New Curcuma

lizzardlySeptember 3, 2006

Hey all. It's my Bday and Hubby and kids got Mom a new plant. Yaaaaaay! Mom loves diggin' in the dirt. Almost as much as the kids.

I am the proud new owner of a CURCUMA or so the pot from Home Depot says.

Can anyone tell me how to take care of this new beauty? I don't know my elbow from a tropical so all help is much appreciated.

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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

Where do you live? Curcumas do quite well in the deep South but not so well in California. Most can take a fair amount of sun. Most go dormant in the winter. New growth appears in the spring and blooms can occur from April until the first frost depending on the species. The common name is Hidden Ginger. The blooms on most are "hidden" within the foliage but some grow well above the foliage. I find them very tough to identify from the foliage unless you have one of the Curcumas that has a red stripe on the midrib of the upper side of the leaf. The most common Curcuma here in Louisiana is Curcuma Petiolata which is considered an heirloom plant of the south.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 1:09PM
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Steve, thanks. I was starting to wonder if anyone was going to answer me. I'm on the Treasure Coast of Florida. (In between Central & Southern no the east). Is full sun ok or would they prefer partial shade? I'm a transplant myself so I don't know much about the plants for my zone.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 1:19PM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

I would try partial shade since you don't know which Curcuma you have. Are the leaves pleated or ribbed. How tall is the plant and how wide are the leaves.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 1:55PM
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I purchased a curcuma last fall and planted it in my shady ginger bed not knowing if it would grow successfully. I'd gotten it at a Houston garden club event and was assured it would to well in the shade. It is on the east side of my house and shaded by a large oak tree. It gets very little direct sun. The soil is rich with compost and other amendments. I have watered the bed daily, unless it has rained. The foliage is gorgeous and just over 3 feet tall. I have had no bloom from the alleged easy blooming curcuma. I too would like to know the secret. There are several other gingers in the bed, a coral butterfly ginger and a white butterfly ginger. They were planted at the same time and have thrived AND BLOOMED. So, I guess I'm doing something right, but missing a link for the curcuma.
Any ideas?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 4:43PM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

My experience is that total shade won't work for Curcumas. They can actually take a great deal more sun than most people think. I've got Curcuma Elata in full blistering sun and they bloom like crazy; the trade off is that the leaves don't look too good. So I would move them to a location that at least gets full morning sun. If you can't find a location like that, try for a location with sun from 2:00 or 3:00 on. Experiment; but Curcumas in total shade won't bloom like they should.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 4:24PM
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birdlady_liz(z9a cntrl Fla)

In Florida most Curcumas do best in part sun (morning preferebly). All do go dormant in the winter. If you have a spring blooming Curcuma it may not bloom for you until it has been stteled in for 1 to 2 years. Summer bllomers don't seem to mind being in a pot or being disturbed, it's been my experience here at our nursery that this is the case. Do not grow any Curcumas here in Flordia in full sun, they can't take it, it just fries the foliage. We have over 200 varieties od gingers and grow only 3 in full sun. We are in central Florida. Do not over water your Curcumas either, they will rot. Don't water at all in the winter after it has gone dormant. You might get an inflorescence this spring, who knows. You also have to watch out buying from the larger chain stores. They get their gingers for the most part from Costa colors who is based in Miami, and they get their rhizomes directly from Thailand where they are field harvested and some never rebloom here in our climate, some even have an annual tag on them so for people who don't know that Curcumas go dormant believe their plant is finished and they just chuck it, never realizing it would have come back the following spring.
Hope this has helped some.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 8:50PM
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