A very easy to grow ornamental ginger with exotic, vibrant red-orange, waxy blooms that top glossy green foliage gently spiraled along thick, upright stems. A great addition to tropical landscapes and outdoor living spaces, with the lush evergreen foliage and eye-catching flowers in shady tropical borders, massed in raised planters, or in containers.
Gingers spice up your yard much as they do in cooking; they are a diverse and beautiful group of plants frequently used in Florida landscapes. They’re typically low-maintenance plants with attractive foliage and long-lasting, colorful blooms that make great cut flowers.
Plants in the Costus genus are often referred to as spiral gingers although the family (Costaceae) has been segregated from the true gingers (Zingiberaceae). Costus members have spirally arranged, one-sided leaves and terminal, cone-shaped inflorescences with colorful, closely overlapping bracts. Between the bracts single or paired flowers emerge. Unlike the true gingers, Costus species contain no aromatic oils and do not have the culinary value of true gingers. However, many cultures prize them for their medicinal properties.
Flower appearance can vary; some form a rigid tube that is usually red to yellow in color, or they can be more open and spreading in colors from white to pale pink. The different forms will bring different pollinators to your plants; birds like hummingbirds prefer the tubular red to orange flowers while bees will visit the more open white to pink petals.
These perennials reproduce through underground stems (rhizomes) and perform best in rich, moist soil although they are quite drought tolerant. Spiral gingers do well in part-sun, filtered sun, or shade. Cold winters in North and Central Florida will cause them to go dormant in the winter, but they return with the warm weather.
Unlike the true gingers, Costus can be propagated from rooted cuttings. Simply lay 8-inch stem pieces flat on the soil during the warm months of the year.