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HEDYCHIUM coronarium

Image of Hedychium coronarium

Grandiflora

Family

Zingiberaceae

Botanical Name

HEDYCHIUM coronarium

Plant Common Name

Butterfly Ginger, Butterfly Lily, White Garland Lily

General Description

Grown for its intensely fragrant flowers that hover like butterflies atop tall leafy stems, this tender herbaceous perennial is native from the Himalayan foothills to Southeast Asia.

The head-high stems of butterfly ginger arise from shallow creeping rhizomes in spring. The stems bear two opposite ranks of long, rich green, canna-like leaves with downy undersides. In late spring and summer, white fluttery flowers open from cone-like clusters at the stem tips. Comprising a broad upright two-lobed "lip" and two narrower lateral lobes, the white blossoms have yellow-stained centers. They release a sweet, delightful fragrance, especially at dawn and dusk. If pollinated, the flowers give rise to orange ovular fruit that split to reveal orange and red seeds that are enjoyed by birds.

A lover of warm humid summers and cool dryish winters, butterfly ginger does best in partial sun and fertile, humus-rich soil. It fares poorly in hot arid conditions. Evergreen in mild climates, it will go dormant in the colder parts of its hardiness range, where it should be mulched to keep its rhizomes from freezing. Where hardy, it is unsurpassed for lending a tropical look to a mixed border or foundation plantings. Elsewhere, grow it in a container, kept in humid conditions during the growing season and in a cool dry place in winter.

Dozens of hybrid cultivars have been developed, with different flower colors including yellow, peach, pink, orange, and red. They make great cut flowers, and are traditional components of Polynesian leis. The flowers and flower buds are edible and are considered a delicacy in Thailand.

This plant is considered an invasive weed in several regions including southern Brazil.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 7

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    4'-7' / 1.2m - 2.1m

  • Width

    3'-5' / 0.9m - 1.5m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    Southern Asia, Southeastern Asia, India, Nepal, China

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Red, Orange

  • Fruit Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Edible, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes