora, has now been described and named as Curcuma rubrobracteata. It grows to about 2 1/2 ft. tall and prefers shade. It is listed in one mail order catalog as being hardy to zone 8. One or my ginger growing friends from North Carolina offered the following explanation about the unusual shape of the rhizome and flowers. "With other curcumas a thin root is attached from the rhizome to the food storage tuber but with flaviflora the food storage tubers are attached directly to the rhizome. It is my experience that this is one of the most cold hardy of the curcumas. Curcuma flaviflora's bloom is central but splits out of the main stem just before emerging from the soil. This gives the impression that the bloom is on a separate stalk."

This is one ginger that is very hard to find and very expensive when you do find it. I don't have a whole lot of it but wanted to list it to see if anyone is interested in collecting a really special ginger.


Curcuma flaviflora

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
This is the ginger that produces the spice "turmeric". The rhizomes are bright orange in color inside, and it is listed in "The Joy of Cooking" as the "poor man's saffron", used as a cheaper saffron substitute to color rice. It is usually sold under an INCORRECT botanical name, Curcuma domestica. I have purchased plants and rhizomes from different sources and found this plant varies in size and flowering. The plant I am offering here is from some stock that is a bit taller and blooms more easily than the ones that I bought at two other sources. It grew to nearly 5 ft. tall in my garden in rich organic soil and about 4 hours of direct sun, but only 3 ft. tall in filtered shade.

It is a very easy ginger to grow, much like Curcuma petiolata (hidden lily) in its appearance and growing requirements, except that it produces white bracts instead of pink, and of course the rhizomes produce the spice turmeric wheras C. petiolata does not. Most sources list it as hardy to zones 7 or 7B, and it has proven reliably hardy here at temps in the upper teens.

Like other Curcumas, it will go into a natural dormancy in late fall; the leaves will die back and you will think it has some fungus or that it is drying up. DO NOT WATER during dormancy; that is the quickest way to rot a Curcuma rhizome. Fortunately, this species is pretty hardy and unless you keep it in saturated soil all winter, it will do just fine. That's why I selected this one for the "beginner series", after all.

Curcuma longa should be grown in well drained, organic soil, in filtered shade to part sun. It does not seem to be too picky about its growing requirements. As with all my "beginner series" gingers, I will include detailed growing instructions with the plant.


Curcuma domestica/longa

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Curcuma ornata - flower Curcuma ornata is very similar in appearance and growth habit to Curcuma elata. The flower bracts are light pink in color and appear in spring just as the foliage is beginning to sprout from winter dormancy. The flower stalks hold the infl. a little higher off the ground than C. elata and the midrib burgundy stripe is more distinct. Presumably that is why it is called "ornata" or "ornate plume" ginger. Curcuma ornata is also a little shorter than its near twin, growing in my garden to about 6 ft tall in 4-5 hours of direct sunlight.

I have seen hardiness ratings ranging from zone 7 to zone 8. Tony Avent with Plant Delights gives it a 7B happy median. I have tested hardiness in my garden to the low twenties with no problems. It is susceptable to rotting of the rhizomes if they are kept too wet during winter dormancy. If in doubt, you can lift them and store them in dampened peat in a cool garage or basement.

It seems to grow best in rich, moist, organic soil and prefers part shade.


Curcuma foliage - rear to front = elata, zedoaria, ornata

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Curcuma petiolata - flower Curcuma petiolata has beautiful tropical looking fan-like foliage that grows from 3 to 4 ft. tall. In mid summer it will produce long lasting yellow flowers with pink coma bracts. The flowers are found down in the foliage - thus the common name "hidden lily". These are very easy gingers to grow and they will increase quickly to a large clump if you lift the rhizomes and divide them in early spring.

They are hardy to USDA zone 7B, but Curcumas have a natural dormancy period during the winter dry season, even in the tropics, and can easily be lifted for winter storage in colder areas. Some Curcuma species are prone to rotting of the rhizomes during dormancy, and should not be kept too wet during winter dormancy. This species is more tolerant than most with winter-wet conditions, making it easier to grow.

Curcuma petiolata will grow in a wide range of conditions from light shade to nearly full sun. Rich, organic, moist but well-drained soil is best.


Curcuma petiolata - hidden lily

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Curcuma rubescens has beautiful tropical looking foliage with dark red stems and midrib. It is a good thing the foliage is pretty because this is a very shy bloomer. It has yet to bloom in my garden, but according to ginger expert Tom Wood it is a spring bloomer with deep purple coma bracts. He says it likes lots of sun and is quite hardy, to zone 7.

Like all Curcumas, it will start going dormant in the fall, even in warm tropical climates, and the rhizomes should not be kept too wet in winter. During the summer growing season it should be grown in moist, rich, organic soil, in full to half sun. The photo below was taken at Mercer Arboretum in Houston.


Curcuma rubescens at Mercer Arboretum

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Well, I guess I never got around to taking a picture of this one. It is another of the red stemed Curcumas, but is definately a different plant from either Curcuma rubescens or the popular new Curcuma called 'Scarlet Fever'. This plant has long snake-like rhizomes similar to Curcuma flaviflora. It is supposed to be a summer bloomer with white flowers, but has not flowered for me yet. The only place I have seen it for sale is at Plant Delights. Tony Avent was here last year so I asked him where he got it. He said it came from North Carolina plantsman Frank Galloway. Here is the history straight from the person who first brought this in:

Frank Galloway - "Curcuma 'Summer Snow' was a selection that I made some 15 years ago from a shipment of what I assume to be wild collected plants out of India via Growers Service, a now defunct supplier. Out of this shipment of several hundred rhizomes, I had one plant that emerged from a solid maroon leaf sheath with green leaves, no midrib color. Plant growth habit and heighth approximates C. petiolata with the exception of bloom. Like C. petiolata, it is a summer bloomer but with a solid white infloresence with individual blooms pink and yellow. Plant does not bloom as prolifically as the petiolata types, but it it the only one of the red stemmed forms that has proven reliably hardy here year after year. This plant survived the Jan. 1993 dip to 12 degrees with over 40 consecutive hours below freezing. In our most recent return to the Ice Age, our temps dropped to 15 but the daytime temps went above freezing on each morning. 'Summer Snow' also survived the record Zero degree, Christmas Eve 22 inch Snow of 1989. A tough plant that deserves wider circulation.

I assume that this plant is a C. leuchorhiza or at least some form of that. I have passed this plant on to some of the other serious Zingiber growers, Russell Adams, Mike Bordelon etc and have since seen the same plant in various other gardens either from Tony Avent's dispersion or others. The name 'Summer Snow' is a name that I assigned to this plant but not with the specific epithet, leuchorhiza attached. To my knowledge no one has positively identified it as to the species. Hope this helps."

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Curcuma yunnanensis showing growth of inflorescense This is the REAL Curcuma yunnnensis, my specimen from Tom Wood who received it from the South China Institute of Botany. It differs from many other large Curcumas in that it is a summer flowering species and instead of being basal blooming the inflo. appears from withing the sheath, like C. australasica and others. I have seen other plants with basal flowers in botanical gardens and mail order catalogs incorrecly labeled as Curcuma yunnanensis. The foliage is very attractive with a well defined purple midstripe as in several other Curcumas.

This Curcuma grows to about 6 feet tall in 4-5 hours direct sun in my garden, in rich, moist, orgainic soil. Like all Curcumas it will go dormant in winter (even in the tropics) and it is probably root hardy in zone 8 so long as it does not stay too wet and rot the rhizomes.


Curcuma yunnanensis flower Curcuma yunnanensis showing growth of inflorescense

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Curcuma zedoaria flower Curcuma zedoaria is very similar to Curcuma elata, except the coma bracts are a dark burgundy instead of light pink, the flowers come up a couple of weeks later (late April in my garden) along with the foliage, and the foliage has a more distinct burgundy midrib feather. It is also just a bit shorter than C. elata, growing to about 6 ft. tall in my garden.

Curcuma zedoaria is a plant of many uses besides being a beautiful ornamental. The common name "zedoary" refers to the bitter spice plant that is occasionally used in Thai cooking or the young rhizomes sometimes eaten as a vegetable in a soup. The leaves are sometimes used as a wrapper to bake fish. The rhizomes have been used for centuries in China and Japan as a medicine for relief of stomach ache and as a carminative. The oils have been used as a perfume, and according to one report it is even used in the liquor industry.

Curcuma zedoaria has been hardiness tested down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit by Tony Avent at Plant Delights in Raleigh, NC. He and most other references rate this plant as hardy to zone 7B.

Grow this Curcuma in a sunny area, from part sun to full sun, so long as the soil is kept moist. It likes a very rich organic soil high in nitrogen. During winter dormancy, the rhizomes should not be kept too wet, or they may rot.


