White Butterfly Ginger

pinkpantherusAugust 10, 2003

I just ordered a White Butterfly Ginger (Hedychium Coronarium). I live in northwest WA and am wondering if it would be best to keep it in a container. I've read in GW and other sites that it can be very invasive. Will it be necessary to move it into the garage during winter? I have a Kahalii Ginger planted in my canna island and it's doing very well. No, it hasn't bloomed yet, but it does look quite healthy. I hope I've chosen a hardy ginger for our area. Any suggestions for its care? I ordered it from


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madabouteu(8A - central Alabama)

Here in New Orleans the winter lows seldom get below 30, but when they do I lose all the above ground foliage of this plant. The rhizomes are hardy down to at least 20 but keep the foliage out of frost.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2003 at 11:23PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Pinkpantherus- Has your Kahili ginger been through a winter in the ground? I just planted mine in the ground after reading it was hardy to zone 7, but am wondering if it will really survive being wet all winter. Would I be better off digging it and putting it back in a pot for winter? If it's like dahlias I have grown, they survive the winter OK but have a long cool spring with low soil temperatures, so start blooming kind of late or not at all, while dahlias I overwintered in the basement got warmer temps in spring in a pot and started blooming much earlier and more. I planted it out because I thought perhaps it needed more room to grow than it was getting in the 3 gal. pot. Will they bloom in the ground here in the PNW?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2003 at 2:29PM
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SueBB(8 a NW WA)

I have one clump of white butterfly ginger planted in the ground but It comes up so late i never see a bloom and I think you are right about growing it in a pot and giving it a longer time to get started in the spring. I have lots of them in pots (all white butterfly) and they do great and some are getting ready to bloom now, I have several in 2 gal pots and some in 1 gal and some in 5gal. I just keep them above freezing in the winter and put them outside in the spring, leaving them in the pots. I like to move them around. I would like to try another kind someday, I have to many white ones LOL

    Bookmark   August 12, 2003 at 3:36PM
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My Kahalii has not gone through a winter yet. I wish I had remembered to follow Casper's (GardenGhost)advice and planted it on a mound!!! She plants her cannas that way to prevent water from standing on the roots and rhizomes. I don't plan on digging it up. I am going to lay down about 6" of mulch, as I do with cannas, and hope for the best.
From the description I received on the White Butterfly Ginger, it is more tender and if it is invasive, I'll try planting the pot in the ground and also put on heavy mulch.
If my Kahalii blooms before the cannas begin to go dormant, I'll take a picture, keep the information in my garden journal and will let you know. The very generous landscaper who gave me the Kahalii told me it needs lots of water. Believe me, if it didn't look so healthy I would certainly dig it up and re-plant it on a mound. If you look at the pictures posted from GardenGhost in the Canna
Forum, you'll see it really works for her. She is very helpful and might even grow ginger, so you could ask her a question.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2003 at 3:37PM
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Thanks, SueBB, for the first-hand information on the White Butterfly Ginger. Because all of yours are in pots, you probably don't know if they are invasive, do you? The information sheet I received from the company after I ordered the plant is enough to scare you to death re your special handling of the plant; "...use only a new, clean pot, unused potting soil. Plant in a larger size pot and utilize Osmocote, Dynamite or other slow release encapsulated granule fertilizer. Recommended pot size is at least a 2 gallon or 10" diameter." It goes into great detail about watering the new plant. I'm not certain if this is required of all gingers or just the Butterfly ginger. I stored a large container of Begal Tiger cannas in the garage and had a problem with aphids and had to spray frequently. Storing them inside does give them a head start come spring. I just don't have space to bring in all the containers, nor do I want to dig up all the rhizomes. So there! LOL

    Bookmark   August 12, 2003 at 3:51PM
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SueBB - do you have any pictures of the White Butterfly Ginger posted in GW? It would be fun to see what they look like up here in the northwest.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2003 at 3:54PM
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maleko(USDA 9)

I am in zone 9 so my situation is a bit different but both the white butterfly (what I call it, White Hawiian ginger) and Kahili are completely hardy (and basicly evergreen) in the ground here and bloom prolificly. I used to be a professional gardener and had a garden in the East Bay area that had a large bed of kahili ginger. It had been planted for 30 years and all I did was cut any dead stalks back during the winter and fertilize it. They bloomed magnificently. So my intuition is that most gingers, being clumping plants like to be root bound and bloom best when their clumps are the largest, therefore they don't like to be disturbed or if in a pot repotted a lot. Therefore I would not dig them up and replant them like cannas. I would protect them with mulch if that is required in your climate. I have white ginger both in the ground and in a large pot blooming right now. They did nothing the first year I planted them, bloomed lightly the following year, but are the star of our garden now, with every stalk producing a flower head. The fragrance is wonderful.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2003 at 3:53PM
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i live in birmingham,alabama and recently "rescued"some discarded white butterfly ginger from the side of the road.i planted it in the ground in a flower bed about a week ago.will it be okay outside this winter? or should i put it in a container and bring it into the basement?any advice is appreciated.p.s.it had a small amount of root from a rhizome with about a foot of green stalk.thanks,mcrich

