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Alpinia spicata (Indian head ginger, Ornamental ginger)

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Helpful articles

External privacy screens. External privacy screens began to appear in Australian residential and commercial building during the 1950's and 1960's, as a direct result of high density living and higher incomes. For more information and some examples read this article.

Fertilisers. Learn all about fertilisers, the different varieties and their applications.

Winter Flowering Plants for the Garden. No Australian garden need be free of flowers in winter. Read this article to learn about some great winter flowering plants.

Bulletproof landscape plants. Not all plants are equal. Many require the soil and climate (amongst other things) to be 'just right'. The plants described in this article are the ones that deserve the title of 'bulletproof' and are a good starting point for an easy-care garden.

Plant description

Alpinia spicata, or Indian Head Ginger, is a herbaceous tropical perennial plant that grows from rhizomes. It is one of the easiest of the ornamental gingers to grow. It has tropical looking foliage with leaves that spiral around the main stem. It also has bright red cone shaped bracts, with orange and yellow flowers that emerge one at a time. The flower bract is long lasting and makes an excellent cut flower. It will flower in spring and summer, or year round in tropical conditions. The plant does best in tropical to sub tropical zones, but can also be grown in colder areas that experience frost. It may die down in colder months, but will reshoot again when warmer weather comes. It is a vigorous grower that can quickly make a large clump. It can be grown as a container plant, in large containers.

Alpinia like a well drained fertile soil. They like a part shaded position, regular fertilising and watering. They can take a sunnier position if kept well watered. They have few pests and diseases.

Propagation is from division of the clump, or by stem cuttings.

Alpinia spicata is also known as Costus scaber and Costus spicatus.

Additional plant information

Flowers

Flower colour: red and orange and yellow
Flowering season: spring summer autumn winter

Plant size

Maximum height: 2.5 metres
Minimum height: 2 metres

Maximum width: 3 metres
Minimum width: not specified

Sunlight, frost & salt tolerance

This plant will tolerate full or partial sunlight.
Medium frost tolerance.
Plant is salt tolerant.

Fauna attracting?

Yes. Attracts: Insects, bees, birds.

Climate

This plant species will grow in the following climates: temperate, subtropical, tropical.

Soil types & conditions

Loam: moist, well-drained.

Clay: moist, well-drained.

Sand: moist.

Soil pH: 6.0-6.5

Pests

Red spider mite

Miscellaneous information

Planting season: All.

Types of fertiliser: Good general purpose fertiliser.

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