Curcuma zedoaria emerging foliage Curcuma zedoaria at Fairchild Gardens in Miami

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Blue Ginger The so-called "blue ginger" is not really a ginger at all - it is in the spiderwort family along with "wandering joo" (spelling intentional) and several other not-so-desirable plants. This one though, deserves to carry the name ginger - it is absolutely gorgeous. I had a hard time limiting myself to just 3 photos on this listing. The true blue flowers also look good in front of my light blue house.

Blue ginger grows in part shade in moist, well drained soil. I have seen as much as 8 feet tall in frost free areas, but normally it will only grow to about 4-5 feet tall, at least in areas where it freezes back. It grows large round root tubers at the ends of the roots which allows it to survive during dormancy. I have seen several different hardiness ratings ranging from zone 7 to only zone 9. I can attest to the fact that it is perfectly hardy here in zone 8B and I believe it would be a safe bet in all but the coldest parts of zone 8.


Blue Ginger Blue Ginger

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There is more to Costaceae than just Costus. The genus Dimerocostus includes just two species, both of which are from the Americas. Here I am offering the white flowering form of Dimerocostus strobilaceus. There is also a yellow flowering form of the same species that I am offering on a separate listing. I have seen this white flowering form in Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru - and I believe it is actually more common than the yellow form that is often found in cultivation.

This is a tall plant, growing to 10 feet tall in a large pot. The foliage spirals around the stems much like Costus, but the leaves tend to be closer together and the plant has more of a woody look to it. It usually has a distinct red midstripe on the leaves. The white flowers are quite showy and bloom almost non-stop once the plant has matured. I have been told this species is technically a lateral bloomer as the flowers form around the stem and the stem can continue to grow right through the inflorescence.

Dimerocostus are frost tender and must be grown in a greenhouse over winter except in Zone 10. They need moist, rich organic soil like most Costus, and will flower best in a sunny area, can be grown in full sun if kept moist.


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Dimerocostus strobilaceus Yellow - flower There is more to Costaceae than just Costus. The genus Dimerocostus includes just two species, both of which are from the Americas. Here I am offering the yellow flowering form of Dimerocostus strobilaceus. There is also a white flowering form of the same species that I am offering on a separate listing. I have seen the yellow flowering form in nature as far north as Costa Rica and south to southern Peru. It is the more common form in cultivation.

This is a tall plant, growing to 10 feet tall in a large pot. The foliage spirals around the stems much like Costus, but the leaves tend to be closer together and the plant has more of a woody look to it. The bright yellow flowers are quite showy and bloom almost non-stop once the plant has matured. This species is a true lateral bloomer as the flowers form around the stem and the stem can continue to grow right through the inflorescence.

Dimerocostus are frost tender and must be grown in a greenhouse over winter except in Zone 10. They need moist, rich organic soil like most Costus, and will flower best in a sunny area, can be grown in virtually full sun if kept moist.


Showing Lateral Inflorescence

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Distichochlamys rubrostriata flower Distichochlamys rubrostriata is a new species of ginger, formally named and described just a few years ago by Tania Rehse of Duke Univ. and John Kress of the Smithsonian. It is endemic to northern Vietnam, and is one of only three named species in the genus. I have never seen it listed in the horticultural trade, but I have been growing it now for several years, and I think it makes an excellent ornamental. The light green foliage is evergreen and the flowers although basal are quite showy bright yellow. The flowers keep opening in succession up the inflorescence over a period of several weeks.

I have not tested it for hardiness, but since it is an evergreen tropical rainforest plant, I seriously doubt that it would withstand freezing temperatures. It is however compact enough to easily be grown in pots and used as a houseplant indoors in winter. Grow it in a well drained medium, kept regularly moist and in part shade.


Distichochlamys rubrostriata

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Globba globulifera - flower Globba globulifera is a short (18-24 inch) shade-loving ginger that produces round-shaped purple blooms all summer long. The flowers are long lasting and can be used in floral arrangements.

This Globba will also produce prolific "bulbils" which can be sprouted and grown on to mature plants. You can probably see them in the picture below. In my garden they "self seed" from these bulbils, yielding prolific "seedlings" that can be grown on to mature plants. They are not really seeds, but a form of asexual propagation, each growing into a genetic clone of the mother plant.

Purple globe ginger is hardy to zone 8, but it has a natural dormancy period during the winter dry season, even in the tropics, and can easily be lifted for winter storage in colder areas. It is small enough to be grown in pots and will tolerate low light so that it is suitable as a house plant.

It grows best in light shade, and I have read that it can tolerate nearly full sun in cooler climates. It should be planted in a well drained, organic soil. This ginger is more drought resistant than most gingers, but it prefers regular moisture.


Globba globulifera Globba globulifera - bulbils

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Globba schomburgkii - flower Globba schomburgkii is easy to grow and commonly available, but any collector who does not already have it will want it. If you can pronounce it, you can probably grow it. If you have a plant that looks like this and was sold to you under the name Globba bulbifera, then you already have this plant. Globba expert Kyle Williams of Duke University told me that the true G. bulbifera has upright inflorescence instead of the dangling type as this is. Maybe the nursery trade decided the real name was too difficult so they just renamed it for convenience sake.

Globba schomburgkii grows to 3 ft. tall in dappled or light shade, but I am told it can take a fair amount of direct sun. Like Globba globulifera (purple globe ginger), the golden dancing lady ginger will produce prolific "bulbils" which can be sprouted and grown on to mature plants. In my garden they "self seed" from these bulbils, yielding prolific "seedlings" that can be grown on to mature plants. They are not really seeds, but a form of asexual propagation, each growing into a genetic clone of the mother plant.

Globba schomburgkii is hardy at least to zone 8, but it has a natural dormancy period during the winter dry season, even in the tropics, and can easily be lifted for winter storage in colder areas. Mike Bridges (the old Southern Perennials and Herbs in Mississippi) tested it down to 7-ªF and rated it zone 7B, but other catalogs only rate it to zone 9. It has been reliably hardy in my zone 8B garden. It is small enough to be grown in pots and will tolerate low light so that it is suitable as a house plant.

It should be planted in a well drained, organic soil. This ginger is more drought resistant than most gingers, but it prefers regular moisture. Do not keep it too wet during winter dormancy if you leave it outside.


Globba schomburgkii

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Hedychium 'Peach' flowers The correct botanical name of this plant is in some doubt, as this is technically a variety of Hedychium coccineum. However it is often listed as shown above, "Hedychium angustifolium 'Peach'", or as "narrowleaf butterfly ginger". Whatever the correct botanical name may be, it is a really good ornamental ginger, and ideal for beginners due to its vigor and profuse flowering. This is one of the most profusely blooming and fastest increasing Hedychiums in my garden, save perhaps the common H. coronarium. I am growing it in about 5 hours direct sun where it grows up to 8 or 9 feet tall in rich, moist, clay-based organic soil. Expect it to be much shorter, about 5 ft, when grown in sandy soil. I have not tried it in shadier conditions, but other references I have seen recommend shade to part shade for this plant.

The flowers are very showy and prolific, and they seem to change color from yellowish to peach colored as they age. I can only detect a slight fragrance, so don't expect this ginger to fill the air with night-time fragrance like the white butterfly ginger does.

Some references rate the plant as root hardy to zone 7B, some only to zone 8, but I suspect it is hardy like most Hedychiums throughout zone 7. It has been reliably hardy in my garden to temperatures in the upper teens.

I recommend you grow this ginger in part sun (from 2 to 5 hours direct sun in warm areas, more in cooler areas), and plant it in moist, rich, organic soil.


Hedychium 'Peach'

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Hedychium 'Anne Bishop' flower Hedychium 'Anne Bishop' is another hybrid butterfly ginger that is much sought after due to its showy golden - almost orange - flowers and light fragrance, which is rare in that color. According to the recently published book "Hardy Gingers", this hybrid was produced in Hawaii and first introduced to US nurseries in 1996. H. 'Anne Bishop' is a medium sized Hedychium, growing to just 4 feet tall in my garden.

I am guessing it is at least Zone 8 hardy, and possibly into zone 7. As with other Hedychiums, 'Anne Bishop' likes a rich, moist organic soil with plenty of water and fertilizer during the summer growing season.


Hedychium 'Anne Bishop'

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Hedychium 'Ayo' inflorescence The only place I have seen this Hedychium cultivar for sale is at Stokes Tropicals. They say it was received in 1996 from a "Mr. Ayo" in Louisiana, making it an old hybrid of undetermined origin. According to the recently published "Hardy Gingers", it is a hybrid of H. coccineum var. angustifolium, but where it got its fragrance and its flower shape I have no idea. The flower shape is distinctively different from every other Hedychium hybrid I have seen. The flowers are large and rounded - almost cupped - creamy white with a hot pink center.

For some reason Stokes only has this one listed as zone 9 hardy, but there is no reason it should not be as hardy as other Hedychium hybrids of the same parentage, so I would give it a zone7B rating if not zone 7. It should have the same culture as other similar Hedychiums - rich, moist, organic soil in part sun.


