Tropicals forum: Costus Barbatus ~ Spiral Ginger

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Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Herbs Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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pod
Dec 17, 2017 11:15 PM CST
I was given a few of these rhizomes and have no knowledge of growing them.

Hopefully someone can tell me what to expect.



How tropical are they? Do I need to keep them in a container or plant in the ground in my zone 8a?

Sun or shade? Will one be better than the other?

Moisture levels? Do these require constant moisture?

Soil? I have a sandy clay. If I plant in ground, I probably need suggestions for amending the soil.

How large will this ginger grow? Need to know if I should plant in the back of a bed or away from the house.


I look forward to the blooms but you can tell I wasn't expecting these and need any assistance on the basics.

Please & Thank You!

edited to add an afterthought... are these fragrant?


Believe in yourself even when no one else will. ~ Sasquatch
[Last edited by pod - Dec 18, 2017 8:07 AM (+)]
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Name: Sherri
Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b)
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sunkissed
Dec 31, 2017 8:49 AM CST
I don't have that particular Ginger, but do have Costus woodsonii and Costus spiralis. Mine are in the ground and will freeze back if we dip below 32, but have always come back in the spring, your ginger is listed as zone 11, so putting in a nice sized container probably be best and protect in cold. Of course I live in FL so they get quite a bit rain and humidity. As far as height, each of mine are quite different but the Costus spiralis can get quite tall, a good six foot or more, I ready your ginger can go up to 8 foot.
I don't know about fragrance on the Costus Barbatus, but neither of mine are fragrant but you can eat the yellow flowers, they remind me of sweet tarts.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Herbs Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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pod
Dec 31, 2017 11:26 AM CST
Thanks so much.... 8 foot tall might be a handful in container but I think that will be what I do.

I've read that if the leaf stalks freeze to the ground, it won't kill the plant but it also won't bloom next summer.

If I can develop more plants, I might try some in ground as well to experiment.

Thank you Sherri! Happy New Year...

Believe in yourself even when no one else will. ~ Sasquatch
Name: Sherri
Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b)
Butterflies Birds Bee Lover Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
Container Gardener Salvias Cactus and Succulents Native Plants and Wildflowers Adeniums Orchids
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sunkissed
Jan 3, 2018 7:25 AM CST
My original Costus spiralis are in a large container, have done fine for many years, but then the roots may be going out the hole into the ground, I've never moved the container. Green Grin!
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Alabama Bookworm Butterflies Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader
Hummingbirder Tropicals Bulbs Birds Lilies Echinacea
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Kabby
Sep 27, 2018 2:22 PM CST
Kristi I seem to keep digging up your old threads. How did your costus do this yr? I also was pondering getting one but the old "blooms on previous years growth" put me off. I got rid of a varigated alpinia for the same reason.
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
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Gina1960
Sep 27, 2018 5:48 PM CST
Costus barbatus is not reliably hardy below about zone 9B. It can get over 8 feet tall. I grow it in the greenhouse in zone 9A. Every time I have trailed it outside, it has not made it through a winter if we get to the low 20's. C. woodsonii is a lot hardier. It does;t get as big, and the blooms aren't as showy. Barbatus can be a show stopped in bloom. Stalks very thick. A beautiful ginger but no it isn't fragrant.
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Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
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Gina1960
Sep 27, 2018 6:05 PM CST
This is a photo of some of mine that I planted outside some years ago. You can keep it in a container but you will eventually be stepping up to a 10 gallon then a 15 then a 20...and dividing to keep it in there. But you can trade your excess away
Thumb of 2018-09-28/Gina1960/4270a2
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Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Herbs Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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pod
Sep 27, 2018 8:35 PM CST
Kabby said:Kristi I seem to keep digging up your old threads. How did your costus do this yr? I also was pondering getting one but the old "blooms on previous years growth" put me off. I got rid of a varigated alpinia for the same reason.


