The Q&A Archives: Tropical Ginger Plant

Question: I recently bought Hawaiian Ginger plants from Hawaii and potted them indoors with some potting soil and watered them. They do not look to good now and I was wondering what I did wrong? Can you help?

Answer: True ginger is Zingiber officinale. Sounds like you may have members of the Zingiberaceae family, but not necessarily true ginger. Members of the ginger family are tropical or subtropical perennials with fleshy rhizomes and canelike stems clothed with sheathing leaf stalks. Flowers are irregular in form, in spikes or heads, often quite showy. Alpinia zerumbet, or Shell Ginger, has 2-5 foot leaves that are shiny green with distinct parallel veins, and boast white or pinkish shell-shaped fragrant flowers in pendant clusters. Hedychium, the ginger lily, has leaves on two sides of the stem and produces fragrant flowers in dense spikes that open from a cone of overlapping green bracts at the ends of stalks. Hope you can figure out which plants you're growing from the above descriptions. You should cut the flower spikes down after bloom. Plants will be killed by frost so pot them up and take them indoors for the winter. Put them near a bright window and keep the soil damp but not soggy. The tops will die down sometime during the winter months, but new shoots will develop in the springtime. Since you've only just recently repotted them, they're probably just suffering from transplant shock. Give them a little time and they should snap out of it and begin to look healthy again. Hope this information helps!

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