Hedychium 'Ayo' flower

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Hedychium 'Brandie-Saito' flower Hedychium 'Brandie-Saito' is very similar looking to Hedychium flavescens, which is probably one of the parents. I bought it at a nursery in South Florida, and have not seen it listed anywhere else. It is probably hardy to zone 7 and is hardy in my garden at least to the upper teens here.

This Hedychium has a leaning or arching growth with broad tropical-looking foliage growing to about 8 ft tall. The fragant, soft yellow flowers come in late summer or early fall.

This Hedychium should be planted in part shade - rich, moist and organic soil.


Hedychium 'Brandie-Saito'

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I received this Hedychium cultivar several years ago and never got around to taking a photo. I really do not remember what it looks like. Take a chance and see what it looks like.

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Hedychium coccineum - flower Hedychium coccineum is a species of butterfly ginger that is found in at least five distinct varieties, and the taxonomy has become confused. Hedychium expert Tom Wood is in the process of sorting this all out, but I will describe the variety I have available for sale. It has narrow grey-green foliage that grows to 6 ft tall in my garden, with strong upright canes that never need staking, as with some Hedychiums.

The flowers are orange-red in color, shiny in texture and individually small but massed to make a showy inflorescence. They do not have any fragrance that I can detect although some people claim there is a slight fragrance. It is a very showy plant while in bloom, and once it has been established it will start flowering as early as June and keeps sending up new flowering stalks through the summer and into fall.

It is reliably hardy in my garden, and most references rate it as hardy in zone 7B or zone 8. One of my correspondents in Durham, NC says it is perfectly hardy for him there, and another in the southwest of England has told me he grows it with no problems there. I have not found it to be prone to rotting of the dormant rhizomes like some Hedychiums, so my guess it it would be hardy throughout zone 7.

This is a sun loving Hedychium. I have it growing in about 5 hours direct sun, but it can be planted in full sun if the soil is kept evenly moist. It should be grown in rich, organic soil.


Hedychium coccineum

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Hedychium coronarium - flowers Hedychium coronarium is probably the most commonly grown of all ornamental gingers, and with good reason. It has adds a tropical look to the garden, provides beautiful white flowers from summer to fall, and yields a heavy sweet fragrance that will fill the evening air. The only negative with this plant, is that it will tend to flop over when the flower heads get too heavy, and will need some staking.

In my garden Hedychium coronarium grows to 8 feet tall, planted in very rich moist, organic soil in a clay base amended with lots of compost, and in 4-5 hours of direct sun. When I have seen it in other plantings in South Florida in a sandy based soil, it has never been nearly so tall, growing to only 5 or 6 ft tall at the most.

Hardiness is usually rated to zone 7 in most references, and I have had confirmed reports from correspondents in Great Britain, in the Pacific Northwest and in the upper South, that it is root hardy to as low as 2 degrees F.

Grow this Hedychium in rich, moist, organic soil in part to full sun. It must have at least a couple of hours of direct sun to bloom well.


Hedychium coronarium

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Hedychium Maximum flower I received this large butterfly ginger in a trade identified as "Hedychium Maximum" but it is not the yellow-flowering species H. maximum, but rather the large form of Hedychium coronarium, the common white butterfly ginger. It grows to 8 ft tall in my garden with attractive dark green foliage. It has the same sweet evening fragrance as the common one, but with slightly larger flowers, taller canes and fatter rhizomes. The flowers start in mid summer and continue through fall.

It has been reliably hardy in my zone 8B garden, and most references rate this type of Hedychium as hardy in zone 7. Like all butterfly gingers, the foliage will freeze back but the rhizome will sprout new growth in spring. It is a vigorous ginger that will form a nice clump in a single summer.

This is another sun loving Hedychium. I have it growing in about 4 hours direct sun, but it can be planted in nearly full sun if the soil is kept moist. It should be grown in rich, organic soil.


Hedychium Maximum

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Hedychium 'Coronata Creme' flower Hedychium 'Coronata Crema' (or is it Creme or Cream, I am not sure) came to me from a plant trader in Puerto Rico, and I am not certain of the origins or the name. The recently published book "Hardy Gingers" has included it in their list of Hedychium hybrids and has described it as a "magnificent new American hybrid" with "large flower spikes that bear huge flowers." I have grown it for several years, and although it looks similar to some other Hedychiums, it seems to have a slightly different peachy color with a darker center - prolific flowering butterfly ginger, and quite vigorous as well. Anyhow, I will let these pictures speak for themselves. If you like it, try it.


Hedychium 'Coronata Crema' Hedychium 'Coronata Crema'

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Hedychium 'Daniel Weeks' flower Hedychium 'Daniel Weeks' is a hybrid butterfly ginger that is much sought after due to its sweet "honeysuckle-like" fragrance and its strong upright canes. As I understand it, it was bred by Russell Adams of Gainesville Tree Farm, and named after an employee there. According to the recently published book, Hardy Gingers", it is a hybrid of H. flavescens and H. gardneranum.

In my garden it grows to 7 ft tall in about 4-5 hours direct sun. It is an early bloomer, the first of the Hedychiums to start flowering in my garden. The flowers start in early to mid June and continue through the summer as new canes come up from the rhizomes. It is one of the most fragrant Hedychium hybrids.

Most references rate this Hedychium as hardy to zone 7 or zone 7B, and it is well proven in my zone 8B garden. As with other Hedychiums, 'Daniel Weeks' likes a rich, moist organic soil with plenty of water and fertilizer during the summer growing season.


Hedychium 'Daniel Weeks'

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Hedychium 'Dave Case' flower Hedychium 'Dave Case' is another of Tom Wood's many hybrid Hedychiums, named after the now retired ginger enthusiast, Dave Case from Central Florida. It is a tall variety (easily to 7 feet) with beautiful orange flowers with a light fragrance. It produces flowers from August to October. It has strong stems to keep it upright without staking, when grown in sunny conditions, and it is a vigorous grower once established.

According to Tom it is hardy to Zone 7, and the "Hardy Gingers" book rates it hardy down to 5 degrees F. It grows best in rich, moist, organic soil, with at least 4-5 hours of direct sun. Given plenty of moisture, it can be grown in full sun.


Hedychium 'Dave Case'

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Hedychium 'Disney' flowers This is a form of Hedychium coccineum, also known as the "Honduras form". The story I have heard is that the original plant was "released from captivity" at Disney World many years ago by one of the pioneer ginger collectors, and ever since has been referred to as Hedychium 'Disney'. The old "Southern Perennials" (Mike Bridges) catalog indicated that this is also a synonym for Hedychium 'Orange Brush'.

One problem with many Hedychiums is that they are not strong upright plants and need staking to keep them from flopping all over the place. Not true of this one, it stands at nearly full attention throughout the summer months, growing to 4-5 ft tall in my garden. It starts very early in the season, one of the first to sprout new growth if grown in areas where it freezes back in witner. Just like the regular H. coccineum, the flowers are not fragrant, but they are very showy and I get blooms throughout the summer months and into the late fall. This is a vigorous plant, and given the right conditions a single rhizome will multiply to a fair sized patch in a single summer.

Hedychium 'Disney' is root hardy to zone 7, and the form for sale here is small enough a plant to conveniently be grown in pots and brought indoors in colder climates.

Grow Hedychium 'Disney' in 4-5 hours direct sun to get the best flowering and vigor. I have not tried it in shadier conditions. Like most Hedychiums, it needs rich, organic soil, kept plenty moist during active growth.


Hedychium 'Disney' plant

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Hedychium hybrid 'Dr. Moy' Seems like I have lots of favorites, but this is indeed my favorite Hedychium hybrid - the only one I know that is variegated. Hedychium 'Dr. Moy', as I prefer to call it, is a hybrid of H. flavum and H. coccineum that was bred by the retired botanist, Dr. Moy of San Antonio Botanical Gardens. It has become quite popular and widely available.

I asked lots of people about the Dr. Moy who created this - the only variegated Hedychium, and none of the ginger experts I know could tell me much about him. A few years ago I was in San Antonio and had the pleasure of meeting him in person. He was totally unaware of the popularity of his creation, nor did he know that it had been renamed after him. He originally named this plant Hedychium 'Robusta'. He showed me the original records and said it was a hybrid of H. flavum and H. coccineum. Out of about 200 seedlings, ONLY ONE produced the variegated foliage. This is the first variegated Hedychium, although there are many people working on Hedychium hybrids.


Dr. Ying Doon Moy


Hedychium 'Dr. Moy' is a medium (4-5 ft) butterfly ginger with very stout and strong sheaths that never need staking to keep it upright. The flower head is huge! It is showy for both flowers and its unique variegated foliage. The flowers are slightly fragrant, with a peachy orange color and darker centers. The variegation is sometimes very pronounced but sometimes less noticable and more speckled than striped.

Hedychium 'Dr. Moy' The growing requirements are similar to other Hedychiums, part sun and rich, moist, organic soil.

Hedychium 'Dr. Moy'

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Hedychium 'Edison Home' plant I found this ginger locally under the name "Hedychium 'Edison Home' and have been trying to trace it back to see where it originated. Tallahassee Nurseries bought it from Brandy (Just Fruits) who got it from Russel Adams (Gainesville Tree Farm) who got it from SOMEONE who got it from the Thomas Edison Estate in Ft. Myers, Florida. That's as far as I have gotten in the detective work, but I am guessing it is an old forgotten cultivar that was collected by Thomas Edison's gardener. It is certainly different looking from other Hedychium hybrids I am familiar with. The new book "Hardy Gingers" has picked up the name and says it is a hybrid of H. coccineum, but I have no idea where they came up with that, and personally I do not see coccineum in this one at all.

The flower color reminds me very much of a paler version of H. 'Elizabeth' . The flower heads are large and dense, opening from the bottom, and slightly fragrant. The stems are quite sturdy and the plant is vigorous, increasing to a large patch in one season for me. I really think this is a winning hybrid and that it will eventually become quite popular if it gets out farther than just this local area. I know of one other nursery in central Florida that is offering it, but no one on a national mail order site. So here is your chance to be the first in you neighborhood with a piece of the Thomas Edison Estate growing in your garden.


Hedychium 'Edison Home' flowers

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Hedychium 'Elizabeth' flower This Tom Wood hybrid is one of the most popular gingers in cultivation, and you may find it for sale at a lower price elsewhere. However, beware and make certain you know your supplier, because I bought this Hedychium three times before I finally got the REAL Hedychium 'Elizabeth'. My specimen comes directly from the breeder, Tom Wood, and not from any tissue culture, nursery or mail order source. Hedychium 'Elizabeth' has distinctive raspberry colored flowers and a very sweet fragrance. BTW, Tom named it after an old girlfriend, in case you wondered.

I have always seen this grown in part sun like other Hedychiums, but one year I was visiting at Daniel Stowe Botanic Garden, just west of Charlotte, NC. They have all their Hedychiums growing in wide open full sun! (Proves they will grow under those conditions.) What amazed me was to see that of all their Hedychiums, by far the tallest was 'Elizabeth'. It was growing about 8 feet tall and had huge flower heads. Below is a photo from there. If I had full sun in my yard I would definately try this one in full sun. Beyond that, it should be grown in rich, moist, organic soil as with other Hedychiums, and it is rated as zone 7 hardy.


Hedychium 'Elizabeth' at Stowe's Botanical Garden

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Hedychium flavescens flower You species purists will definately want this one as part of your collection. Hedychium flavescens is one of the parents of many modern hybrids. It brings to the mix a tall, fragrant plant with light yellow flowers responsible for many of the pastels in the Hedychium hybrid world. There has been much confusion between this species and one with a similar name - Hedychium flavum. I have distinguished the two by the shape and color of the bracts - H. flavescens with dark colored, wide bracts and H. Flavum with green narrow bracts.

In my garden, H. flavescens grows to a towering 8 ft. tall with dark green tropical-looking foliage and an interesting flower cone of a darker grey-green color. The flowers appear late in the season, pale yellow and fragrant.

I must share with you an amusing story about this plant. A few months ago I was passing by this plant and was perplexed by a strange shaking and bouncing movement. There was no wind at the time so I could not imagine what it was, causing this plant to bob up and down. It turned out it was visited by a hawk moth that got its proboscis stuck in the flower. I finally set it free but had to surgically remove the flower from the moth. You can see a little pictorial of this event at http://www.gingersrus.com/images/moth/

Hedychium flavescens is rated as hardy in zone 7 by Plant Delights, and I know Tony carefully tests his offerings in Raleigh before putting the number on them. Other references I have seen only give it an 8. It is perfectly hardy in my garden, but I can only test to the upper teens here.

The habit is much like H. thyrsiforme, with a leaning or arching growth that some would want to put to the stake. I prefer to let it lean, and simply plant it in a spot that takes advantage of that kind of architecture.

Hedychium flavescens should be planted in part shade, probably will not take full sun as many Hedychiums do. It does need the standard Hedychium soil - rich, moist and organic.


Hedychium flavescens

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Hedychium flavum inflorescence There has been much confusion between this species and one with a similar name - Hedychium flavescens. I have distinguished the two by the shape and color of the bracts - H. Flavum with green narrow bracts and H. flavescens with dark colored, wide bracts. The new book "Hardy Gingers" indicates that the flowers of H. flavum should be solid yellow without a dark center, but nothing I have found in botanical descriptions or early illustrations support that distinction. The narrow bracts in this plant do not agree with H. flavescens which is supposed to be closer to H. coronarium. Someday, someone will give us a definative answer to this question.

My Hedychium flavum is a medium height ginger, growing to about 6 feet tall in my garden. It has upright stems and produces pale yellow flowers with a darker yellow center. The flowers have a similar fragrance to that of H. flavescens and H. coronarium, but not quite as strong. It should be grown in part sun in rich, moist, organic soil. It is hardy at least to zone 8 and probably zone 7B.


Hedychium flavum flower

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Hedychium gardnerianum - Kahili Ginger Hedychium gardnerianum is a very popular butterfly ginger, often known by its Hawaiian name of "Kahili Ginger", or sometimes called "garland flower". Many people mistakenly believe this plant is native to Hawaii or to the Pacific islands, but it is actually native to India.

Kahili ginger has been cultivated for centuries as an ornamental plant, and it is found in several different forms. The one offered here is a bit shorter and stockier than most other butterfly gingers, and possibly is the same form as the form 'Compactum' that was distributed by the Gainesville Tree Farm. This makes it a more sturdy upright plant, which never needs staking. In my garden it grows to between 4 and 5 feet tall. The leaves are also broader, and are a rich dark green in color. The rhizomes of this ginger are distinctively fatter and rounder in shape, and dark brown in color.

The flowers are soft yellow with showy red stamens. The inflorescense is huge and cylindrical in shape, making this one of the prettiest of the Hedychiums. It blooms here in August and September, sometimes on into October. Some sources indicate it is fragrant, but I have never detected a fragrance with this one. It certainly does not have the heavy sweet fragrance of the white butterfly ginger, Hedychium coronarium.

Hedychium gardnerianum is not as hardy as other butterfly gingers, rated at zone 8 by most sources. A good Hedychium grower I know in North Carolina (Raleigh area) says he has lost his every winter that he left it outdoors. Another correspondent indicated that it would not grow well in cool summer climates, but I have seen a huge stand of it, full of flowers, at Strybing Arboretum in San Francisco (below), so I think west coast collectors would have no problems. It is, however, later than the others in breaking dormancy.


Hedychium gardnerianum - Kahili Ginger at Strybing Arboretum, San Francisco


Hedychium gardnerianum should be grown in rich, moist, organic soil, in about 3-4 hours of direct sun. Its shorter, stockier form makes it a good candidate for growing in pots, if you live in a climate colder than zone 8. Another alternative, as with all the Hedychiums, is to lift the rhizomes in the fall and store them in a cool basement or garage.

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Monster Kahili inflorescense Every ginger collector is familiar with the yellow butterfly ginger, Hedychium gardnerianum, known as the "Kahili Ginger". It is very popular in Hawaii and is sometime even called Hawaiian Yellow Ginger. Well this one is different from the normal form. I received this in trade from a friend in Southern California who said she had received it from an old San Diego estate. She told me it was a big one, but WOW! When it bloomed for me this summer I could not believe how big the inflorescense got - over 17 inches tall! You might be able to see the 15 inch ruler behind the picture below.


A large flower spike indeed!


I am thinking this might be the same plant that Larry Shatzer calls Hedychium 'Gardner Waters', named after the late San Francisco ginger collector. I have some specimens from Larry, and they do get big, but not quite this big - I just had to name it something to distinguish it, so I came up with the name 'Monster Kahili'. And yes… in case you were wondering they do have a fragrance, although not as strong as the common white butterfly ginger.

I grow this Hedychium in rich, moist, organic soil in about 5 hours direct sun. It is probably hardy at least in Zone 8.

Monster Kahili

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Hedychium 'Gold Flame' - flower Hedychium 'Gold Flame' is a Tom Wood hybrid, which gets its sweet gardenia fragrance from the common white butterfly ginger, Hedychium coronarium. The foliage grows up to 7 ft tall, depending on growing conditions, but this is not the strongest upright Hedychium, and it will tend to flop over if it gets too tall due to the weight of its flower head. It is a vigorous hybrid and will increase as rapidly as the parent H. coronarium.

It is reliably root hardy to USDA zone 7, but the foliage will freeze back with the first hard frost. The rhizomes may be lifted and stored over winter if you are in a colder winter area, but this plant will need warm summers to grow well.

