red, pink and white ginger

helga1April 22, 2005

Sorry, I don't know their proper name. When I visited Hawai last November, I bought one white, red, and pink ginger plant. Once at home, I cut the leaves and put the plants in my unheated greenhouse. The white is showing new tips, but the red and pink are not. Is there still hope for them?

Can anyone tell me how to take care of Ginger here in Oregon?

Thank you.

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Were these those teeny little packaged plants you can get at the airport and souvenir shops? When you say you cut the leaves-- cut them in half, cut them all off, or cut the stems back? How cold is your unheated greenhouse, and when you say new tips do you mean putting up new shoots from the rhizome, or new growth at the end of the stems? Inquiring minds want to know!

Okay, here's the deal... Just guessing now, but based on what we call the plants locally I'm assuming White Ginger is Hedychium coronarium (usually called Butterfly Ginger on the mainland), Red Ginger is Alpinia purpurata and Pink Ginger is A. purpurata cv. Eileen McDonald. If this is the case then the Hedychium is going to be more cold-hardy than the 2 Alpinias. Just how cold-hardy I haven't a clue because that's not an issue in Hawaii, but judging by the number of people on this forum that are growing it, I'd say you may have a shot. The Alpinias are more tropical, but without seeing your plants I can't tell you if they're goners or not. If you still have firm stems and/or rhizome, I wouldn't give up yet, but if they're those itty bitty little 2" pot kind, they probably don't have much in the way of reserves to fall back on. Alpinia purpurata doesn't form the same kind of fleshy, creeping rhizome that Hedychiums do either, so the new shoot is not going to have the same appearance.

As far as how to take care of them, whatever you can do to provide heat and humidity will help, and if you want them to bloom, they'll need good light. Maybe someone from a similar zone can give you better advice on that than I can.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 2:56AM
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First of all, thank you Lisa for responding.
I bought the red and pink ginger in a 4" pot from an orchid nursery on Kauai. They had about 5 or 6 12" long leaves each. I kept them for weeks on a bright window sill (no bright sun) and watered them with my orchids about 1xp.week.After a while the leaves turned brown on the edges so I did what a friend who had given me the white Ginger said, to cut off the leaves, and new shoots would come from beneath the soil. So I cut the stems off - all the way and put them in my unheated greenhouse where I had the cymbidiums, which bloomed just fine in January. The lowest temps during the winter were in the high 30 to low 40s at night time. My cymbidium bloomed just fine - just later than usual, from what I hear. I hate to lose both red and pink ginger, but don't know where to turn.

The white ginger is planted in the soil, as I have a bed w.soil, running along one side of the greenhouse. They are doing well and sprouting from the rhyzoms and from beneath the soil.

While we are talking about the white ginger....., I had a big plant with lots of leaves and big buds on them last summer, but only a few blossoms emerged. The rest of the bud turned brown. Could you tell me what that means? I was so disappointed. I wondered if the potted plant (last year they were in a pot) did not get enought water? Too much water? Did it need ascidic soil or alcaline? Full sun or partial?

Thank you again, and Aloha from one that fell in love with Hawaiian plants.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 5:49PM
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TimChapman(Z8 Louisiana)

If you are in zone 8 in portland, the hedychium should do fine outdoors. They aren't the best potted plants as they need lots of room to thrive. too often they'll get crowded out in 3 gallon pots and won't do much at all, at least not for long. They aren't too picky in general, you should good luck with them directly in the ground.

The alpinia purpurata (red and pink ginger) are very cold sensitive, low 40s will damage or kill them, they are a zone 10 plant. If you want these to do well, you definitely need to put them in a heated greenhouse. Anytime you cut the plants back to the ground, you are resetting their blooming cycle so you'll be waiting another year and a half or more to see blooms. If your greenhouse doesn't freeze at all, you might want to try Costus barbatus, as it somewhat resembles the red ginger and is much easier for people to grow.

not that it matters, but there really aren't any hawaiian gingers. The hedychium coronarium (though naturalized around the world) is from the himalayan mountains and the alpinia purpurata are from the soloman islands. Their true origin gives some insight as to why one is incredibly hardy vs the other that hates any cold weather.

Tim Chapman

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 9:42PM
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bihai(zone 9)

If you can get your Alpinias to come back, you can successfully grow them in pots. I grew them that way for several years before planting them in the ground inside my greenhouse. They will bloom at a small size, once they get about 2 years old, and will grow larger and larger every season, eventually you will have to divide them or move up to a big 20-30 gallon tub. The ones in the ground are about 9-10 ft tall and the flowers are very large, you need to keep them humid and give them a lot of light indoors, and water judiciously.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 10:18AM
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Thank you Tim for your informative post. I guess all I can do now is to hope the red and pink will come back. It was stupid of me to cut them before getting thorough information.
I read here, that when planting the white part of the plant is to go under ground, while the green stays above the soil. Since I did not know that either, should I unmold the pot and check if I have not transplanted them too far under the soil - or leave them best alone? I transplanted right after I brought the plants home in Dec.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 8:16PM
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Thank you Bihai. I planted them in the soil in my greenhouse. Given they multiply so rapidly, I should have a little jungle in there soon. I think to be safe, I best start a container again with some of the rhizomes.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 8:20PM
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LunaNegra(9a malabar Fl)

I would like to grow ginger ( eatable kind) the kind used in Japanese cousine . I live in Florida and would like to know what do I need to do to the soil ( most my soil is sandy and where to find the right ginger to grow here in Florida.
Thanks for any help

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 11:48AM
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steiconi(12a-Big Island, HI)

Just so you know, most cymbidiums aren't tropical, so they don't make a good gauge of tropical growing conditions.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 5:24AM
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Is it okay to put them in a smaller pot to get established?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 6:13PM
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