Alpinia zerumbet is a native of Southeast Asia. Shell Ginger is a vigorous grower often reaching 8 feet in the greenhouse. Studies have shown that with good protection it can be grown outside in zone 7.
Blooming Time: The showy flowers emerge in spring. The flowers are pink with yellow lips and red and yellow throat.
Culture: Alpinia zerumbet are vigorous growers. They do well in any good garden soil that is rich in organic matter. In the greenhouse, the compost that we use is 2 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand. I grow mine under 50% shade all year long with at least 60% humidity. Being vigorous grower they need to be divided every 2 years. They like to stay evenly moist and need to be fertilized once a month with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. If grown outside in zone 7, you need to mulch them well when the foliage dies back in the fall. You can also lift the rhizomes and store them in vermiculite in a cool room until the danger of frost is over.
Propagation: Alpinia zerumbet are propagated by the division of the rhizome in the winter months.
Alpinia zerumbet was featured as Plant of the Week Febuary 4-10, 2000.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.