Costus productus - Gingers R Us
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Catalog : Costaceae : Hardy Costaceae :

Costus productus

Type: Plant

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Costus productos flower This is the plant that is sometimes sold in the US under the name Costus curvibracteatus, but it has been incorrectly identified years ago and the error has persisted. Costus productus in native to the eastern foothills of the Andes in Peru. Costus curvibracteatus is an entirely different plant that grows in the mountains of Costa Rica and Panama. They may be superficially similar, but botanically they are entirely different.

This Costus has the typical spiral foliage in a medium green color and the inflorescence is terminal at the end of a mature sheath. The color of the bracts is bright red-orange (some other forms sold are red) and the flowers peek out one by one from between the bracts in a bright buttery yellow color.

I have seen the hardiness of this plant rated anywhere from zone 10 to zone 9 to zone 8B, so it is hard to say for sure. I have found it to be marginally hardy here in Tallahassee (USDA zone 8B). I left it outdoors in the ground over winter for a couple of years and it came back strong and was blooming by late July. Many Costus plants are lost by gardeners (myself included) if the rhizomes are kept too wet when not in active growth. Most sources indicate this Costus prefers shady conditions, and I have tested it in filtered shade and up to about 3 hours of direct sun.

Costus productus is easy to start from cuttings and it can bloom the first year from cuttings. It has a very long bloom period and can make a showy garden plant with its colorful bracts and flowers. The patch pictured below started blooming in late June and bloomed through the summer.


Costus productus in the garden

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