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Advice on curcuma & costus speciosus

Posted by toolgrrl 8 (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 9, 06 at 9:18

Hi all-
I live in Mobile, AL & recently purchased two beautiful ginger plants (my first!). They aren't lookin' too good right now. The Curcuma Red Giant Ginger's leaves are turning yellow. The Costus Speciosus Variegated Crepe ginger's leaves are turning brown (not dry brown) & curling up & the bottom stem has lost its lovely red color. The tags for both say partial to full shade, so I have put them under my azaleas & kept thm in their pots. It has been fairly dry here, until two days ago, when we got alot of rain. They weren't looking too good before the rain & I was hoping the rain would perk them up, to no avail. Should I move them to a brighter location? Are they going dormant for the winter?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Advice on curcuma & costus speciosus

I have both of those gingers. The Curcuma will go dormant and mine looks a little ragged also. My Costus Speciosus Variegated does not go dormant because it goes in the greenhouse. Mine doesn't look good either and it never does this time of year. I think part of the reason is the lack of hours of sunlight. It should still be putting out new growth though. It is probably hardy in Zone 9 in the ground. I think you are zone 8 in Mobile. Protect it from freezes like you would a potted tropical hibiscus.


RE: Advice on curcuma & costus speciosus

  • Posted by chena z7 Texas (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 29, 06 at 16:30

I have both of those and mine are planted outside and starting to suffer the winter blues... We have only had a few cold days but enough to send them into hibernation... I have planted some up and brought them in the house and they are putting on new growth...WOO HOO!!! Tonight will be our first real big freeze and I got everything mulched and fingers crossed!!!
Have a Very blessed Evening ..

RE: Advice on curcuma & costus speciosus

The Curcuma you bought as 'Red Giant' is actually Scarlet Fever' It does like some sun, I grow ours in full morning sun until about 1pm. Cheilocostus speciosus variegated morning sun and afternoon filtered light or shade. Your S. Fever goes dormant even in deep south, it's the shortened hours of sunlight, cooler nights to help them retreat a little sooner. Where they come from winter is their drought season, so don't water when dormant. The speciosus deoends on where plants originated from some go dormant in winter even if kept warm and others will stay evergreen if kept warm but both can be allowed to go back in winter. In zone 8 protect with thick layers of mulch & if you live in area with a wet winter and/clay soil also cover with plastic to keep off moisture.

RE: Advice on curcuma & costus speciosus

Thus far we have had a mild winter, even so Nov. you can expect the curcumas and costus to go dormant. I have been growing these for about 10 or 15 years and that's my experiance so far. Both these plants like sun with a little afternoon shade. They like to be fed(I use 13-13-13) and have plenty of water(no wet feet). I live just across the MS/AL line from you and have sandy loom soil. The water and fertlize runs right through. If it's real hot like 2006 you could water every day or at least every other day. Water was my biggest problem in '06(lack of). With the right conditions these are fast growing beautiful plants.
Also, I grew a domestica Curcuma in my office from start to full grown with a beautiful white bloom about 16" tall. The foliage was about 6' hight. Talk about the envy of the office. I think I'll try that at home, since I'm retired.

RE: Advice on curcuma & costus speciosus

Hi, I purchased several bare root Curcuma Scarlet Fever plants (sold as C. 'Red Giant') last fall and received little growing info with them so I potted them and kept them on my visqueen-enclosed patio for the winter. Despite the freeze protection their leaves still died back, so I wasn't sure if this was natural for the plant (like the beautiful big ginger I have in the ground, the name of which I know only as "Hidden Ginger Lily") or if they were all dying. I put the leafless pots outside along the north wall of the house after the last frost and all three pots now have beautiful, healthy new deep red stalks with large green leaves. YAY! A special thank you goes to birdlady liz for the very helpful info on cultivation of these beautiful plants; now I know where to plant them and how to care for them in the ground next winter. Can anyone tell me if the C. Scarlet Fever blooms, and if so, a little about the blossoms? Thanks so much for your help.
Happy gardening, y'all!

RE: Advice on curcuma & costus speciosus

  • Posted by lac1361 z9a Lake Charles (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 6, 11 at 8:15

Curcuma Scarlet Fever is not a prolific bloomer and the blooms are rather muted in color. I grow this ginger for the foliage.


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