Alpinias are very showy and fragrant flowers, which are botanically an inflorescence forming a gigantic ball of flowers. Alpinia can be found in colors from light pinks to deep reds. Alpinias are originally from Malaya, and found throughout the tropical Pacific region
Alpinia or Tahitian Ginger has tubular flowers in droopy clusters. Alpinia plant does not produce flowers for the first 3 years, but when they grow, they show huge football sized flowers, blooming all year around.
Varieties of alpinia include Alpinia Purpurata (Red), Alpinia Purpurata (Pink), Alpinia Purpurata “Jungle King” (Red), Alpinia Purpurata “Jungle Queen” (Pink), Alpinia Purpurata “Kimi Ginger”, Alpinia Purpurata “Tomi Pink”, Alpinia Zerumbet, Alpinia Coerulea “Blue Berry Ginger”, “Hanging Pink”, etc.
Facts About Alpinia
• Alpinia or Tahitian Ginger is not a type of edible ginger.
• Alpinia plants grow from large rhizomes, and flowers grow on long racemes.
• Alpinias are great as cut flowers and are very popular in Hawaiian tropical flower arrangements.
• Alpinias have gorgeous leaves with a striking tropical look. These leaves are very popularly used as a foliage in floral arrangements.
• An alpinia plant can reach up to 15 feet tall, but usually they are 6-7 feet.
• One of the features of Alpinia plant is that the new plants grow in the middle the old flowers, which weigh the flowers down to the ground.
• Alpinia flowers tolerates long distance shipping and lasts longer.
• Alpinia flowers are primarily pollinated by bees.
Alpinias can be propagated by rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets).
• Alpinias prefer bright, indirect light or filtered sun.
• Alpinias require moist soil.
• Alpinias should be planted with 2 feet apart.
• For the best growth, see that the minimum temperature for the plant is 68 F.
• Feed the alpinia plant with a balanced water soluble fertilizer after flowering.
• Alpinias are not susceptible to serious insect or disease problems. Hence, alpinias are easy to be grown and taken care of.
• Alpinias need Rich, fertile, organic soil. See that the soil is not soggy.
• Give alpinias a regular feeding.
• Pruning the plant is necessary, as it controls the size of the plant.
Alpinia zerumbet is a native of India, but the species has been naturalized in Brazil. It is also found in some areas of central and south Florida. The cultivar 'variegata', however, is less aggressive than the species and has not naturalized.
Variegated shell ginger is tolerant of a wide range of light conditions from light shade to full sun, so long as there is adequate moisture. Part shade is ideal for this plant. Rich, fertile, organic soil is best and regular feeding with a balanced fertilizer will keep this plant healthy. This plant usually has few pest problems but the leaves will brown on the edges if the soil is not kept moist or if touched by frost.
Alpinias grow from thick fleshy roots called "rhizomes", similar in appearance to the "ginger root" found in grocery stores. They may be purchased as potted plants or as bare rhizomes, but they are easy to grow either way. Plant the rhizome about 1 in (2.5 cm) below the surface in a sandy loam that has been improved with leaf mold or well composted manure. Clay soils must be amended with compost to make a suitable medium for Alpinias.
Light: Prefers light shade to full sun.
Moisture: Needs moist, well drained soil.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 12. Variegated shell ginger is root-hardy in Zone 8, but it won't flower if its gets frost.
Propagation: Pieces of the rhizome, division of clumps or seed.
Variegated shell ginger is best used as a specimen plant in partly shaded areas or as a container plant on a shaded patio. It often is sold as a container plant, and can be grown indoors in brightly lit areas. It is not nearly as aggressive as the species, and therefore more suitable as a container plant.
• Variegated shell ginger is grown for its colorful foliage which will brighten up a partly shaded garden. The species may be found incorrectly named as Alpinia nutans in some catalogs or garden centers. Alpinia nutans is a very different-looking plant - with short, medium green leaves that have a unique fragrance when rubbed or crushed.
Many plants in the ginger family have culinary or medicinal uses. This ginger is not commonly used that way but the leaves and roots do contain the chemicals kavain and dehydrokavain, similar to the kava plant (Piper methysticum) which is known for its relaxing properties. The ground leaves of Alpinia zerumbet have been sold as both an anti-hypertension and anti-stress medication.
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