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ZINGIBER spectabile

Image of Zingiber spectabile

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Zingiberaceae

Botanical Name

ZINGIBER spectabile

Plant Common Name

Beehive Ginger, Pinecone Ginger, Showy Ginger

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Creating one of the tropical world's most unusual flowers, showy ginger produces a beehive-looking cylindrical bract that displays small purple and white flowers during the warm months. This tender herbaceous perennial grows from a rhizome (an underground stem) and typically goes dormant when cool winter temperatures or seasonal drought develops. It is native to the streamsides and moist lowlands of Malaysia and southern Thailand.

With the return of warmth and rains in springtime, the tall stiff stems emerge from the ground, unfurling long, lance-shaped leaves that are rich green. Each blade is slightly glossy with an underside that is downy. Crush a leaf and smell a familiar gingery scent. In summer, round to oblong flowering structures rise from the soil at the base of the plant, usually no higher than your knee. The architectural collection of scoop-shaped yellow and red bracts (modified leaves) will house the small true flowers that are purple and white with yellow spots. Once the true flowers fade, the beehive-like or pine cone-like "flower" remains, slowly fading to red brown before fully drying to brown.

Grow showy ginger in partial sun to light shade locations in soils that are not alkaline. Moist, well-draining soils are ideal and must be fertile and rich in humus for finest plant performance. Since this ginger is seasonally dormant, it is best planted among evergreen shrubs and herbs in a rainforst setting so the bare spot is not as blatant. The beehive-like bract structure is long lasting as a cutflower, lending an exotic, decadent look to an arrangement.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 9, 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

    4'-8' / 1.2m - 2.4m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    Southeastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Yellow, Red, Purple, Orange

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Cutflower, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No