The flowers have a bright gold "flame" in the center, and are quite showy. As noted above, they will exude a sweet heavy fragrance in the evening.

Grow this Hedychium in rich, moist, organic soil in part to full sun. It must have at least a couple of hours of direct sun to bloom well.


Hedychium 'Gold Flame'

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Hedychium 'Golden Butterflies' flower 'Golden Butterflies' is the only hybrid Hedychium I am aware of that has been produced by the "Kaempferia King" - John Banta. John combined the merits of Hedychium gardnerianum with the fragrance of Hedychium flavescens to produce this hybrid many years ago. The flower color is a deep golden orange with a red center, red stamens and wonderfully fragrant. Also distinctive in this hybrid are the glossy dark green leaves on arching pseudostems. This could almost be called the perfect hybrid Hedychium, except that it lacks hybrid vigor, and has taken me 6 years to grow enough of it to share on line.

Based on its parentage I would think that it would be only zone 8 hardy, but most sources rate it as zone 7 or 7B, and it has been carried for sale at Plant Delights in Raleigh, NC. It should be grown in the typical butterfly ginger soil - moist, fertile, organic - in part sun.


Hedychium 'Golden Butterflies - foliage'

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Hedychium greenii flowers This is a very different kind of butterfly ginger. Hedychium greenii is a small to medium sized ginger, usually growing only 3 ft tall, but sometimes up to 4 or 5 ft if grown in optimal conditions. The foliage is very attractive, reddish-purple stems and undersides of leaves and dark green on the upper sides of the leaves. The flowers are bright red but the flower heads are smaller than many other Hedychiums.

Hedychium greenii is unique among butterfly gingers by producing prolific small plantlets from the flower heads. You can pull off these plantlets after they mature a bit and stick them in the soil about an inch, and they will root readily forming new plants. This makes them easy to propagate, and it is a very good thing.

Hedychium expert Tom Wood has explained that "no one has been able to get H. greenii to set seed either in self- or cross-pollination. It appears that all plants in cultivation have originated from one plant collected in SW Bhutan and grown in Darjeeling by a Mr. Green before 1908. It may have become sterile due to repeated propagation by bulbils. In order to solve this problem, I tried to find this rare plant where it was collected about 30 years ago near Nongkhlao in Megalaya Province in India without success. The plant is not know to exceed 1.8 meters. In Florida it seldom exeeds one meter in height. It also has been reported to have a different chromosome number (2n=36) from most other Hedychiums." Mr. Wood also cleared up the confusion on the spelling of this plant and has convinced me at last the the correct spelling is indeed with two i's.

Hedychium greenii plantlets Hedychium greenii requires a little more shade than other Hedychiums. I have grown it in a range from about 4 hours direct sun to filtered shade, and it has bloomed in either case, but had a tendency to dry out in that much sun, unless regularly watered. According to the book "Hardy Gingers", its native habitat is moist, even marshy ground, and others have told me it should be kept very moist for best flowering, but I have flowered it in average semi-moist soil with no problem. I have seen hardiness ratings all the way from zone 7 to zone 9, and I suspect it is not quite as hardy as other Hedychiums. The rhizomes tend to climb out of the soil and thus would be more subject to freeze damage. It is perfectly hardy in my zone 8B garden and I think it would be safe throughout zone 8.


Hedychium greenii

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Hedychium hasseltii flower Do you want a butterfly ginger but do not have much space? Hedychium hasseltii is a short butterfly ginger, growing to only 3 ft tall in my garden. The white flowers are pretty but not especially showy or long lasting. They have a light but pleasant fragrance. The short stature of this ginger gives it a good use in the garden and it is the ideal Hedychium for indoor gardening or growing in pots.

This Hedychium, unlike most popular garden Hedychiums, comes from the more tropical climate of Java, rather than from the northern part of India. It is an epiphyte in nature, but I have grown it successfully as a terrestrial in well drained soil. I have tried it in varying degrees of moisture and sunlight, and it seems to grow best for me in well drained organic soil in filtered shade. Hedychium hasseltii is definately root hardy for me in Tallahassee, no problem surviving low to mid twenties. It is generally rated in the trade as zone 8 hardy.


Hedychium hasseltii

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I received this un-named Hedychium hybrid from Alan Shapiro, renowned grower from Gainesville, Florida. He did not remember the source. It appears to me to have some H. flavens in the mix, soft yellow fragrant flowers. Seems to be an easy one to grow and has an attractive tropical look.


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Hedychium 'Kanes Pink' Here is another pink-flowering Hedychium that is hard to distinguish from some of the others, but apparently is an old cultivar from "people who loved gingers when gingers wasn't cool". This one has been floating around the Houston area for many years. My friend and fellow ginger grower, David Petersen, tracked down the story. It seems that many years ago, perhaps back in the 70's, there was a ginger grower and amateur hybridizer named Mrs. Kane, who gave this ginger to a Mrs. Robertson who propagated and sold the plant at the Houston Bulb Mart for many years. She named it 'Kane's Pink' and it has since traveled far and wide from garden to garden.

If it hasn't made it to your garden yet, here's your chance to add it to your collection. It grows to about 6 ft tall in my garden, and has sturdy sheaths that hold it upright without staking. The flowers come in late summer and have a slight fragrance.

I am assuming it will be hardy to zone 7 like most similar Hedychiums, and should be grown in part sun, rich, moist, organic soil with plenty of nutrients.


Hedychium 'Kanes Pink'

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Hedychium 'Kewense' flower Hedychium 'Kewense' is an old (by ginger timeframes) cultivar of the butterfly ginger, of uncertain origins but most likely named as coming from the world famous Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, England. According to the recently published book "Hardy Gingers", there are actually two entirely different plants in cultivation under this name. One of these is a form of H. coccineum that is not often found. The other one (offered here) is entirely different. The flowers are a soft raspberry color and only slightly fragrant but the flower heads are large and showy making this an excellent garden cultivar. The canes are fairly strong upright, growing to 6-7 ft. tall in my garden where I am growing it in about 2 hours of early morning sun.

Hardiness is generally rated to zone 7, and Mike Bridges (Southern Perennials and Herbs) tested it to 7 degrees F. in Mississippi. It should be grown in part sun to very light shade, in rich, moist, organic soil.

Hedychium 'Kewense'

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Hedychium 'Kinkaku' - flower Hedychium 'Kinkaku' is one of the oldest hybrid Hedychiums in cultivation, brought into the US back in the 1960's. It is a medium sized Hedychium, growing from 4 to 5 ft tall in my garden. The foliage is dark green and both the canes and the foliage are rather narrow. The flower head can sometimes get huge such as in the picture to the right, but other times it has just been average. The individual flowers are strikingly beautiful with large labellums.

Hedychium 'Kinkaku' is a vigorous and easy-to-grow ginger, and will spread quickly to fill a garden area. Most sources rate this plant root hardy to zone 7. Grow this Hedychium in light shade to a few hours direct sun in rich, moist, organic soil.

Hedychium 'Kinkaku'

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Hedychium 'Kong' I don't know much about the origins of this hybrid butterfly ginger. It was distributed a few years ago by the tissue culture propagator, "Agristarts" under the name Hedychium 'Kong', but I have been unable to find it listed anywhere on the internet nor is it listed in the Hardy Gingers book. It grows to about 7 feet tall in my garden, the pseudostems are strong enough to keep it upright without staking, and it produces large flower heads - so this is enough to make it a worthwhile garden plant. It also has a light fragrance. The shape of the inflorescence makes me think this is a hybrid of H. coronarium with H. gardnerianum, but that is really just a guess on my part. If anyone can add some insight on the origins of this hybrid, please let me know. I always like to give credit to the breeder.

I can only assume that it will be hardy to zone 7B at least, possibly zone 7A. I am growing it in the same conditions as my other Hedychiums - part sun, rich, well-drained, organic soil.

Hedychium 'Kong'

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Hedychium 'Multiflora White' This is a medium sized butterfly ginger which grew to 5 ft tall in my garden. The flowers are reminiscent of Hedychium thyrsiforme, small and a bit frilly with pure white stamens. They have a slight fragrance. The foliage is dark green and sturdy upright, needing no staking. I found this at Just Fruits and frankly do not know the background of this cultivar, I have not seen anything exactly like it elsewhere. Somehow it got listed in the new "Hardy Gingers" book (probably from my website, described based on my photos) where it is said to have flowers unlike those of any other Hedychium.

It should be grown like other Hedychiums in rich, moist, organic soil. I have grown it in a little more shade than my other butterfly gingers and it seems to grow with vigor and bloom just fine. I would recommend dappled sunlight to partial shade up to maybe 3 hours direct sun.

