Tapeinochilus ananassae or Indonesian Wax Ginger is native from Malaysia to Queensland, Australia. They will reach 8 feet (2½ meters) tall with dark green soft leaves arranged spirally around bamboo-like stems. Leaves reach 15 inches (~38 cm) in length by about 6 inches (15 cm) wide. It is an attractive plant but needs a lot of room to grow. In containers they need to be repotted often.
Blooming Time: Terminal inflorescences are cone-like and bright crimson, with yellow waxy flowers nestled in the cone. These are very showy. The cone-like bracts are often used in floral arrangements.
Culture: Tapeinochilus ananassae need partial to full shade with a rich well-drained soil mix. We grow ours under 58% shade all year long. A suitable soil mix consists of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 2 parts sand or perlite. The plants are kept moist all year long and fertilized on a weekly basis with a balanced fertilizer. During the winter months, water is restricted somewhat, but the plants are never allowed to dry completely. They are very vigorous growers and will soon outgrow most containers. Plants can be divided at anytime and should be done at least every other year.
Propagation: Tapeinochilus ananassae are propagated by cutting or division and by seed. To take cuttings, you need about 12 inches (30 cm) of the top. These are then dipped in low temperature wax to seal the cut end. Then cuttings are placed in containers where they are grown and kept moist. Divisions can be done at any time.
Tapeinochilus ananassae was featured as Plant of the Week November 22-28, 2002.
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.