Their scientific name means "sweet snow". Whether pure white, yellow, pink, or red, their ethereal, orchid-like blossoms all exude a delicious fragrance, never quite matched by bottled perfumes. Showcased in the finest Hawaiian leis, they keep their scent for several weeks. Native to moist tropical forests from sea level into the Himalayas, they spread by stout rhizomes.
Attractive leaves flare out in a single plane around the many reedy stems. Hedychium coronarium (White Ginger) tolerates standing in water and thrives in temperature climates with mild winters (above freezing) and warm summers.
Hedychium gardnerarium, greenei, flavum, and forestii do well in subtropical beds.
Himalayan species are hardy to 28º F by a south-facing wall, with mulch.
All other species are tropicals, demanding temperatures over 65º F, high humidity, richly fertile soil, and plenty of water.
Winter Care & Preparation
Where there is any danger of frost, dig up the roots in fall and store in damp soil at 35º to 45º F until spring. Outdoor plants seemingly killed by frost may produce new stalks in early spring. Good in tubs, though they will not grow as tall. Place tubs in a shallow pan of water to keep soil constantly moist, and liquid feed while growing.
In winter, cut back on water and let go dormant. Trim off dead flower spikes, but keep old leafy stems to nurture new spring growth until well established. Too much shade and warmth in winter inhibit blooming.
Grow from fresh seeds or by division in spring. Bulbuls of Hedychium may sprout plantlets while still attached.
Be sure to read our Overwintering Ginger Rhizomes guide for more information.
Additional Classification Data
Cultivar: Kahili Fiesta
USDA Zone 8a: to 10 °F
USDA Zone 8b: to 15 °F
USDA Zone 9a: to 20 °F
USDA Zone 9b: to 25 °F
Height 3-4 ft.
Height 4-6 ft.
Light - Full Sun
Light - 10% to 40% Shade
Light - 40% to 60% Shade
Rate - Fast