Hedychium 'Multiflora White'

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Hedychium 'Peach Delight' This "delightful" Hedychium hybrid was introduced by that wonderful mail order company, Tony Avent's Plant Delights. I highly recommend them as one of the very best mail order companies in the business. I have ordered from them many times and never been disappointed in the quality.

Anyhow, enough of advertising for the competition... This is a medium height ginger, growing in my garden to about 6 feet, with pretty peachy-pink colored flowers and a darker - almost orange center. The flower heads are large, showy and fragrant.

Tony says it is hardy in zone 7, and he has grown it in his Raleigh, NC nursery for several years, so it has had a good test down to 0 degrees. It should be grown in part sun, moist, rich, organic soil.

Hedychium 'Peach Delight'

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Hedychium 'Pink Flame' flower Yet another wonderful hybrid Hedychium by master ginger breeder Tom Wood. This one he calls 'Pink Flame' - I assume it is part of the set with 'Gold Flame'. It is somewhat shorter than 'Gold Flame' and more sturdy upright, with larger flower heads, in my opinion a better plant. The pattern on the labellum is similar but the color is more rose-pink instead of gold

Hedychium 'Pink Flame' is rated as zone 7 hardy and should be grown in rich, moist, organic soil in part sun.

Hedychium 'Pink Flame' flower

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Hedychium 'Pink V' - flower Hedychium 'Pink V' is a very popular hybrid butterfly ginger that was bred by Tom Wood in his early years hybridizing Hedychiums (although he never gets credit for it). He originally named it 'Tropical Passion' but somehow that did not catch on. It is one of my personal favorite Hedychium hybrids. By most accounts the name Pink V is from the pinkish edges of the ligules forming "V" shapes on the canes - not from any markings on the flowers themselves.

It is a medium height ginger, growing in my garden to a little over 6 feet tall. The canes are fairly sturdy upright, not needing staking. Other references indicate it has either a "strong" or a "citrus" fragrance, but I have only detected a light fragrance, and you should not expect this ginger to fill the evening air with the heavy gardenia fragrance of a white butterfly ginger. The flowering season lasts from mid summer to early fall.

Like most Hedychiums, it is root hardy to zone 7. It should be grown in part sun to very light shade, in rich, moist, organic soil.

Hedychium 'Pink V'

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Hedychium 'Pradhanii' flower This is one of the oldest Hedychium cultivars still in cultivation, perhaps only H. 'Kewense' has been around longer. The name has caused lots of ginger collectors some confusion as to whether it is a species or a hybrid. Tom Wood has traced back the history and verified that it is a hybrid Hedychium from the Chandra Nursery in Sikkim, India, imported to the USA in 1952.

This is one of the first Hedychium hybrids I planted in my garden and it has increased well. It usually produces a spectacular show with huge flower heads, soft creamy white flowers with pale pink stamens. It reportedly has a light fragrance, but I did not notice any fragrance. It is one of the taller growing cultivars, about 7 feet in my garden.

Hedychium 'Pradhanii' should be grown in part sun, moist, rich, organic soil. It is rated hardy to zone 7B, and has been thoroughly tested for hardiness at Plant Delights in Raleigh, NC.

Hedychium 'Pradhanii'

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Hedychium 'Rayna' flower There is quite a story behind this one. I bought it at Just Fruits, and Brandy told me she bought it wholesale from Russel Adams' Gainesville Tree Farm (which was a great place to find gingers). She said it was a dwarf cultivar called 'Rayna'. Several months later I was down in Gainesville so I stopped in to see what they had new, and mentioned the cute hybrid cultivar 'Rayna' they had sold to Brandy. "We've never had a Hedychium named 'Rayna'", they replied. "We used to have an employee named Rayna, but she does not work here any longer." Hmmmmm. I checked back with Brandy, and she insists that was the name given when she bought the plant. Once when Tom Wood was visiting, he told me he thought the plant was actually his hybrid Hedychium 'Four Way'. The author of the new book "Hardy Gingers" must have seen it on my web site, because it is described there (probably based on my photos) and so the name 'Rayna' is now published and will have to stick.

Whatever the correct name is, it is a great little butterfly ginger. It has grown to just 4 ft. tall in my garden in filtered shade and a little shorter in part sun. The canes are relatively thick for the height so that the plants do not flop over at all. The inflorescense is very different, broad oval in overall shape, with creamy white flowers, peachy centers and long protruding orange stamens - quite showy and slightly fragrant. It does not look like any other Hedychium I have growing in my garden.

Hedychium 'Rayna'

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Hedychium 'Salmon' flower It is hard to capture the exact color of this one, but the cultivar name is Hedychium 'Salmon'. I received this plant in a trade from a collector in Michigan, believe it or not. I have never seen it offered in commerce, so I was guessing he bred it and named it himself. I have one other of his hybrids. Then along comes the new book "Hardy Gingers", and there it is in black and white. I don't know whether the author found it published somewhere else or picked up the name from my website but strangely there have been several of my "exclusive" Hedychiums published in his book, and no mention of the source. (Do I sound a bit unhappy about this?)

The foliage is grey-green and narrow like H. coccineum, but it is a lot taller. It is a very strong upright grower, with less tendency to flop over than many other Hedychiums. I am growing it in about 2 hours direct sun, where it grows to 7 ft. tall. The flower heads are very showy and have a light fragrance. It starts blooming in July and repeats (on new canes) until fall.

Grow this Hedychium in rich, organic soil in part sun.

Hedychium 'Salmon' Hedychium 'Salmon'

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Hedychium 'Samsheri' flower 'Samsheri' is an old hybrid imported from Chandra Nurseries in India back in 1952. It is similar in appearance to H. 'Kinkaku', and for many years I was unsure whether it might be a different name for that other old-time ginger hybrid. However, the recently published book "Hardy Gingers" says that it is a separtate and legitimately named hybrid from 'Kinkaku'. What the distinction is, I am not certain, but to me it seems to produce larger flower heads than 'Kinkaku'. The color is a similar pale pink, and the light fragrance is also close. The only place I have seen it listed for sale -at least under that name - is at Mike Bridges' old nursery, Southern Perennials, where it was listed as a synonym for 'Kinkaku'

It should be hardy to zone 7 or at least 7B, as it was grown for many years at Mike's Tylertown, MS nursery. It should be grown in the typical butterfly ginger soil - moist, fertile, organic - in part sun.

Hedychium 'Samsheri'

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Hedychium 'Sherry Baby' Hedychium 'Sherry Baby' is a hybrid ginger lily, bred by Larry Shatzer of Our Kids Tropicals in Orlando, Florida. One of the parents is a Hedychium gardnerianum variant that Larry calls H. 'Gardner Waters', named after the early Hedychium pioneer of that name in California. 'Sherry Baby' carries the strong upright form and the large flower head of that parent plant, but it is a sterile hybrid (too bad for Hedychium breeders). It has only a slight fragrance.

Hedychium 'Sherry Baby' is probably hardy like its parent to zone 7, and has been tested in my garden to the upper teens. It is a vigorous hybrid and makes a very attractive landscape subject. I grow it in 4-5 hours direct sun in rich, moist, organic soil where it grows to 6-7 ft. tall. The flowers start in early summer and continue through the fall. I have also grown it in just a little bit of early morning sun, and it seems to flower just fine under those conditions as well.


Hedychium 'Sherry Baby'

I have not seen this listed for sale at any of the big mail order houses, and as far as I know the only place you can buy it is from the breeder, or perhaps from my favorite local nursery, Just Fruit & Exotics, in Crawfordville, Florida. I have grown it for several years and finally have enough of it to offer it here on-line.

Closeup of Hedychium 'Sherry Baby'

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Hedychium 'Tangerine' flower I have only seen this cultivar listed for sale at Andy's Aloha Tropicals, and I do not know anything about its origins. It is listed in the new "Hardy Gingers" book, but nothing more is added there to the description on the Aloha Tropicals website. It appears to me to have Hedychium coccineum var. angustifolium in its parantage based on the narrow, upright pointing leaves. The flower color is truly a tangerine color, but I do not find this one to be "strongly fragrant" as stated on Aloha Tropicals website.

It should be hardy to at least 7B, and should be grown in the typical butterfly ginger soil - moist, fertile, organic - in part sun.

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Hedychium thyrsiforme flower This is another species Hedychium that any serious collector of gingers will want. It is sometimes called the "pincushion ginger" or "frilly white ginger" based on the small flowers with the long white stamens. It has only a slight fragrance if at all, so don't expect it to fill the air with a sweet heavy fragrance like the common white butterfly ginger, Hedychium coronarium. The flowers do not come until fairly late in fall - it blooms in October for me.

Hedychium thyrsiforme is a medium height ginger, growing to between 5 and 6 ft tall, and usually not upright but arching in a very pretty way. The foliage is very wide, dark green and tropical looking.

I am growing it in filtered shade, and have not tried it myself in a sunny area, but most references indicate it should be grown in part sun to as much as full sun. To me it simply LOOKS like a shade plant so I put it in the shade.

