GINGER

FAMILY: Zingiberaceae | GENUS: ZINGIBER

TYPE
  • Bulbs
  • Perennials
  • Rhizomes
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Partial Shade
WATER
  • Ample Water
  • Regular Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 10
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 11

Plant Details

Growing gingers is a snap. Plants thrive in Southern heat and humidity, spreading slowly but widely by rhizomes. Most folks' knowledge of this genus begins and ends with one species, Zingiber officinale, the source of culinary gingerbut there are also dozens of highly ornamental species, of which a small sampling is presented here.

zingiber citriodorum 'Chiang Mai Princess

  • Selection of a species from Thailand.
  • To 34 feet tall, with glossy, green leaves.
  • Large (8 inches.) flowering cone with sharp-pointed bracts starts out dark green, turns blood-red.
  • Blooms appear 1112 feet above the ground.
  • Sweet citrus fragrance.
  • Good cut flower.

black ginger, midnight ginger

zingiber malaysianum

  • From Malaysia.
  • To 23 feet high.
  • Grown primarily for dark purplish brown foliage, borne on dark stems.
  • Ground-level flowers open yellow, then age to pink.

mioga ginger

zingiber mioga

  • Native to China.
  • To 2 feet high, with dark green leaves.
  • Small yellow flowers with white edges are borne at ground level.
  • Commonly cultivated in Japan for edible shoots in spring, flower buds in summer or fall.
  • In hot climates, goes dormant in summer.
  • Highly attractive foliage of 'Dancing Crane' is green, with white streaks reminiscent of lightning bolts running vertically through each leaf.
  • This selection spreads slowly and is noninvasive; it looks great massed in a shade garden.

zingiber niveum 'Milky Way

  • Selection of a species from Thailand.
  • Grows 2123 feet high, with light green foliage.
  • The ground-level, 4- to 6 inches flowering cones are white to pale pink, with yellow flowers.

common ginger

zingiber officinale

  • Native to Southeast Asia.
  • This is the ginger used in cooking.
  • Stems 24 feet tall, with narrow, glossy, bright green leaves to 1 feet long.
  • Summer flowers (rarely seen) are yellowish green, with purple lip marked yellow; not especially showy.
  • Buy roots (fresh, not dried) at the grocery store in early spring; cut into 1- to 2 inches-long sections with well-developed growth buds.
  • Let cut ends dry before planting.
  • Allow several months for roots to reach some size, then harvest at any time.

bengal ginger

zingiber rubens

  • From India.
  • To 4 feet tall.
  • Green foliage.
  • Bright red flowering cones about 112 inches across bloom at ground level or even partially below the soil.
  • Each scale of the cone produces a single inch-wide red flower with a cream lip marked in red; blossoms emerge one after the other, over the course of several weeks.

beehive ginger

zingiber spectabile

  • From Malaysia.
  • To 6 feet tall.
  • Deep green, slender-pointed leaves to 1112 feet long, with long, slender, pointed tips.
  • Stem about 3 feet tall bears a showy, foot-long inflorescence; overlapping bracts are yellow, aging to scarlet, and flowers are yellowish with black tips.
  • Good cut flower.

pine cone ginger, shampoo ginger

zingiber zerumbet

  • Native to India and Malaysia.
  • To 6 feet tall.
  • Dark green leaves to 1 feet long and 3 inches wide (broader than those of Zingiber officinale).
  • Inflorescence is a 3- to 5 inches green cone that appears on a separate, short stalk in late summer, then turns brilliant red for 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Small yellow flowers open between the bracts.
  • Darcyi has cream-striped leaves.
  • Good cut flower.

Plant in rich, moist, well-drained soil, placing rhizomes just below the soil surface. Propagate by division in early spring. Plants go dormant in winter, and rhizomes may rot in cold, wet soil. You can grow gingers in pots and move them to shelter in winter; feed once a month during active growth with a general-purpose liquid fertilizer.

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