    Bookmark   August 17, 2003 at 7:37PM
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Wow, MCRich, if you found the ginger by the side of the road, it certainly must survive your winters. I can't be of much help to you or Maleko because our climates are quite different. I would enjoy keeping in touch with you so we can compare notes on the White Butterfly Ginger's ability to survive our climate's different winters. Thanks to everybody for responding. All this information really helps.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2003 at 8:10PM
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MNature(z6 TN)

Zone 8a here. This WBG is in my friend's garden. It dies back in the winter like cannas do and comes back the following season.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2003 at 8:41PM
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LoraxDave(z7B Alabama)

mcrich, White Butterfly Ginger is definitely ground hardy here in the Birmingham area. You may want to mulch it well, especially for this first Winter. Most of the Hedychium gingers are very reliable in this area.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2003 at 6:13PM
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thank you lorax dave,i'll mulch real well this year.mcrich

    Bookmark   August 19, 2003 at 1:49PM
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Have questions on White Butterfly Ginger's I received several rizomes fall of 2002 and planted each in a different location - 1 in morning to mid-day sun, 1 in 3 hour of mid day sun and a couple in the shade. I have read several different articles on information some say plant shade some say full sun, some part shade -- I live in Texas Zone 9 or edge of Zone 8. The WBG was very late in coming up it had died to the ground - and does not look real lush or happy it is water 2 x per week about 35 each time, but they still look wilted???? I read the respone above about it taking 3 years to take off and flower, also you mentioned fertilizing the ginger?? what kind??? I am really anxious to see them bloom - they just look really sad. Thanks Loretta

    Bookmark   August 19, 2003 at 2:05PM
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MNature: Thanks very much for posting that beautiful picture of WBG.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2003 at 2:18PM
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Could it be that you are OVERwatering your plants? A common problem is giving too much water to gingers, causing the rhizome to rot. From above the leaves and stems start to wilt and basically look like they aren't getting enough water. If you pull on the stems do they pop out of the ground easily? If so check the base of the stem, if it looks rotted or squishy that is a good sign that the rhizome is rotting from too much water.

Of course, it is possible that you are underwatering the plants, but I think the opposite is more likely. The next time you plan to water first dig down to the roots and see how wet the soil is, and if the rhizome is firm and healthy (its best to do this the day you plan to water, not before, as it will show you what the soil is really like when you've thought it was getting dry). If it is fairly wet around the rootzone (and especially if the rhizome isn't firm), you are probably watering too much.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2003 at 2:47PM
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I received the WBG today Aug 20 after ordering it on Aug. 8 via Express Mail!!! The plant appears to be healthy. I would prefer planting it in a container to enjoy the fragrance by the front door or a window. I have not yet received the planter. How long can I safely wait before getting it planted. Should I leave it in the wet newspaper and pastic bag? I feel it is too late here in western WA to plant in the ground.

Thanks to everybody who provided their help, pictures and information.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2003 at 7:12PM
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the butterfly ginger i planted is sending up shoots!thanks for the good info.mcrich

    Bookmark   September 17, 2003 at 1:11PM
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I live in SW WA and I grow my Butterfly Ginger in water bare root, it now blooming. If anyone is close I would sure like to get rid of some.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2003 at 5:13AM
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Porchmonkey(z8 NC)

I live in coastal NC and have noticed that after the flowering period the chutes produce what look like seed pods/ bulbs? Can you grow the lilies from these? I don't have a plant of my own, but have several neighbors who do and would like to try to grow a plant from them. Suggestions?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2003 at 2:54PM
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Sorry, if you plant those you will get a ginger, not a lily. :)

You can probably get the seeds to germinate, but I would recommend asking your neighbor for a piece of the rhizome. Rhizomes (i. e., the roots) will grow into a mature plant much faster and be harder to kill than seeds and seedlings. The best time to do it is in the spring just before new growth starts for the year (do it in april). The plant will go dormant in the soon, so you may as well wait until the spring anyway.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2003 at 7:53PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

kateedid2, I live in SW Washington too. Do you keep the ginger outside in water all year? I have some Kahili and white ginger and they were in pots but I planted them out this summer in the ground and am trying to decide if I should dig them up again or if they will make it outside if I mulch.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2003 at 2:58PM
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buffy690(z7 S. CAROLINA)

just the facts please: when do I fertilize my ginger?
I recieved four stalks this july and had one go ahead and bloom when it was finished I cut it back after a couple of weeks and I now have seven where that one plant was..anyway what is the best procedure for helping the ginger make it through the winter? I live in 7 prosperity, south carolina near the top of lake murray for those who are from here or familiar. I am trying to get some information because my grandmother got a small clump also and I really would like to make sure heres lives to bloom next year.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2003 at 10:34PM
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I have my white butterfly ginger in ground here in California. Is has spread out quite a bit and in its first year no blooms yet. I have stems that are falling over, anyone have suggestions on what to do? I have cut some stems completely. Any other ideas?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2003 at 3:17AM
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mimosajack(9A SW LA)

