Tropicals forum: Please help with Gingers

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Name: Deborah Pryor
Orangeburg, SC Zone 8a (Zone 8a)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
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Deebie
Oct 15, 2012 3:51 PM CST
Help! I I'm a newbie to gingers and need to bring some ginger rhizomes (Heydichium and curcuma elata) in for the winter. Here in zone 8a our winters can be too wet at times, and I have lost gingers due to rot. I plan to keep them in my unheated garage until Spring. Should I cut down the stalks before frost or leave the stalks in place and let the plant go dormant (or does it have to die down in order to go dormant)? I cut down the stalks and placed the rhizomes in pots last winter, but when I planted them out they did not bloom. Confused What do I need to do differently?
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Oct 16, 2012 4:34 PM CST
Debbie, perhaps I can help. I am in NE Mississippi and in zone 8a, and like you, our winters are pretty cold and very wet. I grow both 'White Butterfly' and 'Shampoo' gingers, and have lots of it. I leave my plants in the ground, cutting off the tops in mid-late November, approximately 4" above the soil. For those rhizomes near the house, I do nothing more. For those out in exposed areas of my landscape, I cover with 4-6" of oak leaves. For those rhizomes in pots, I will remove them in November/December, shake off the soil and put them in cardboard boxes. I put a 2" layer of shredded paper then the rhizome(s), another layer of shredded paper, more rhizomes, etc. These boxes are put on my enclosed, heated porch for the winter months. They will be re-potted in the early spring. All my gingers bloom in the summer, regardless of where they are growing so I don't know why your's did not bloom. In fact, I have so many rhizomes in the spring, that I sell a good number of them.

You will want to be careful when storing any plant or rhizome in an unheated garage. If the temperature get cold enough, they will surely freeze and die. I lost all of my Plumeria that were stored in the garage and in the attic a couple of years ago when the temperature got into the mid-teens. I now store no tropical plant in either location. It is just not worth taking the chance.

Ken Ramsey, Certified Mississippi Master Gardener
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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Name: Deborah Pryor
Orangeburg, SC Zone 8a (Zone 8a)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
Charter ATP Member Amaryllis Region: United States of America Tropicals Seed Starter Plumerias
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Deebie
Oct 17, 2012 11:33 AM CST
Thank you, Ken, for your help. I too have the white butterfly ginger that I leave in the ground. They always resprout in the spring. I do not as yet have shampoo ginger. My orange bottlebrush & golden butterfly ginger also return faithfully with mulching. I'll try leaving the rest in the ground, but dig up some for a backup just in case some don't make it.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
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drdawg
Oct 17, 2012 11:47 AM CST
Where are you located?
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Deborah Pryor
Orangeburg, SC Zone 8a (Zone 8a)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
Charter ATP Member Amaryllis Region: United States of America Tropicals Seed Starter Plumerias
Plant and/or Seed Trader Peonies Lilies Irises Hummingbirder Echinacea
Deebie
Oct 18, 2012 3:48 PM CST
Orangeburg, SC
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Oct 18, 2012 4:57 PM CST
You are about the same latitude as my home in Starkville, MS. I will be in your neck of the woods next fall. We travel to Columbia S.C. for a football game. We will probably stay in Charleston a few days before or a few days after the game and then travel to College Station, TX for our next game against Texas A & M. I will have a long week+ of road trips.

Ken
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Deborah Pryor
Orangeburg, SC Zone 8a (Zone 8a)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
Charter ATP Member Amaryllis Region: United States of America Tropicals Seed Starter Plumerias
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Deebie
Oct 19, 2012 1:10 PM CST
My parents live just outside of Charleston, about 5 miles from Folly Beach. It's a beautiful city and I know that you'll enjoy visiting.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
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drdawg
Oct 19, 2012 3:33 PM CST
Yes, we love visiting Charleston. We stayed in an 1885 B & B several years back (before going over to Columbia for the football game) and had a great time.

We in America think "1885" and say, gosh, that sure is old, and it certainly is. I celebrated my 69th BD in Ireland three weeks ago and we stayed two nights in a Castle Hotel in Ballynahinch. The original part of the castle, where our rooms were located, was built in 1684, and the first addition was built in 1746, and then another additon was added in 1922, which ultimately formed the hotel lay-out. Of course, the entire hotel has been renovated and updated extensively over the years, but the pub and restaurant still had original (1684) flooring, walls, and ceilings. Here is the view one morning while taking a nature walk and then the veiw from the window where we had breakfast. The grounds is some 6,000 acreas but when the castle was built, the landholding was 24,000 acreas. Ireland is a beautiful country and all the people we came in contact with were very cordial. Ken

