Monday, 18 April 2016

Sub-tropical Presentation from Gavin - Costus Spiral Ginger

The spiral ginger is a genus of mainly ornamental gingers native to tropical and sub-tropical areas of Africa, Asia and South America.

They are grown for their beautiful flowers but some have edible roots and the flowers can be eaten too.

They are a common garden plant that are usually native to rainforests, growing as understorey plants, so they require a shady position in the garden.

The plant usually grows from one to two metres. But some species can be only half a metre or as much as four metres high, spreading a metre wide.

Most have thin cane-like stems and hairy leaves.

The most commonly grown species is costus barbatus, the Red Tower Ginger and is also the most hardy.

The most attractive in my opinion is the Variegated Crepe Ginger which has a large white flower and a red coloured stem.

They require a rich, well-drained soil and the stem dies after flowering.

They can be propagated by division of the rhizomes and stem cuttings will also strike.

It is a very reliable plant to grow in my experience, they have few pests and grow rapidly.

It is a perfect addition to a jungle style garden. It has spectacular flowers which last a long time and look lush and attractive. Even when not in flower, it just screams “tropical”.

Costus barbatus is native to Costa Rica. Plants there are pollinated by hummingbirds.

Spiral Ginger Costus Oxley Ruby
Thank you Gavin for an excellent presentation.

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