I have a big bed of these gingers, started a few years ago and it is way overgrown. My husband has gotten interested in gardening this year, so I am finding I have quite a bit more help in the yard. I need to completly move this bed somewhere else. Can I dig the rhizomes up now and store? Or should I cut it all back and dig a little later in the spring? I am attempting to add a picture to show the many gingers. It was taken in spring/summer before they started blooming. They bloom like crazy - get quite a bit of sun next to the bring wall which absorbs the heat from the sun. There are so many with the flower on them, they bend over almost to the ground.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 3, 2004 at 2:50PM
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EarlyBird_8(z8b SW Ga)

When those are blooming, the fragrance must be awesome!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2004 at 11:30AM
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I am very late coming in on this thread, but I have grown the white butterfly ginger in my garden for 5 years now in less than wonderful soil, almost full sun, and with just an extra scoop of mulch on it in the winter. It takes a licking and keeps on ticking as they used to say! Trina

    Bookmark   January 14, 2004 at 7:19PM
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Sowth Efrikan

Kateedid2, how deep is your plant in water? I plan to put mine in the pond and know they work there, but can't find guidlines about depth. I'm guessing 2-4 inches should be OK but would hate to lose them.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2004 at 10:36AM
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hi everyone,hope this finds you doing well.my butterfly ginger is coming up,i can't wait for the blooms!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2004 at 8:45PM
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fiannor(9b gulf coast)

I planted mine against our greenhouse about 4 years ago. It did take a couple of years before i saw blooms, (and mine were 7 or 8 adult rhizomes from a friend). This year there's several of them. They do have a tendancy to fall over at certain times of the year. I don't know if it's the Texas heat, because another friend of mine planted her's away from any building, and in difused shade, and her's seemed taller, and I never saw them fall.
I purchased some edible ginger's last year, but the Butterfly is the hardiest. It only dies back here after a good frost, (which some years we don't get at all), and though it might look ugly a few days, it comes right back.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2004 at 2:41AM
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suthronrose(z8 FL)

I am zone 8 top of Florida around Panama City and my Ginger flowered the first year I planted the rhizome I received from a friend. If you plant from seed it just takes a bit longer to flower than if from a rhizome or cutting. They prefer a bit of shade if the temp is going to go above 89*. Do not over water. If your leaves are drooping cut back on the fluids. The only time my stalks started to fall was when the flower heads bloomed at the same time causing the weight to pull them down. A bamboo stake placed next to it and a bit of twine solved that. They will die back in zone 8 but return the next year, I would not worry about being invasive unless you were in a zone like 9 or above that they do not always get a winter and because of no dormant time they continue to spread. Mine usually send up one to two extra stalks per plant each year. Which if you are a plant trader you can always trade any extra with someone here for another plant!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2004 at 11:58PM
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rootdiggernc(Z-7A NC)

I'm using peonie cages on my gingers. It's worked well so far to keep them standing, even in some pretty heavy downpours.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 11:53PM
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jeffseattle(z6 PA)

Are they more likely to bloom if they are rootbound, or should I divide them again? I'm getting impatient to see them bloom.

I started my white butterfly ginger from rhizomes the spring before last. I still haven't seen any flowers, but the stalks are six feet tall. I wintered them over in a cold greenhouse, and divided them this spring. They are in large pots and fairly rootbound.

FYI: My instructions said they're hardy to 0 degrees.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 1:00PM
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SEUBB,i have 2 pots of WBG for couple of years now and it haven't bloom yet.i have some on the grown too but i don't have luck in having blooms.I live in Portland, Or .They are very healthy, how can i have blooms? thank you.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 4:32PM
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I got some white butterfly ginger rhizomes this year...just knew they wouldn't bloom this year...but took a look at them today and I have BUDS...not on all but definitely on a few...
Doing a happpy dance!!!
:D :D :D :D


    Bookmark   August 24, 2004 at 7:55PM
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bellie(7-B ..Va. Beach)

We live in 7 B .. Virginia Beach and my white butterfly ginger comes back every year 10 fold. They are now in bloom but I had not mastered posting pictures yet.Happy gardening!!! Bellie