Hardiness by most references is zone 8 (not zone 7 like other Hedychiums) so you might not want to try it if you are in a colder location. It is probably too big to be grown as a potted plant. I can vouch for hardiness down to the upper teens in my zone 8B garden.

Hedychium thyrsiforme should be grown in rich, moist, organic soil with a monthly light application of fertilizer or a slow release source of nitrogen from compost.

Hedychium thyrsiforme Hedychium thyrsiforme

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Hedychium 'Tropic Bird' Hedychium 'Tropic Bird' is a hybrid butterfly ginger bred by - who else - by Tom Wood. He has told me it is one of his proudest achievements in his Hedychium breeding program. The main thing that sets this apart from other butterfly gingers in cultivation is that the individual flowers last several days instead of one day as with most Hedychiums. The flowers change color from white to cream to golden yellow as they age. Not only that, but they are very fragrant! When blooming in my greenhouse they fill the greenhouse with a spicy, clove-like scent, as Tom describes it. 'Tropic Bird' is also unusual because it blooms during cool temperatures - Tom says from September to February. I have had it bloom myself in January, February and April. Hedychium 'Tropic Bird'
Beyond that it has a lot more going for it. It has broad leaves and a compact shape that makes it look great as a potted plant. In my greenhouse it grows a little taller than the 18 inches listed for it - maybe to 3 feet tall - but still easilly managed in a 3 gallon container.

I have not tested it outdoors myself, but Tom says it survives in zones 8-10 with mulching. I believe one of the parents to this hybrid is an epiphytic Hedychium (probably H. longicornutum) so I recommend a very free draining soil or potting medium. It does very well in part shade to very light shade - does not seem to need much direct sunlight to bloom as do other Hedychiums.

Hedychium 'Tropic Bird'

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Hedychium hybrid from Woodlanders I received this Hedychium locally from a friend who said she ordered it many years ago from the renowned Woodlanders Nurseries in Aiken, South Carolina. It is an un-named hybrid of H. coccineum and H. angustifolium, according to the old Woodlander's catalog, so I have simply named it as 'Woodlanders'.. The recently published book Hardy Gingers" says that the plant originated in Coimbra, Portugal and was distributed by the Woodlanders Nursery in the late 1980's. The flower color reminds me somewhat of the cultivar I have under the name H. angustifolium 'Peach', except that it does not change color as it ages, like 'Peach' does. It does make nice large flower heads and the stems are fairly sturdy. It increases fairly well but not the most vigorous Hedychium in my collection. Still, I have enough of it to offer some for sale to you collectors who just have to have every Hedychium ever created.


Hedychium hybrid from Woodlanders

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Hedychium 'Yellow Spot' flower This is another butterfly ginger I received from Brandy at Just Fruits. (Where DOES she find all these unusual hybrids?) It is a medium height Hedychium, growing to 4 ft. tall in my garden in part sun. The flower is obviously from the standard white butterfly ginger (Hedychium coronarium) because it has the same general shape and sweet gardenia fragrance. There is a distinct yellow spot in the centers giving it the cultivar name 'Yellow Spot'. The book "Hardy Gingers" says it is slow growing, but I have found it to be a fairly vigorous grower.

Hardiness has been tested here down to the low twenties, and I suspect it would prove hardy like the parent plant to zone 7. It should be grown in part sun, rich, moist, organic soil with plenty nutrients.

Hedychium 'Yellow Spot'

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Kaempferia elegans flowers I bought this plant a few years ago from Russel Adams, Gainesville Tree Farm. He had picked up some Kaempferia rhizomes at the market in Bangkok and had not identified the species - listed at his place as "K8". After growing this out and consulting with Kaempferia expert John Banta, I have determined it to be the plain green version of the species Kaempferia elegans, sometimes sold as "Emerald Ripple". Although the leaves do not have a pattern like other K. elegans cultivars ('Satin Checks" and 'Shazaam' for example) it has a simple beauty in its own right, with shimmering green rippled foliage and elegant lavendar flowers.

Like all Kaempferias, this plant is deciduous, and will naturally go dormant in the dry season in the tropics. This makes it suitable for growing in the southern US to about zone 8. So long as the ground does not freeze deep enough to affect the dormant rhizomes, and so long as the soil is not kept saturated in winter, it will resprout in spring. It prefers light shade and will tolerate full shade, in moist but well-drained organic soil. The plant grows just a few inches tall and will increase in a few years to make a nice patch.


Kaempferia pulchra 'Bicolor'

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Kaempferia parviflora This unusual Kaempferia has been sold for several years at Gainesville Tree Farm under the incorrect name of Kaempferia latifolia. It is sometimes also listed as K. latiflora. The original plant was brought to this country from Thailand by ginger pioneer Tim Chapman.

When I attended the Third Symposium on Zingiberaceae in 2002 in Khon Kaen, Thailand, I learned that the price of this ginger has sky rocketed in the markets in Bangkok. The rhizome is considered an aphrodisiac or Viagra substitute, and is being exported to the west for use in herbal remedies. I must confess I have not tried using it myself, although I have been tempted.

The foliage is upright like K. rotunda, with broad leaves, medium green on the upper sides and a slight purplish tint to the undersides. It grows to about 12-15 inches tall. The flowers are tiny white with purple throats, and much like Stahlianthus in general appearance. They appear at the base of the foliage in early spring.

Hardiness has been rated to zone 8, but I suspect that is stretching it a bit with this plant. I have grown it several years outdoors over winter here in zone 8-B Tallahassee and it has returned every year with no problem. It should be planted in filtered shade and in woodland soil.

Kaempferia parviflora flower

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Kaempferia pulchra mansonii - closeup This is one of the most commonly grown of the peacock gingers, and for good reason. It spreads quickly, has beautiful foliage and pretty little violet-colored flowers. Peacock ginger gets its name from the colorful patterns on the leaves of many Kaempferia species and cultivars. The silver and grey patterns on this one are exemplary of the genus.

The name of this plant is the subject of much debate among ginger collectors. Some list it as a separate species - Kaempferia mansonii - and some as a variety of Kaempferia pulchra. One of my Kaempferia specialist friends believes the correct nomenclature is Kaempferia pulchra 'Mason', without the "ii". He said it was first purchased by someone in England from a flower booth in the Philippines. He brought it over to England and from there it's been spread to the U.S. The man's last name was Mason. So the plant should be named after him, but it is not distinctively different enough from K. pulchra to be a separate species. It has been circulating around the U.S. at least since 1988, because it was listed then in the catalog of the original "Plumeria People" the Eggenbergers of Houston, Texas. They simply called it Kaempferia mansonii.

Now if you have not been totally bored yet and are still reading this, I'll tell you that this plant should be grown in shady conditions in rich, moist, organic soil. It is hardy in zone 8 and south, but it goes dormant in winter like all Kaempferias, even in warm tropical climates. The rhizomes should not be kept too wet during dormancy.

Another friend of mine in Maryland grows this plant indoors - I gave her some a couple of years ago. She insists that it has stayed green for her continuously without a dormancy period, and that it flowers continually, much like an African violet. We keep telling her to please let the poor plant have a rest.

Kaempferia pulchra mansonii

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Kaempferia rotunda flower This very popular ginger is known as the "tropical crocus" or sometimes as the "resurrection lily". It gets the name from the fact that the flowers arise from bare ground (from the rhizome) before the first hint of any foliage. It is the first sign of spring in the world of gingers. The flowers are cute orchid-like white with a purple throat. Everyone insists that these flowers are fragrant, but I have never been able to detect the fragrance.

The foliage is more upright than other Kaempferias. It grows to just under 2 ft. in my garden in filtered shade. It has an understated pattern on the upper side of the leaves and purplish undersides. The color and pattern fades somewhat as it matures but still makes an attractive groundcover.

Most references rate this as hardy to zone 8 and some to zone 7. Mike Bridges (former owner of Southern Perennials and Herbs) tested hardiness to 7-¦F. In colder areas the rhizomes could be lifted and stored in a cool garage or basement in slghtly dampened peat.

It should be grown in a well drained woodland soil with light applications of fertilizer if needed to stimulate vigorous growth.

Kaempferia rotunda Kaempferia rotunda flower

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Kaempferia 'Satin Checks' - Peacock Ginger Kaempferias are known as "peacock gingers" and are often mentioned as Hosta substitutes for the deep South. Kaempferia 'Satin Checks' is one peacock ginger that really lives up to that promise. It increases well to make a striking groundcover in the shade. The little phlox-type flowers are an added bonus. Height is about 8-10 inches.

It is root hardy to zone 8, but like Curcumas and Globbas, it will go dormant in the winter, even in tropical areas. In colder areas than zone 8, the rhizomes can be lifted and stored nearly dry through the winter, then planted back outside in the spring. It can be grown indoors as it does not need bright sunlight to grow.

