Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata'
Variegated ginger is a 4- to 8-foot-tall herbaceous perennial that is used in the landscape for its attractive foliage and shell-like flowers . The leaves of this plant are green and yellow variegated and are quite striking. They are 18 to 24 inches long and have a distinct, spicy fragrance. The white, fragrant flowers of the variegated ginger are borne in drooping clusters toward the stem ends. These fascinating flowers appear periodically throughout the year on the heavily foliated stems. The fruits are long, red capsules but are inconspicuous.
Scientific name: Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata'
Pronunciation: al-PIN-ee-uh zair-um-BET
Common name(s): variegated shell flower, variegated finger
Plant type: herbaceous
USDA hardiness zones: 9 through 11
Planting month for zone 9: year round
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: not native to North AmericaUses: specimen; border; mass planting; accent; suitable for growing indoors; cut flowersAvailability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range
DescriptionHeight: 4 to 7 feetSpread: 5 to 8 feetPlant habit: uprightPlant density: openGrowth rate: moderateTexture: coarse
FoliageLeaf arrangement: spiralLeaf type: simpleLeaf margin: entireLeaf shape: oblongLeaf venation: pinnateLeaf type and persistence: fragrantLeaf blade length: 18 to 36 inchesLeaf color: variegatedFall color: no fall color changeFall characteristic: not showy
FlowerFlower color: whiteFlower characteristic: pleasant fragrance; flowers periodically throughout the year
FruitFruit shape: roundFruit length: 1 to 3 inchesFruit cover: dry or hardFruit color: brownFruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy
Trunk and BranchesTrunk/bark/branches: typically multi-trunked or clumping stemsCurrent year stem/twig color: greenCurrent year stem/twig thickness: very thick
CultureLight requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sunSoil tolerances: occasionally wet; acidic; slightly alkaline; sand; loam; clay;Drought tolerance: moderateSoil salt tolerance: poorPlant spacing: 24 to 36 inches
OtherRoots: sprouts from roots or lower trunkWinter interest: no special winter interestOutstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted moreInvasive potential: not known to be invasivePest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the plant
Use and Management
Variegated ginger is an excellent specimen plant, but can also be used in containers. It will make a nice accent plant in a shrub border or by a building entrance. This perennial stands out in any landscape and will delight passersby.
Place this perennial in full sun or partial shade. It will perform well in moist, fertile soils that are well drained. Variegated ginger is not very drought tolerant, wilting badly in full summer sun without irrigation. A partial shaded location or regular irrigation prevents this. In cold areas in northern Florida, the stems of this plant will be frozen to the ground, but new shoots will reemerge in the spring.
The matted clumps of this plant can be divided for propagation. Dig the plant any time and break the clumps apart with your hands. The stems can be removed or left on the rhizome which can be planted in a new location.
Pests and Diseases
There are no pests or diseases of major concern. Mites are a minor problem.
by Edward F. Gilman
Selected from: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp036
Horticulture Agent IV
County Extension Director