Ornamental Ginger Plants - A Guide To Flowering Ginger Varieties

ginger flower
ginger flower
(Image credit: miniloc)

Ornamental ginger plants can be a great way to add attractive and exotic color, foliage, and blooms to your garden. Whether they go in beds or in containers, these plants offer diversity without a lot of maintenance.

Growing Ginger Plants that Flower

Ornamental, or flowering, gingers are different from the edible variety. These are just for show, and they can certainly be beautiful, with a range of sizes, flower shapes, and colors. These are also tropical and sub-tropical plants that will not tolerate winters that are much colder than 50 degrees F. (10 C.). If you do have a south Florida garden, or one in a similar climate, you can grow these ginger plants that flower and enjoy the blooms without much effort. In slightly cooler climates, you can grow them in containers and bring them indoors for the winter. Ideal conditions for ornamental ginger include at least some shade, rich, moist soil, and good drainage. A dose of fertilizer once a month will give you even more flowers.

Flowering Ginger Varieties for Your Garden

There are many types of flowering ginger, but most are large plants with showy foliage and even showier blooms. They thrive in the same conditions, so if you have the right spot in your garden, pick from among the varieties based solely on looks: Red ginger. This grand ginger is tall and produces a big red flower spike. The red spike is not actually the flower, but it does provide the big show. Inside each red bract that makes up the spike, is a small white flower. Malay ginger. The Malay ginger produces flowers that are about 2 inches (5 cm.) across. They are ruffled and may be white or pink with yellow centers. The leaves are long and green, but there are cultivars of this ginger that have variegated leaves. Pineapple ginger. This ginger will give you spectacular blooms. The flower spike is 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm.) tall, has bright red waxy bracts, and is shaped like a pineapple. Butterfly ginger. The butterfly ginger variety produces pink and red flowers, which are not just pretty, but also emit a pleasant fragrance. Torch ginger. The unusual torch ginger flowers bloom from colorful bracts that may be red, pink, or orange. These make lovely additions to the warm climate garden. Shell ginger. The flowers of the shell ginger are unique. They cluster together in a drooping shape and are often white, but sometimes pale pink. They have been described as a string of pearls. Oxblood ginger. This variety adds color to the garden, not just from its white to pink flowers, but also the undersides of the leaves which are a rich, deep purplish red. There are so many varieties of ornamental ginger plants that you’ll have fun picking out the ones that will add a little exotic flair to your garden.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.