Alpinia formosana 'Pinstripe'

haley45(7b)April 17, 2009

I was hoping that someone on this forum could give me some information on this plant. I just picked up what was labeled as a Hedychium at the botanical gardens' spring plant sale on my lunch break. Got back to the office and was Google-ing it to get some more information, only to discover that it is fact not Hedychium 'Pinstripe' but Alpinia formosana 'Pinstripe.' Needless to say, I am not amused since you expect mislabeling at WalMart or Lowe's but not the Birmingham Botanical Gardens plant sale (for a plant that I paid $30 for)!!!! I've never grown gingers before, but I had been interested in that type of ginger because I know that it is hardy in my area. Can anyone give me information about the ginger that I actually bought? Is it hardy to zone 7B (I'm right outside of Birmingham, AL)? Dave's Garden Plant Files says hardy only to 10a!!!

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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

It's root hardy to zone 8. But, as with all Alpinias, blooms only appear on second year growth so if it gets frosted you won't see any blooms the following year. I grow this ginger all over my yard and the pinstriping seems to be more pronounced when the plant is exposed to some sun. If you have a spot in your yard on a southeast facing wall of your house, that might provide enough protection from the cold. I really like this ginger a lot.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 1:20PM
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bihai(zone 9)

Are you certain its not either Hedychium Dr. Moy variegated or the super variegated sport of Dr. Moy, Tahitian Flame?
Post a photo. I have all 3 of those and ALpinia vittata. To the average person's eye they can look very very similar

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 8:01AM
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raregingers(z9a LA)

Incorrect labeling of Gingers is not uncommon at all, even amongst gardeners. The best option is to post a photo as Bihai mentioned.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 1:52PM
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I 99.99% sure that it is an Alpinia formosana 'Pinstripe' because it was in full bloom when I bought it (I just didn't know any better at the time what a Hedychium bloom specifically looked like vs. Alpinia bloom...I just remembered seeing pictures and thought they were pretty, heard they smelled good and they did well in my area...) Are the blooms and foliage all that similar that I could be mistaken?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 10:48AM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

Well, the bloom of Alpinia Formosana is not fragrant. And I would say that there is little resemblance to a Hedychium bloom. To someone who is not growing gingers, the foliage of Formosana might look like that of H. Dr. Moy or H. Tahitian Flame but not to those who grow gingers. How tall are the stalks? Was the bloom fragrant when you bought it in bloom? You might google Alpinia Formosana and get a look at the foliage and bloom. That would help pin it down.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 11:58AM
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I'm sorry, I wasn't clear. I knew that the hedychium was fragrant, did well in my area, etc. To show my ignorance, I didn't even know that there was such a thing as an Alpinia. The plant that I bought had a large sticker on the pot that said 'Pinstripe' and had a nursery label that you poke into the soil that labeled it as a Hedychium. When I got back to a computer after the sale, I Googled "Hedychium 'Pinstripe'" and quickly figured out that there was no such thing and that based upon the pictures I found online and compared to the foliage and blooms on the plant that I bought, I figured out that it was an Alpinia Formosana. You're right, the foliage looks like some of the variegated hedyciums (mine is maybe 3-3.5' tall including the gallon pot it is in), but the blooms were all wrong and were not fragrant (which should have tipped me off, but I just figured that it would be more fragrant outside in the sun and I was just drooling over the plant, to tell the truth).

When I originally posted, I had figured out what I had, I just didn't know if what I had would be hardy in Birmingham, AL because there is conflicting information that I found online. I probably wasn't clear because I was so flustered when I got back from the plant sale and had spent the most money that I ever had before on a plant that was mislabeled and didn't appear to be hardy in my area. I can't keep houseplants because I have a cat who will eat any sort of plant or cut flowers that I bring inside, so that was out of the question.

What I really need to know is what type of sun/exposure it wants in my area...what type of it prone to get root rot if it stays damp in the winter...etc.

I am thinking about planting it in a place that is against a 6' privacy fence with an eastern exposure (nothing overhead to shade it) so it would probably get full sun until about 2-3pm, then get shade from the fence. It is next to our little "koi" (goldfish) pond that stays damp from the waterfall that splashes this area. Do you think that this area would be protected enough? And would that be too much sun? Promote it to rot?

I hope that clarifies my problem! (Finally, right? :))

Thank you so much for all your help! It is much appreciated!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 3:03PM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

Mine gets meduim to full sun and my full sun on the Louisiana Gulf Coast is brutal so your location would do just fine. It's a tough plant. Our soil is acidic. In my experience, it is not prone to rot. Mine is coming into bloom now.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 8:51AM
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Thanks so much Steve!!!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 11:18AM
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