Hedychium greenii - Gingers R Us
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Hedychium greenii


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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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