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Posted by @drdawg on
Gingers, also called "ginger lilies," make great landscape or patio plants. They are tolerant of temperature extremes, will grow in poor soil, and can even grow in those wet areas where little else will grow. Most species are grown for their beautiful, fragrant flowers, but there are varieties used as condiments and varieties used as natural shampoo/conditioner in Hawaii.

There are several genera of ginger that are found in the landscape or on the patio, growing in large pots. Some of the genera are most suitable for tropical or sub-tropical areas, but three of the genera can be found in more temperate areas, and with some winter protection, can be grown successfully in zones 5-8.

Most of the gingers will grow in poor conditions -- poor soil, scant or too much moisture, shade, and a lack of proper fertilization. For best growth and best blooming, they will do their best in rich soil, well-draining soil, at least 80% sun, and frequent fertilization. In the non-tropical, temperate areas, gingers will go dormant in the fall but will reappear in the spring. If temperatures will get into the teens, cover those rhizomes with a nice, thick 6-8" layer of pine straw or leaves. Below that, it would be best to dig the rhizomes up and store them (dry) inside. In the landscape or potted, the rhizomes grow at a pretty rapid rate and can easily be divided in the early spring.

Hedychium is a popular group of varieties grown for their beautiful, fragrant flowers. The H. coronarium 'White Butterfly' ginger is one of these. These plants will grow in all types of soil, from poor to rich, will grow in full sun or part shade, and will grow in dry or wet conditions. In the landscape these plants will grow to 5-7' tall. When potted, the plants will be 4-6' tall. The pure-white, extremely fragrant flowers will begin to appear in mid-summer and these plants will be in bloom until fall. These flowers attract hummingbirds and, in the fall, a huge, nocturnal moth. These plants flower best in full sun. In the non-tropical areas, the Hedychium will emerge from dormancy in April.

The Zingiber varieties are also popular landscape/patio plants. They won't get quite as tall as the Hedychium, and several of the varieties will grow "cones," with small, dainty flowers covering the cones. Z. zerumbet 'Shampoo' ginger is one of these "pinecone" gingers, and those cones' fluid was used in Hawaii as a natural shampoo/conditioner. This fluid is still used today in "botanical" shampoos and conditioners. Another of the zingibers that is popular is Z. officinale 'Spice' ginger. The rhizomes of this plant are used as a spice. The Zingiber varieties will do best in partial shade, particularly shade from noon until 3:00 PM.

The Curcuma varieties might not be quite as tall as the other ginger plants, but they make up for it with tall flower stalks. The stalks will be 1-3' tall, with a variety of flower colors that will brighten any garden or patio. The C. domestica (turmeric) is used as a condiment and is the basis of curry. Curcumas do best in moist soil and are more shade-loving plants.

As you can see, gingers can and should be part of everyone's landscape, adding height, texture, fragrance, and color to the scene.

Thumb of 2014-05-14/drdawg/0749af Thumb of 2014-05-14/drdawg/28a543 Thumb of 2014-05-14/drdawg/f586e0

Comments and discussion:
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Gingers in Supermarkets by OrlandoBill May 24, 2014 11:31 PM 4
I've been wondering about this! by crittergarden May 21, 2014 11:24 AM 6
Untitled by Dayjillymo May 20, 2014 7:40 AM 1

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