Shell Ginger

General Information

Common Name
Shell Ginger
Botanical Name
Alpinia zerumbet
Hardiness Zone
  1. Zone 9b
  2. Zone 10a
  3. Zone 10b
  4. Zone 11a
Sun
Shade with Light Sun
Water Requirements
  1. Moderate to High
Dormancy
  1. Evergreen
Size
6' -8'
PROS:
  • Tropical accent plant
  • Grows in shady locations
  • Can tolerate wet locations
  • Variegated variety lightens up dark areas
  • Green variety can tolerate a fair amount of sun
CONS:
  • Requires a fair amount of maintenance to look it's best
  • Can look "ratty" through the winter months
  • Can grow out of bounds
  • Stalks die after blooming requiring removal
There are 2 common varieties of this plant; Variegated and green. The green variety grows slightly taller and tolerates a little more sun. Otherwise they can be treated the same.

The variegated variety is the more popular version of this plant and is far more attractive with it's yellow striped foliage. It will attain a mature height of about 5'-6' while the green variety can top out at around 8'. Once mature, the stalks will reach maximum height and can not be maintained any lower. So be sure you want a plant this tall. It forms clumps that will expand to 8'. This can be somewhat controlled by dividing the clumps and either discarding or replanting the extra parts of the plant. As the the individual stalks flower, they eventually decline and die necessitating removal.

Although fairly high maintenance, they are a showy, tropical accent that enhances often difficult locations. There are many gingers to choose from and it is a family of plants that are well worth including in the Florida garden.

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