Thanks for digging up the old threads Kabby. It is always fun to assess how plants have done at the end of the season.

The C. barbatus was a slow starter. I did keep it in a container and will move it into the greenhouse this fall. In spring I'll step it up in container size. It didn't bloom for me but I didn't expect it to do so this first season. I'll play it out and see how they do. If they multiply, I will sacrifice some to plant in ground. Our winters are sometimes moderate. If they don't deliver blooms, I'll be disappointed but live with it.

@Gina1960 Beautiful blooms.... thanks for sharing the photo and the fragrance information. I actually didn't realize these were a ginger. I had been following y'alls ginger thread and love all your lush plants. If I didn't love east Texas so much I would have serious zone envy.

The only ginger I have is the common butterfly ginger which appeals to all my senses. Thanks for sharing your experience in ground as well.


Believe in yourself even when no one else will. ~ Sasquatch
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Alabama Bookworm Butterflies Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader
Hummingbirder Tropicals Bulbs Birds Lilies Echinacea
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Kabby
Sep 27, 2018 8:43 PM CST
Gina you are a wealth of ginger info. No bringing in pots for me. Do you have a pic of the woodsonii?
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Herbs Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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pod
Sep 27, 2018 8:53 PM CST
No bringing in pots for me.

Kabby, by this time next month I'll be thinking you are pretty darn smart... Whistling
Believe in yourself even when no one else will. ~ Sasquatch
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Alabama Bookworm Butterflies Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader
Hummingbirder Tropicals Bulbs Birds Lilies Echinacea
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Kabby
Sep 27, 2018 8:57 PM CST
Oh you greenhouse girls! I should be so lucky. Kristi join in on our other thread, we'd love to have you!
Thanks for the update on your costus.
My brother is moving back to AL and bringing his monstrous split leaf philodendrum that I will house in my small abode. He hasn't found a place to live so "Susan"will be staying with me. I'll have to get a hand truck to haul her up the stairs. Crying
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
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Gina1960
Sep 28, 2018 5:51 AM CST
Kabby said:Gina you are a wealth of ginger info. No bringing in pots for me. Do you have a pic of the woodsonii?

Actually I don't. Which is weird LOL I usually have a photo of everything I have ever grown in this life and all my past lives LOL. I will walk out and see if any of them are in bloom....they were earlier this season when I thinned them out. You know you can propagate coats by cane division like a Ti plant. You don;t have to dig and divide rhizomes unless you just have to. Cut the canes in pieces and lay them flat in a dish of soil and they will grow new plants. Or better yet throw then out into the woods into the open compost and you can collect new plants later guaranteed
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Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Alabama Bookworm Butterflies Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader
Hummingbirder Tropicals Bulbs Birds Lilies Echinacea
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Kabby
Sep 28, 2018 3:29 PM CST
I have looked at Tom Wood's ginger list from this year and he says costus scaber, pictus, and speciosus are hardy to zone 8. I feel these would be okay for 8a as he notes specifically other costus for 8b or 9. Gina you have any of these?
I'm reading heavy on the water and morning sun for the most part. Thoughts?
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
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Gina1960
Sep 28, 2018 8:09 PM CST
I have grown specious in the past. I wasn't totally enamored of it, so I threw it out into the woods and replaced it with something else. I looked out in my magic compost pile today, and found the old Woodsonii trash I had tossed out has grown into a bunch of 6-8" new plants. I have a kind of fluid relationship with plants...I have removed some really nice things from my greenhouse when they became invasive, like Costus 'Red Rose' (Costus osae) did. Now I regret it, but, at the same time, I remember having to fight with it for space when it over ran other plants. Its not hardy here, so I couldn't just plant it out. I removed a really big almost mature palm tree, Aiphanes horrida, aka Aiphanes carytifolia, from the greenhouse because it has wicked 5-6" spines that are TRULY dangerous to work around. This palm is called the 'burgler palm' in its native habitat because it will certainly deter anyone from coming around if planted en masse. But recently I was at a sale and saw a seedling of it for $12 and caved. Bought it AGAIN. Online it can go for $150 for a seedling. So I got a deal. Now I am saying, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???? If your landscape can take certain plants and you like them, go for them. I have to be kind of picky sometimes because in a perfect environment where water and food are plentiful and it never freezes, things can grow well past what you envisioned them to do. My yard is also finite, being wooded the way we are. I can only collect and plant out a finite number of plants that are hardy here. Tom Wood had a sale at his place on Sept 1, I am so sorry I missed it! I have a tapenochilus I got from him that I really adore.
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Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
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Gina1960
Oct 2, 2018 6:27 AM CST
Well I found a Costus woodsonii blooming out in the yard. The bloom is not matured yet, the brachts haven't turned bright red and hasn't put out the true flowers yet, but what really caught my eye was the single stripe of variegation on the top leaf. Spontaneous. Never had that before LOL. I'm moving the rest of the woodsonii out of the greenhouse to the yard today to make room for new plants
Thumb of 2018-10-02/Gina1960/990655

