Stunning ornamental plants, beehive ginger plants are cultivated for their exotic appearance and range of colors. Beehive ginger plants (Zingiber spectabilis) are named for their distinct floral form that resembles a small beehive. This ginger variety is of tropical origin, so if you are more north of the equator, you may wonder if it is possible to grow and, if so, how to grow beehive ginger in your garden.
How to Grow Beehive Ginger
This ginger variety can grow to over 6 feet (2 m.) in height with one foot long (31 cm.) leaves. Their bracts, or modified leaves which form a “flower,” are in the unique shape of a beehive and available in a number of colors from chocolate to golden and pink to red. These bracts arise from the ground rather than from amongst the foliage. The true flowers are insignificant white blooms located between the bracts.
As mentioned, these plants are tropical residents and, as such, when growing beehive ginger plants, they either need to be planted outside in warm, humid climates, or potted and brought into a solarium or greenhouse during cooler months. They are not frost or cold tolerant and are only hardy to USDA zone 9 to 11.
Despite this delicacy of condition, in the proper climate, growing beehive ginger is a tough specimen and can crowd out other plants when it is not contained.
Beehive Ginger Uses
A fragrant plant, beehive ginger uses are as a specimen plant in containers or in mass plantings. Obviously, an eye-catching specimen, whether in the garden or potted, beehive ginger makes an excellent cut flower, with the bracts holding both color and shape for up to one week once cut.
Beehive ginger is available in several colors. Chocolate beehive ginger is indeed chocolate in hue while yellow beehive ginger is yellow with splashes of red. Also available is Pink Maraca, which has a reddish pink lower bract area topped with gold. Pink Maraca is a smaller variety, topping out at only around 4 to 5 feet (1-1.5 m.) tall and can be grown, with adequate cold weather protection, as far north as zone 8.
Golden Scepter is a tall variety of beehive ginger that can grow from between 6 and 8 feet (2 m.) tall with a gold tone changing to a reddish hue as the bract matures. Like Pink Maraca, it is also a bit more cold tolerant and can be planted in zone 8. Singapore Gold is also another golden beehive variety that can be planted in zone 8 or higher.
Beehive Ginger Care
Beehive ginger plants require medium to filtered sunlight and either plenty of space in the garden, or a large container. Direct sun can burn the leaves. Keep the soil consistently moist. Basically, ideal beehive ginger care will mimic that of its tropical home, damp with indirect light and high humidity. The plants will bloom in most areas from July through November.
Sometimes called “pine cone” ginger, beehive ginger plants may be afflicted with the usual pests such as:
An insecticidal spray will help combat these pests. Otherwise, provided environmental conditions are met, beehive ginger is an easy, visually stunning and exotic specimen to add to the garden or greenhouse.