Thumb of 2012-10-19/drdawg/b01656
Thumb of 2012-10-19/drdawg/93926e
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Deborah Pryor
Orangeburg, SC Zone 8a (Zone 8a)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
Charter ATP Member Amaryllis Region: United States of America Tropicals Seed Starter Plumerias
Plant and/or Seed Trader Peonies Lilies Irises Hummingbirder Echinacea
Deebie
Oct 20, 2012 1:45 PM CST
I love the old homes and their grandiosity. I try to visit old homes and gardens as much as I can, whenever I visit cities with a lot of history behind them.
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Oct 20, 2012 2:16 PM CST

Plants Admin

Beautiful castle and grounds Ken. Was anything biting? That old timer's flinging about the longest fly rod I've ever seen! Great pic of a great cast.
Evan
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
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drdawg
Oct 21, 2012 9:57 AM CST
Thanks, Evan. The fly rods were anywhere from 10 ft up to a whopping 16 ft. Two hands had to be used for casting the fly. I have never seen such long fly-rods in my life. The river that ran through the castle grounds connected with the North Atlantic and a mile or so from the castle, the river flowed from a lake. People fished for trout and salmon in the lake, but were fishing exclusively for salmon in the river. This was the end of the salmon--run season, and the last day of the season was October 30. The picture was taken on September 29, my birthday.

Many of the autos parked at the castle had mounted fly-rods on the front hoods/roofs, similar to what one sees in snow-skiing country. I should have taken a pic of the mounted rods. When we arrived at the Castle Hotel mid-day, and had lunch in the 350 year old pub, there was a nice, 8 lb salmon sitting on a platter in the pub. The fish had been caught that morning and the restaurant was going to cook it that evening for the hotel guest that caught it. How neat!
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Oct 24, 2012 3:56 PM CST
Just to butt in here. My DD and SIL love in Charleston. I have to say it was one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited! Were were there in Feb, hardly a time to see much blooming. But it was! Window boxes full of winter flowers in full bloom! We went to Folly Beach and Jack's Cosmic Dogs and loved it! I think we're due for another visit!
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Name: Deborah Pryor
Orangeburg, SC Zone 8a (Zone 8a)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
Charter ATP Member Amaryllis Region: United States of America Tropicals Seed Starter Plumerias
Plant and/or Seed Trader Peonies Lilies Irises Hummingbirder Echinacea
Deebie
Oct 27, 2012 11:03 AM CST
Drdawg, I have another question for you, since we're in the same zone. I just received some pine cone (shampoo) ginger rhizomes. Should I go ahead and plant them and hope for the best, or should I pack them up until spring? If I do pack them up, do I have to keep them moist or dry? Confused
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Oct 28, 2012 9:10 AM CST
Deebie, I would do both. Split them in half, and box up the "in-house" ones. I use shredded paper, a 2" layer on the bottom of the box, then a rhizome, another 2" layer, rhizome, etc. Store the box in a dry, heated spot, such as a closet and plant in the spring, after the chance for heavy frost has passed.

Plant the other half, just beneath the soil line and in well-draining soil. Cover them with 4-6" of leaves, oak is what I use. Don't fertilize and let mother nature do the watering. These rhizomes will go dormant and remain so until mid-spring. Shampoo gingers (at least mine) sprout at least a month after my 'White Butterfly' gingers do.

P.S. I will have shampoo ginger rhizomes available for sale (for the first time) in the spring 2013, and will again have the 'White Butterfly' ginger rhizomes available as well.

Ken
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Deborah Pryor
Orangeburg, SC Zone 8a (Zone 8a)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
Charter ATP Member Amaryllis Region: United States of America Tropicals Seed Starter Plumerias
Plant and/or Seed Trader Peonies Lilies Irises Hummingbirder Echinacea
Deebie
Oct 28, 2012 6:09 PM CST
Thanks Ken, for holding my hand. I tip my hat to you. I will plant some tomorrow & mulch them well, and then store the others as you recommended until spring. The guy that I purchased my Stromanthe Triostar from said that it is hardy here. I planted it, but now I'm 2nd guessing myself. I'll divide that one as well. It is so beautiful that I just can't bear the thought of frost turning the leaves to mush. Crying I'll keep the other half in a sunny window in my garage or bring it in if I have to. This is my 1st year leaving my curcuma elata in the ground, but I need to dig up one rhizome for a backup. I brought the shell ginger inside, as it only flowers from the previous years' growth, and I want to see the blooms. It might go dormant if I keep it in the garage, in which case I may as well have left it in the ground. Last year I overwintered the curcuma and some heydichium rhizomes in a pot in the garage after cutting them back and they came up fine when I planted them in the spring. I'm not as worried abouth the heydichum as my others have survived overwintering in the ground and I didn't know then that I should mulch them. I'm learning a lot so late in the season & I've got to move fast, because we are expecting frost tomorrow and Tuesday nights. I still have plenty of work to do.

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