Costus comosus var. bakeri (hort. Barbatus) - Gingers R Us
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Catalog : Costaceae : Hardy Costaceae :

Costus comosus var. bakeri (hort. Barbatus)

Type: Rhizome

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Costus comosus (Hort.barbatus) - flower This Costus is widely cultivated and one look will tell you why. The long-lasting inflorescense creates a virtual tower of flowers, leading to its common name as the "red tower ginger". The bright yellow flowers poke out from the red bracts and make this an exceptionally showy ginger. This is a tall ginger, growing to a height of 8 ft or a little more in frost free tropical areas.

The only real problem with this plant is the name. Many years ago it was introduced to US horticulture under the name Costus barbatus, which turned out to be incorrect, but the name has stuck and you will find this plant growing in many botanical gardens or listed in plant catalogs or in nurseries under the name Costus barbatus. In Australia, they have it right, usually listed under the name Costus comosus. I finally found the true species Costus barbatus in 2011. More on this at my website at http://www.gingersrus.com/DataSheet.php?PID=3074

It will grow in a fairly wide range of light conditions from part shade to full sun provided the soil is kept moist during active growth. Hardiness is rated to zone 9 (possibly zone 8B) and the foliage will tolerate cool temperatures but not freezing conditons. The rhizomes might survive, but unlike most other Costus species, Costus barbatus will not bloom if it freezes back in winter.


Costus comosus (Hort. barbatus)

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