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Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Alabama Bookworm Butterflies Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader
Hummingbirder Tropicals Bulbs Birds Lilies Echinacea
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Kabby
Oct 2, 2018 8:31 PM CST
Horrida, I just looked it up. Nope, nay, nada. I couldn't handle the spikes. My first house had yucca and prickly pear, I couldn't get rid of them fast enough.

I think my saving grace with gingers and crinum is that I don't fertilize them. My Gold Flame and Elizabeth hedys should get to 7ft but one is too shaded and the other needs fert. They have reached their potential before so I know when I sell them I can say what they would normally grow to. That flavescens though, it throws poor soil back at me and dares me to water and fertilize it. Think Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors. Hilarious!

Make sure to post woodsonii when it opens up!
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
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Gina1960
Oct 3, 2018 5:55 AM CST
I broke down and bought something new. Its coming today. I hope its as neat as the photos. Its a cultivar of a species and is called Raspberry Ice. Basilar blooming costs similar in habit to C stenophyllus
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Name: Betsy
Texas (Zone 9a)
In the beginning GOD created ...
Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Irises Composter Butterflies Bookworm
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piksihk
Mar 22, 2019 1:17 PM CST
@Gina1960
Just wondering about your costus woodsonii.

I was so happy to have traded for spiral ginger this spring and they are leaving out; l'm trying to find a sunny spot to plant them.
I have some butterfly ginger and few other gingers that are planted along back fence but they get shade mostly; home was fully landscaped with magnolia trees and cast iron plants. I'm limited in space Sad
The other beds are filled with knockout roses and dwarf bottle bush. These maybe be original plantings - roses are looking sad - few blooms even pruning back.
I may have to keep in large pot.


“For even the Son of Man/Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.””
‭‭Mark‬ ‭10:45‬ ‭
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
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Gina1960
Mar 22, 2019 7:12 PM CST
Betsy, it never did get cold enough this winter to set any of my gingers back. The ones that go dormant naturally (curcuma, kaempheria etc) are going to be emerging soon, but the butterfly gingers, costus and alpinias are all looking great. New shoots coming out, and the alpine (shell ginger) has maybe 10-15 blooms coming out soon
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Name: Betsy
Texas (Zone 9a)
In the beginning GOD created ...
Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Irises Composter Butterflies Bookworm
Bluebonnets Daylilies Native Plants and Wildflowers Amaryllis Cottage Gardener Clematis
Image
piksihk
Mar 22, 2019 10:52 PM CST
@Gina1960, where do you have the costus planted? Full sun? Partial sun?

Mine have one new shoot with leaf. Two old shoots dropped their leaves so can they be cut back? Or will new leaves emerge from them?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
“For even the Son of Man/Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.””
‭‭Mark‬ ‭10:45‬ ‭

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