New to Gingers, need help.

roxy77(Houston Z9)July 11, 2005

Hi all!

I have just received a Etlingera Elatior and Costus Speciosus and I can't find any information on them anywhere!! Is anyone familiar with these and could help me out, specifically the usual questions:

1. Water? Lots or no?

2. Sun, lots or no?

3. What is the best mix to plant them in?

I really love these plants and want them to be healthy and bloom, but I am so frustrated at the lack of information out there on them. Any help offered would be appreciated.



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roxy77(Houston Z9)

I will go ahead and respond so it'll fall down the list. If anyone knows a better place for info, please let me know!


    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 9:43AM
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Gee, if you WANT it to fall down the list, maybe I shouldn't say anything... :-)

When you say planting mix, it sounds like you're planning to grow these in pots. That should be okay for the Costus, but the Etlingera is much too big a plant to grow and bloom in a pot.

E. elatior gets about 12-15' tall, likes LOTS of water (can almost be grown as an aquatic), and won't bloom until it's mature. I don't know how well you could grow it in the ground in your area, I think it's pretty tropical, but I'm always surprised to hear what people are successfully growing in other parts of the country, so someone else will have to answer that. Full sun to partial shade here, but if you're in a hot dry area, more protection is probably better.

Costus speciosus should be a little easier to manage, but again I don't know what its minimum zone is. It gets about 4-5' tall and doesn't spread, so you should be able to bloom it in a 3 gal. pot. Any kind of good rich potting soil should work okay. Partial shade would be safest, but if you have it in a pot, you can move it around and experiment with it. Don't let it dry out, but it's not quite as much of a water hog as the other one.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 2:30PM
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TimChapman(Z8 Louisiana)

both will take lots of water and fertilizer during the growing season. In a zone 9 winter, the costus will go dormant and not need any water, the etlingera will die.. and not need any water. C. speciosus is hardy to zone 8 for sure, here they can eventually get very tall, to 10 feet, but usually are mature at a much shorter height. (there are numerous clones out there, and no way to really tell them apart). some are bigger than others etc. C. speciosus will grow in almost any light condition, but it doesn't really thrive in shade. A partial sun/shade area is best, but if they are established early enough in the year they can take full sun. Still one of my favorite gingers, and one of the first I ever had... very easy and rewarding.

Etlingera don't like cold at all. Don't even think about leaving this outside over winter.

Tim Chapman

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 7:36PM
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roxy77(Houston Z9)

Thanks so much for the responses!

Right now, they are both in pots because my hubby keeps talking about moving and I sure as heck ain't leaving these beauties behind. I wanted to put the Etlingera in the ground, but since it's not cold hardy I may leave it in a LARGE pot (10 gallong for now) until I can get a better idea of it's size.

The Costus is so unique and I think I've done the right thing with that one.

I have a feeling gingers are addicting, I just love them and want more.

I really appreciate you guys input, thanks a bunch!!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2005 at 8:51AM
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TimChapman(Z8 Louisiana)

The Costus speciosus will do better in the ground. It normally sets a large amount of seeds. You can always keep seeds, or cuttings over the winter in case you move. or you can just dig up a bit when you move, the new owners will never know. :-)

and yes, gingers are addictive.

Tim Chapman

    Bookmark   July 14, 2005 at 12:40PM
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roxy77(Houston Z9)


That's a good point I could dig it up. Hehe.

I will be putting it in the ground then, just not immediately as I have to figure out the perfect place for it. Such a beautiful plant I want it to be seen!!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2005 at 12:54PM
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roxy77(Houston Z9)

Hi All, again.

I am about to aquire a Costus Spicatus as well. Any other info on this, or the same as the Speciosus?


    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 11:40AM
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