Gingers

Gingers

Gingers are a large group exotic plants with an unmistakably tropical appearence. Gingers are surprisingly hardy and can be found as far north as zone 7b. There are some evergreens, although frost will freeze foliage of most gingers. Some species of gingers are deciduous. Most gingers complement their exotic foilage with beautiful flowers. Gingers range in size from tiny groundcovers to giant plants. Gingers prefer moist, fertile soil. Gingers are generally plants, and will thrive in full sun provided they have adequate moisture. Gingers are remarkably free of most disease and insect pests that plague other perennials. With their easy culture, exotic foilage, and tropical blooms gingers are one of the best options on the market.

Alpinia-

Large evergreen plants that grow up to 15'. Leaves are produced in one plane, they have a stair-step appearance. Inflorescences are usually terminal, with the flowers bracts which, in some species, are more spectacular than the flowers. Occur in tropic and sub-tropic climates of Asia and the Pacific. Alpinia are in great demand as ornamentals because of their flashy flowers. The stem consists of closely folded blades, such as in banana trees. The flowers grow on long racemes.

Costus-

Sprial Ginger, Christmas Costus, Crape Ginger, and Spiral Flag Costus are often characterized and distinguished from genera by their spiraling stems. Sizes range from dwarf to large (15'). Erect twisting stems around the stem are what give the genus its common name. Flowers may be either frilly margins, produced from a collection of small brackets, or stiff flowers emerging from large appressed bracts which form a colorful waxy "cone". In either case, flowers are produced in small numbers from terminal inflorescences for a period of several months.

Hedychium-

Butterfly Ginger, Garland Flower, Ginger Lily, Kahili Ginger, White Ginger

As a group, these gingers are the most cold-hardy gingers. Many are native to tropical Asia and the Himalayas. Hedychium grows between 120 - 180 cm tall. Hedychium may be small plants or somewhat tall. The height depends on the light intensity. The flowers begin blooming mid-June and continueuntil frost in the fall. In the warmer parts of Florida and Texas, hedychiums are evergreen. The inflorescence is a terminal panicle of green bracts. Each bract will produce orchid-like flowers. The colors range from yellow to peach and orange/red. The Hedychium is the national flower of Cuba where it is known as "Flor de Mariposa" literally "Butterfly Flower" due to the appearance of it being a flying white butterfly. This particular species is incredibly fragrant and women used it to garnish themselves with these flowers in the times of the Spanish colonization. Because of the intricate structure of the inflorescence the ladies hide and carried secret messages important to the indepence cause inside it. It is said that a guajiro's (farmers) house is not complete without a white ginger in the garden. White Ginger is very common in Brazil.

Curcuma-

Hidden Lilies

Somewhat similar in appearance to short stalked bananas, Curcumas have broad leaves that are sometimes pleated. Inflorescences may be terminal, appearing just above the whorl of leaves or on the stalk. Bracts form showy "cones", varying in color from greenish to pink and red/orange. Flowers are yellow from the bracts in sequence, starting at the base and spiraling upwards. The bloom season varies by different species. The first bloom in Florida is as early as May, late bloomers beginning in September. Plants are dormant in the winter.

Kaempferia-

Peacock Ginger (?)

Horticulture-

Ginger produces clusters of white and pink flower buds that bloom into yellow flowers. Because of the aesthetic appeal and the adaptivity of the plant to warm climates, ginger is often used as landscaping around subtropical homes. It is a perennial reed-like plants with annual leafy stems, three to four feet high.