What type of Gingers can I grow in pots for indoors/outdoors???

andres_zone3February 17, 2010

Hi, everyone. I would really love to grow gingers in a pot. My plan would be to put them outdoors in Mid May and bring them back inside in mid September. What type of ginger could I get to flower in these conditions. Are they similar to cannas- which can be grown by rhizomes in May and flower in the summer??? Thanks. Andres

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HoosierBob SW Indiana Zone 5


Zone 6 gardener in southern Indiana here. I'm fairly new to gingers, but no one else has given you a reply, so I'll see if I can at least intiate some discussion. Gingers aren't hardy here, so I do all my growing in pots. I have had good luck with globba winitii. I let it get down to 50 degrees in the winter and it goes totally dormant and is slow to 'wake up' in the spring, but grows quickly and blooms every year. Unfortunately, no fragrance, but really cool blooms.

I also have several hedychiums in five-gallon pots. They stay green at 50 degrees in the winter, but you can let them go completely dormant, too. The challenge in a short growing season like yours, will be bringing them from complete dormancy and into bloom before fall. I would try keeping them cool and alive (green) all winter, which speeds up the new shoots in the spring. The old shoots don't have to grow to keep the plant 'awake' and ready to go.

I would recommend a rich potting soil, a big pot, and lots of heat and water in the sunniest place you have to get them to bloom. From what I have read, they don't like to be planted out and re-dug every season like cannas will tolerate, so I'd keep them in pots. I'd also start with big plants, if possible. Mail order sources vary from dry, very small rhizomes, to huge, growing plants. Small ones may take a whole extra year to bloom.

It's hard to find a 'short' hedychium for a pot. My first one was 'Vanilla Ice', the more variegated form of 'Dr. Moy'. It was supposed to get 3' tall, but it got 6' tall in a pot and still had plenty of time to bloom before frost here. Our last frost is around April 15th and our first frost is around October 15th. I want to get 'Daniel Weeks' since it's supposed to be one of the earliest to flower, and that's the key for cold-weather growers. I have flowered Tai Monarch and Anne Bishop, also. I have several other new ones, but haven't grown them big enough to bloom yet.

As far as alpinias, they are a challenge since they don't bloom on the current year's shoots. You have to grow the shoots tall one season and keep them healthy, happy, and growing, to bloom the next spring. I have bloomed alpinia zerumbet variegata (once!), but really just grow it for its foliage. I'd love to be able to grow some of the other alpinias, but am tight on space and it's hard to justify something that never blooms for me.

Hope some of this helps. Hoping for a HOT summer here for lots of quick growth. Best of luck with your plants!


    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 3:09PM
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I'm a newbie here and also am thinking about trying to grow gingers. In Michigan, so the only ones I've tried so far are the Pink Siam (did them in ground; was able to sprout a few). I now would like to do them in pots and was going to try the alpinia (thanks for info, Hoosier, will think 'bout it first). Thankful for sites like this so I don't waste any more $$$$.
Has anyone tried Siams potted?? Reading from Dave's Garden & Top Tropical that some (Alpinia??) can be potted. If you have any advice for a Michigan Gal, let me know: Not much sunlight here, even indoors. Wish me luck!!!

Also hoping for a Hot summer; hotter the better!!!!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 10:27PM
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I have 2 gingers here in Northern WI. One is hedychium 'velvet leaf' costus and the other is butterfly. These are the names the trader sent me, so if they're spelled wrong, sue me, LOL.

It sure would be great to get some input on growing these--they are in pots, of course, on the deck in summer and now in my heated greenhouse. Lots of beautiful foliage, no blooms (yet!).

Hopefully, someone out there can give us some info/advice?

Thanks ahead~~

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 11:41AM
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I have lots of buds on my Hedychium 'Anne Bishop', which I grew in a pot outside last summer, brought indoors and kept green and repotted into an 8-gal (approx) pot in May. It's probably 6' tall and just when I thought it wasn't going to bloom, I noticed chubby little sprouts in the center of most of the stalks. They should begin to open any day now. Our first frost is usually around mid-October, so they're just in time.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 11:54PM
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I wonder how come it took me this long to find this forum!

I've growing ginger lily indoor for a few months now and I'd love to have someone tell me how they're doing. (hopefully they're not dying lol )

the cd and book are for size reference.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 4:15PM
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The problem with many , and I read so even in an old book on growing bulbs, that most take a very long growing season to come into bloom and in the north the season isnn't long enough and the author mentioned , even starting hers early indoors in pots they still didn't bloom in time to beat the move back indoors again, though I found mine sometimes would bloom indoors in late fall if artificial light was used to supplement those many dark overcast days we get that time of the year, However if you don't have the best light, the new shoots of blooms may fizzle and not get far. Found so even with the bird of paradise and only the one would develope the blooms to opening usually with artificail light infortuantely. Since many gingers bloom on new shoots that take six months to reach blooming size , it's a problem with the short season outdoors .

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 8:27AM
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