Woodsonii in WInter

padraig_1(Florida 9a)November 5, 2006

What do I need to do for my costus in the winter? We do have frosts and freezes in Ocala in mid and late winter. The plant is container-grown and seems to be happy in its pot. I need to know about temperature, water, winter fetilizing, light, etc. The blooms are brilliant red and beautiful and I don't want the poor plant to suffer because of "neophyte knowledge deficit". Thanks!

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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

Costus Woodsonii "Dwarf French Kiss", aka, "Dwarf Lipstick", aka "Red Button" was not hardy for me in the ground in my Zone 9a although most internet nurseries sell it as hardy in Zone 9. Cut back on your watering to maybe once a week. It needs protection from a freeze like in a storage room room during the coldest nights. But I would move it in and out as the weather moderates. No fertilizer during the winter.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 8:18AM
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padraig_1(Florida 9a)

Thanks, Steve. One more question: Can I propagate at this time of year? I do have access to a nursery greenhouse for cuttings. Carol

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 9:00AM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

I've never tried to propogate Costus from cuttings but I would think it would be better in the spring. I've always used divisions. Good luck.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 9:48AM
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bihai(zone 9)

This is how I propogate costus (this includes Costus woodsonii, Costus barbatus, Costus stenophyllus, Costus Green Mountain, Costus Emerald Chalice, Costus Maroon Chalice, Costus Red Rose, Costus curvibracteatus, Costus Amazonicus variegated and Green....)
I take the old spent stems, cut them into sections 6-12 inches long, and throw them out into the compost heap and pile other yard clipping on top of them. They will send up plantlets almost year round at a very vigorous rate.

I discovered this quite by accident when I was trimming up spent canes in the greenhouse of these gingers and throwing them out into the woods. I went out and there were all types of ginger seedlings sprouted up everywhere. Its a really positive thing for me, because it provides an almost endless source of gingers that are not all reliably hardy here. I harvest the seedlings about this time of year, before the first hard freeze, pot them up and stash them in the greenhouse, and if I lose my outdoor plantings to a freeze and they don't come back from the roots, I have more to plant.

If you have a compost pile, try this method. Its very effective and takes almost no effort on your part.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 7:27AM
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