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 5:28AM
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Bellie: I live in Hampton. I saw WBG on sale in Anderson nursery for $21. Big, tall, healthy and fragrant. But I'm concerned about the invasive problem. Did you confine the plant somehow? thanks, Changsong

    Bookmark   September 5, 2004 at 9:03AM
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RSApril(z5 OH)

Enjoyed reading all the postings on White Butterfly Ginger. We got one in Hawaii in 2002 and put it in a big pot in our large northern window. This year it was growing so well we decided to "give it some air". We sat the pot under a bald cypress (for shade). Last month(Aug) it got buds and began to bloom. OH my! Everyone is blown away by its perfume. We are in northern Ohio and will, of course take it in. Wonder if we should fertilize then or wait until spring.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2004 at 12:40PM
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I also enjoyed reading all of the posts on the White
Butterfly Ginger.
I just recieved one in a plant trade and the Sweet lady
that sent it to me also sent the blooming part of the plant
(Thank you Shirley)!
That is the first time I had ever had the opportunity to
smell such a wonderful fragrance, Im in zone 5/6 so I have
it in a pot inside, I would love to get more of them they
are just beautiful!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2004 at 12:33AM
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Hello fellow Hedychium lovers. I live in z8 Oregon. I have grown different Hedychiums for years. The most dependable bloomer here is "Tara" It is a H. coccineum variety.It blooms for about a month every August with light orange blooms and is fragrant. Very lush too. I fertilize it when I think about it in the growing season but it doesnt seem to care about that as I am a great mulcher. It dies to the ground every winter. I have tried H. coronarium too. It lived for years but never bloomed. I think that we do not have a long and hot enough growing season here in the NW. Often it would just get ready to bloom in October and then would fizzle out when the rainy season started. All of my things have to be IN THE GROUND. So far I have tried about 10 different varieties of Hedychium. Only Tara has bloomed reliably. I think that there are others that are early bloomers that would work here. I think that if you plant any of them where they dont sit in winter wet, and let them mass, they will be just fine. There are so many available now. Just check out www.stokestropicals.com. I think that there are several that are early bloomers. They should also work well in our NW climate and actually bloom. Mine all made it through 1991 when it got down to 9 degrees here. Of course the foliage looked like cooked spinach but they all came back in the spring and bloomed in August.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 11:39PM
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kbcherokee(Z6b Pa.)

I really enjoyed the postings on WBG. I grew WBG for the first time this year, no flowers yet. I have some potted in a container to bring inside and some planted in the ground to see if they will over winter. I will be adding at least 10 to 12 inches of mulch when the ground starts to freeze.It is difficult to find any gingers for sale at nurseries in this area so I bought mine on EBay.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2004 at 7:31PM
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Foxfire - you didn't say where in your yard the Ginger did the best, or worst. I had to scroll back up 3 times to check your name, my browser is named Firefox, and I kept getting confused.

Anyways....I bought this ginger in a pot at an end of the year sale last year. I bought it for the smell, and knew nothing of ginger. I cut off the stalks and buried the bulbs(??) in a pile of compost because I didn't know how tender they were. When the cold went away, I planted them in afternoon shade in very compost-rich soil. I gave them a little extra watering over rainfall, but we had a lot of rainfall this year. Every stalk bloomed, and it seemed like they bloomed more than once, is that possible? Each has taken over a 3x3 space.(I divided the original plant into two). The only disappointment is the blooms were often ruined by the rain. Are these good for cutting? Has anyone dried the empty flowerpods?

I'm giving them another year to run wild, then I will start corraling them.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2004 at 2:40PM
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camiafan(Killeen, TX)

Does anyone know how I can order rhizomes of hedychium coronarium to send to a friend in Vancouver, Canada? Will hedychium coronarium thrive (and bloom well) over there? I would appreciate getting names of mail order nurseries in the U.S. who will ship to Vancouver, or mail order nurseries in Vancouver who carry the rhizomes. Thank you.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2005 at 5:33PM
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camiafan(Killeen, TX)

Does anyone know how I can order rhizomes of hedychium coronarium to send to a friend in Vancouver, Canada? Will hedychium coronarium thrive (and bloom well) over there? I would appreciate getting names of mail order nurseries in the U.S. who will ship to Vancouver, or mail order nurseries in Vancouver who carry the rhizomes. Thank you.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2005 at 1:16AM
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Here in zone 9a Florida, I have My White Butterfly gingers planted in the soil next to my pond and brook in the sun. They are short, constantly flowering in the fall. they have gone over the water creating an island and multyplying. Last summer I planted some in the shade garden where they have gotten very tall and also flowering alot. They bring such good memories from my childhood.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 11:13PM
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