SPIRAL FLAG, GINGER LILY

FAMILY: Costaceae | GENUS: COSTUS

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

Plant Details

Plants in this genus are related to true gingers (Zingiber) and other so-called gingers (Alpinia, Hedychium), and like them have eshy rhizomes and stems bearing large leaves. In Costus, the leaves are spirally arranged around the stem. Flowers emerge from a tight, conelike cluster of colored bracts at stem ends in summer and fall.

Plants have sprawling, mounding habit. Native to the tropical forest oor, they prefer light shade but can stand full sun if roots are shaded. Use around foundation or near patio or pool; can also be grown in large pots. Plants are dormant in winter and need little water at that time. Provide a winter mulch.

red tower ginger

costus barbatus

  • From Costa Rica.
  • To 68 feet tall, 5 feet wide.
  • Bright green, 5- to 10 inches-long leaves have downy undersides.
  • Flowering cone is 713 inches long, with dark red bracts and 1 inches yellow flowers; lasts for a long time on the plant.
  • Blossoms attract hummingbirds.

costus curvibracteatus

  • From Central America.
  • To 2 feet high and 3 feet wide.
  • Shiny, dark green leaves grow 812 inches long.
  • Flowering cone is 27 inches long, with 112 inches., reddish orange flowers.
  • Good container plant.

FIERY COSTUS

costus cuspidatus(Costus igneus)

  • Native to Brazil.
  • Forms a neat clump to 12 feet high and wide.
  • Deep green, 4- to 7 inches-long leaves with reddish undersides.
  • Unusual, almost cup-shaped, 3 inches orange flowers, often produced in twos or threes at stem ends.
  • Good potted plant; attractive even when out of bloom.

crepe ginger, malay ginger

costus speciosus

  • Native to the East Indies.
  • Clusters of stems grow to 68 feet., spreading to 3 feet Medium green, 5- to 10 inches-long leaves; 5 inches-long flowering cone with green bracts tipped red.
  • Crepe papertextured white or pink flowers to 4 inches wide emerge from the cone two or three at a time.

spiral flag, spiral ginger

costus spiralis

  • From South America.
  • Reaches 46 feet tall, 34 feet wide.
  • Glossy, bright green, 8 inches leaves.
  • Flowering cone has orange bracts and pink-to-red, 1 inches flowers.

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