Grow it in full shade, with perhaps a little dappled sunlight at the most. It prefers well drained woodland soil with regular moisture, but is not as demanding for moisture as some other gingers.

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Stahlianthus involucratus flower This plant is seldom found in the trade. It came to this country either through Tim Chapman (pioneer ginger collector) or through some other import to Gainesville Tree Farm. It very likely is the plant that was once named in the genus Kaempferia, as it shares some similar characteristics to the plant offered as Kaempferia parviflora or sometimes (incorrectly) Kaempferia latiflorus. Like Kaempferia it is a short, shade-loving groundcover that goes dormant in the winter.

The foliage is especially pretty and it makes a beautiful ground cover when allowed to fill in. The real attraction is the purple backed foliage with the purplish midrib stripes but it also has very pretty flowers when seen up close.

Stahlianthus involucratus - a great groundcover


Plant this little Stahlianthus in light shade in well drained woodland soil kept reasonably moist. I am not certain about hardiness, but it has been reliably hardy here in my zone 8B garden, and does not seem at all prone to rotting of the rhizomes during dormancy. I am fairly certain it would survive outdoors throughout zone 8, and maybe even colder. If in doubt, it is very easy to lift the rhizomes and store them in a drawer over winter.

Stahlianthus involucratus

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Tapeinochilos is a close relative to Costus - one of seven genera in the plant family Costaceae. They are known for their showy, waxy bracts which last for a very long time. Tapeinochilos ananassae is the best of the basal bloomers in the genus. It produces bright red waxy bracts that resemble the foliage of a pineapple plant. Common names given to this species are "Indonesian wax ginger" or "pineapple gingers". It is an easy bloomer, extremely long lasting and showy.

The plant grows to about 6 feet tall as a potted specimen, with branching stems and spiraling dark green leaves. It must be grown in a greenhouse except in frost free areas, but otherwise it is not difficult to grow and it flowers very easily.


GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Tapeinochilos is a close relative to Costus - one of seven genera in the plant family Costaceae. They are known for their showy, waxy bracts which last for a very long time. Tapeinochilos recurvatum is one of the best of the terminal bloomers in the genus. It forms a pink and lavendar inflorescence that nearly glows with its striking colors.

The plant grows to about 5 feet tall as a potted specimen, with branching stems and spiraling leaves, medium green with purplish undersides. It must be grown in a greenhouse except in frost free areas, but otherwise it is not difficult to grow and it flowers very easily.


Tapeinochilos recurvatum Tapeinochilos recurvatum

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When I first bought a rhizome of this plant several years ago from a shipment from Thailand, it was simply labeled "palm ginger" and I did not even know what genus it was. As it grew I could see it had the distinctive look of a Zingiber species, but still did not know anything else about it. Finally I found the right place for it and it burst forth with beautiful blooms to complement the arching palm-like foliage. It is now one of my favorite gingers. The foliage is graceful but tropical, growing to about 5 ft. tall and arching. The inflorescence shoots appear well above ground level with fuzzy green bracts and creamy yellow flowers.

It is one of the deciduous species of the genus Zingiber, thus making it potentially hardy throughout zone 8. I have grown it here in zone 8B Tallahassee for several years and found that it is not especially difficult - not as prone to rotting of the rhizomes as Z. collinsii and others. I have found that it grows best in light shade, well drained, but regularly moist soil.

Zingiber grammineum Zingiber grammineum

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Zingiber 'Twice As Nice basal inflorescence This Zingiber was discovered and introduced to horticulture by pioneer ginger collector Tim Chapman. Tim placed this into tissue culture a few years ago, but somehow it has never really caught on and become a common garden ginger. Tim believes it is a form or the common shampoo ginger (also known as "pine cone ginger") Zingiber zerumbet. It may be, but the resemblance is limited to its scientific characters, because this plant looks entirely different to the casual observer. First of all it is MUCH SHORTER, only topping out at about 2 1/2 feet at maturity. And even more striking is its habit of blooming BOTH basal (as with most Zingiber species) AND TERMINAL! This makes it a really great garden plant, compact enough for the front of a garden bed and showy when it flowers.

Zingiber 'Twice As Nice' is just as easy to grow as the common shampoo ginger, Zingiber zerumbet. It is hardy to zone 8 and has been well tested in Baton Rouge, LA as well as here in Tallahassee.


Zingiber 'Twice As Nice terminal inflorescence Zingiber 'Twice As Nice'

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Zingiber zerumbet - flower cone Zingiber zerumbet is known throughout most of the world as the "shampoo ginger" due to the milky substance in the flower cones being used as a shampoo by some cultures. In the southern United States, it is known as the "pinecone ginger" or "pinecone lily". The foliage grows to about 6 ft tall and the flower spikes arise from the ground. They are long-lasting and make excellent flower arrangements.

This ginger is root hardy to zone 8, but the foliage will freeze back with a hard frost. The rhizomes are subject to rotting if they are kept too moist during dormancy. In the summer, it increases quickly when grown in conditions to its liking.

Zingiber zerumbet should be planted in rich, moist, organic soil. It can be grown in full sun to partial shade.

Zingiber zerumbet closeup Zingiber zerumbet

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Hedychium 'Kai Yang' I often get emails from customers or prospective customers asking me questions about the fragrance of Hedychiums: "Which ones are fragrant?" "What's the most fragrant?" "What does that one smell like?" and so forth. Well unfortunately, my sense of smell must not be very sharp because many of the Hedychium cultivars that are advertised as having a very strong fragrance, I cannot detect any fragrance at all. This one is an exception. Hedychium 'Kai Yang' is often listed as having a coconut fragrance, and I can indeed verify it, because even I could smell the distinctive coconut fragrance.

The flowers are creamy white with a darker gold colored center like H. coronarium var. chrysoleucum, but the plant grows a little taller, to about 6 feet in my garden. I grow it in part sun, moist organic soil. It is slow to increase, and availability is very limited.


Hedychium 'Kai Yang'

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This beautiful Hedychium cultivar was received without a name, but after growing it for 5 years I have decided it is time to put it out on the market, and the name my wife came up with is 'Fine Brocade'. Given a few years it will form a very dense clump of finely flowered inflorescences. I really like the contrasting purple ligules on the stems and the flowering form with small, densely spaced flowers. It should be zone 8 hardy as it has been perfectly hardy in my garden even with the two unusually cold winters.


GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
This beautiful Kaempferia was collected in Laos over ten years ago and I bought it from the well known Thai ginger grower, Supranee Kongpitchayanond. It is probably a form of the species Kaempferia angustifolia.

It has very pretty striped foliage and dainty orchid-like flowers. It increases moderately well and will form a nice carpet in a few years.

As with all Kaempferias, it naturally goes dormant in fall, even in the tropics during the dry season, making it adaptable to growing in areas with winter freezing temperatures so long as the ground does not freeze deeply enough to affect the rhizomes. I have been growing it outdoors many years in my Tallahassee zone 8-B garden and it has always come back reliably in the spring, even in years with temperatures down in the teens.

It should be grown in well drained soil kept moist during active growth but not too wet especially during dormancy. I grow most of my Kaempferias in with limestone and find they grow better that way.


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beautiful variegated foliage Alpinia vittata flowers
Alpinia vittata is sometimes listed under the old, obsolete name of Alpinia sanderae. It is a beautiful foliage plant with striking variegation in the leaves. The flowers are pendent with pink bracts and white flowers. This plant is not outdoors hardy in areas with freezing winter temperatures, and most sources rate it as only zone 10 hardy.


Alpinia vittata Alpinia vittata

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Globba 'Golden Dragon' This is similar in appearance to the more common yellow flowering Globba schomburgkii, but it is more compact and produces a larger, showier flower. My plant came in a batch of rhizomes from Thailand in an import by my old friend and Houston area plantsman, Stephen Nowakowsky of Naga Gardens. Globba expert Kyle Williams looked at photos of this plant and told me it is not G. schomburgkii, but a separate species he later identified as Globba copicola. It produces prolific bulbils just like G. schomburgkii and can easily spread to large patch in a couple of years.

Globba 'Golden Dragon' grows well in light shade and will withstand a few hours of direct sun if the soil is kept moist and the humidity is high.


GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata' This variegated form of the shell ginger is often sold as a house plant, but it is actually quite hardy, evergreen down to the mid twenties Fahrenheit. In colder areas, it can still come back in spring, generally it is rated hardy through zone 8. The foliage is strongly variegated with yellow and light green streaks that can brighten up a shady area in the garden. It produces flowers like its non-variegated cousin Alpinia zerumbet, but not quite as easily or prolifically, and only if grown in a few hours of direct sunlight. Like other Alpinia species, it blooms only on second year growth, so if the foliage does freeze back, you will not see flowers.

It is best grown in part sun, in rich organic soil, kept moist but well drained. Propagation is by division of the rhizomes.


Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata'

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