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ALPINIA purpurata

Image of Alpinia purpurata

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Zingiberaceae

Botanical Name

ALPINIA purpurata

Plant Common Name

Jungle Queen, Red Ginger

General Description

Native to the South Pacific, this large evergreen perennial bears showy conical clusters of brilliant red flower bracts and small white true flowers atop tall stems whenever temperatures are warm and soil moist. The blooms contrast beautifully with the large, lance shaped, medium green leaves. The stems die to the ground in the colder part of its hardiness range, but regrow from thick ginger-scented rhizomes in spring.

After the primary flower fades, smaller, side flowers appear from the base of the "mother" flower. Numerous and collectively larger than the first singular flower, their weight can cause the stems to arch and reach the soil. Small plantlets develop in this mass of secondary flowers and will take root, eventually creating a slowly spreading mass of plants.

Red ginger excels in some shade, along with moist, well drained, humus rich soil. Plant outdoors in dappled sun where hardy, or maintain in a container as a large tropical houseplant. Both red and pink flowering variations naturally occur. The flowers and foliage are exceptional and long lasting if cut and placed in a vase of fresh water that is changed daily.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    6'-12' / 1.8m - 3.7m

  • Width

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Red, Pink

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes