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Costus spicatus (Indian ginger head, Ornamental ginger)

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Helpful articles

Native Annuals and Perennials. Australian annual and perennial plants can be used to create excitement in your garden as they are quick growing, usually very floriferous and because they are relatively temporary they can be replaced on a regular basis to add something new each year.

Australian Native Orchids. Native orchids range from the spectacular epiphytic (growing on trees) and lithophytic (growing on rocks) species of the tropical jungles and warmer areas of Australia, to the intricately subtle terrestrial (growing in the ground) species found throughout the dry eucalypts forests throughout the continent.

Growing Banksias. Learn how to grow Banksia in your garden.

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

Plant description

Costus spicatus, 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.

Costus 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.

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

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: 2 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: Birds, bees, insects.

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: Any.

Types of fertiliser: Good general purpose fertiliser.

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