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Input from hedychium fans needed

Posted by timchapman Z8 Louisiana (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 8, 11 at 23:52

I've posted this on a few other forums and am trying to get as much input as I can. Feel free to mention any other traits you feel are important or would like to see etc. Any input is greatly appreciated

Hi all,

I am trying to gather some feedback for a Hedychium researcher and friend in India. Answers to the questions below will help them decide on how to proceed with possible new introductions. They have access to many species and forms that are not yet in general cultivation. I'll compile the info from here and elsewhere and forward it to them. Feel free to mention any other qualities that you feel important, and/or describe the perfect butterfly Ginger.

Q1: favorite flower Color
Q2: flower shape /size
Q3: inflorescence type. A cone like H coronarium or spike like H coccinuem
Q4: foliage type: wide leaves, narrow, etc
Q5: preferred height
Q6: how important is fragrance
Q7: what features of current species/hybrids to you find unattractive or problematic etc

Any other input would be appreciated.

Tim Chapman

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Input from hedychium fans needed

Hey, Tim - not much going on this forum these days! I'm an Indiana gardener, so my needs may be different from many growers south of me who can put their gingers in the ground. I grow mine in pots and put them in a cool greenhouse, or indoors in the winter. Anyway, here goes:

Q1: favorite flower Color - totally a personal preference, I like saturated 'hot' There are lots of pastel hedychiums and there's room for more intense colors.
Q2: flower shape /size - I prefer broad petals and numerous flowers open at the same time, either a broad section of the bloom spike or the entire thing (e.g. gardnerianum or coccineum.) Having said that, large blooms like coronarium are OK in smaller bunches.
Q3: inflorescence type. A cone like H coronarium or spike like H coccineum - both are great. Variety is good.
Q4: foliage type: wide leaves, narrow, etc. - both are fine. I prefer blue-green leaves to lighter ones.
Q5: preferred height - Any indoor gardener will tell you that shorter and stouter is better. My favorite hedychiums are upright and self-supporting. If the nodes between the leaves could be shorter, you could have a plant three feet tall with lots of foliage and bloom it easily in a nursery tub. This would really enhance the popularity of the genus.
Q6: how important is fragrance - I love coccineum and its quick repeat, but am always a little disappointed when it has little fragrance. Gingers and fragrance go together. Fragrant plants are always my preference. The stronger, the better.
Q7: what features of current species/hybrids to you find unattractive or problematic etc.- I already mentioned my preference for self-supporting plants. Stalks that droop don't work well in pots. Quick bloom and rebloom are always good. Heat tolerance is good (I have trouble growing densiflorum, but it does well in Britain).

Hope that helps...anybody else?


RE: Input from hedychium fans needed

Hi Tim, always good to see post from you. I guess Hedychiums are my most favorite tropical plant, and one that grows well for me. I have over 20 different plants. Some have performed beautifully under adverse conditions, while others have not done so well. This year was especially troublesome water wise I live inside city limits and have city water only. We have had a very hot dry year and two months straits my water bill was outrageous. Something had to give. So the plant were told to grow or die.
Most survived but flowering was really late on 4 or 5 types. Ok to the questions.

1,color,I agree with the above poster there are plenty of pastels which I do love, but would love to see more deeper oranges and really red reds.

2,shape size, honestly I have seen very few that I didn't like I have a coccineum that is a nice orange and it has small flowers but it is a thing of beauty. I have some of those really large flowers and they just amaze me. so any size as long as it is strong, healthy and vigorous.
3, type flower, again I have some of both and I like them all. I guess I really would prefer larger and fuller heads with multiply individual flowers than a small head with just a few flowers.

4,type of foliage, I like any type wide, narrow, I guess I would prefer more upright than too much weeping type. I don't mind staking a few heavy stalks but if I had to stake all of them they would become compost.

5, height, and again I have some that top out at about 3and 1/2 feet and some that are near 8ft. and all heights in between and I like every one of them. The main thing is discovering how tall they get under your own growing conditions and working with that. I am certainly gonna have to move some clumps to more suitably viewing areas, but any height it good with me.

6, fragrance, important but will not throw out a vigorous,healthy plant with gorgeous flowers just because it doesn't smell like a gardenia, and I find the older I get the less I can smell anyway. But others can still enjoy.
7, my thoughts, gosh I have already said so much. I guess it would be nice if hedychiums were a bit more sun and heat tolerant, but I really can't fault them for that. I guess really would love to see more red color or red/orange, maybe if I saw a really good yellow I would care more for them. The one I have is a really late bloomer, and usually by the time it starts we have an early freeze and it is done. So maybe over all some earlier blooming types. of course if I lived farther south they would be earlier, so again I shouldn't complain about that. I am really happy they grow so far north and come back reliably, multiply quickly, And they do bloom when little else is in this heat. Hope this helps. I hope you will also let the folks who posted know how this turns out, or let us know what the hybridizers think.
James Maloy

RE: Input from hedychium fans needed

Thanks for the input, any bit helps.

My personal preference would be plants that are early to flower but free flowering all season. Shorter plants with wide and textured leaves that have long spikes instead of closed cones. I like a range of colors but would like to see more unique bicolors. Colored foliage and colored bracts would be a plus. Fragrance is nice but not necessary the fact that some hedychium are fragrant is somewhat of a problem cause people expect all gingers to be fragrant, 95% of them aren't.

From a hybrid standpoint I'd like to cross the early bloomers like densiflorum with various "more common" species. The English aren't doing this because many types won't bloom there and timing is a factor is well. Americans haven't done it as those early bloomers are much less common here. I've imported several this year and hopefully can cross some next season. It would great to get these types crossed and established here and in the UK and get lots of dwarf early blooming very cold hardy hybrids going.

I'm also trying to get as many red bract types as possible, as that will add another ornamental element. I think the hybrid potential of the genus is just barely tapped, so much more can be done!!

Tim Chapman

RE: Input from hedychium fans needed

Hi Tim, this probably is not the best place to post this. But I was wondering if the ginger group on yahoo groups is still up and could you give me the address again. I had to empty my computer recently and lost tons of information I had bookmarked. I would really appreciate this. Hope this forum picks up. I know what the economy does to peoples hobby time. Makes it go away. Also if you would send the address for your website. Thanks a lot James Maloy.

RE: Input from hedychium fans needed

hello tim. i would be interested to talk to you about where you get most of your hedychiums. thanks. just email me if you would.

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