Ornamental ginger, Hedychium gardnerianum - care instructions

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Butterfly ginger - Hedychium gardnerianum

Butterfly ginger, Hedychium gardnerianum or Kahili ginger - the ornamental ginger has many names. His tropical beauty always stays the same. Up to two meters high, covered with lush and aromatic flowers, this houseplant is an impressive appearance. It becomes a highlight when the luminous fruit stalks adorn their exterior in autumn. However, the exotic is not sensitive. On the contrary, with proper care, the ornamental ginger can temporarily stand outside, hibernate cold or warm and forgive even small mistakes. But culture and location must be right. Only then will the fancy optics be preserved for a long time.


As exotic as the ornamental ginger looks, so too are his demands on the light conditions of his location. This should be kept as sunny as possible and the Hedychium gardnerianum at least in the summer can offer high temperatures. The plant can be kept in the house all year round, but can also be spent outdoors from spring to autumn. The lighter and warmer the ginger plant is, the more moisture it can withstand. If the south balcony is chosen as the summer location, the plant is allowed to get rain. Dark places should be dry accordingly.


As a substrate, the ornamental ginger needs a nutrient-rich and loose soil, which has a high mineral content. Plant soil mixed with perlite, lime or sand is suitable. Likewise, cactus earth can be used for this purpose. It is also important that the soil is well drained and loose overall - waterlogging therefore can not occur or at least is very difficult. Pieces of pottery at the bottom of the pot and a portion of coconut fibers in the substrate affect the substrate accordingly.

to water

How moist the ornamental ginger is and how much must be poured for this purpose depends on a number of factors. On the one hand, the temperature and the lighting conditions at the location. The warmer and lighter it is here, the moister the earth may be. He also tolerates a little more water during the growth phase from April to October. During this time, the substrate should be kept moist as evenly as possible. The type of wintering also determines the casting frequency. If the plant originally from Nepal continues to be at its usual location, casting only needs to be slightly reduced. In a cool winter location, it can be almost completely adjusted.
In any case, it is important that no waterlogging occurs.


Since the fleshy ornamental ginger can reach a height of up to two meters and develops a lush flowering and immense inflorescences, it requires large amounts of nutrients. From April to October, it should therefore be supplied with liquid fertilizer every two weeks, which is added to the irrigation water. If Hedychium gardnerianum is placed during the winter so that it enters a resting phase, it needs no additional nutrients. The situation is different with warm wintering. During this he should receive the usual fertilizer, but only every four weeks.

Ornamental ginger - Globba winitii

Tip: Fertilize the ornamental ginger with water so that the roots do not burn chemically.


The ornamental ginger grows as a perennial and needs no waste. Withered flowers and ripe fruiting bodies can be removed. However, these are usually easier to break off, pluck or snap.


The ornamental ginger does not need to be repotted regularly. It is sufficient to carry out this measure as needed. And this is always the case when roots show up at the bottom of the flower pot or Hedychium gardnerianum is no longer stable in the pot. If the butterfly ginger is already very high, the work should not be done alone, but with a helper. April is the perfect time to start a new phase of growth. The fertilizer can then be exposed for about two months, as the fresh soil initially contains sufficient nutrients.
Tip: Anyone who thoroughly removes the old soil from the roots will also eliminate any germs and pests that may be present.


The ornamental ginger can be increased on the one hand on seeds, on the other hand on the rhizome. Who decides to propagate seeds, should be prepared for a long wait and many failures. The germination rate is relatively low and intuition is needed for the cultivation. This guide can help:
  1. The seeds are removed from the mother plant in the ripe state and freed from the pulp.
  2. In preparation for germination, they are placed in warm water for 24 hours. Older seeds, which could not be germinated immediately and stored instead, are doused with hot water - so scalded - and soft in this too.
  3. A mixture of equal parts of compost and sand or perlite serves as a substrate.The seeds of the ornamental ginger are only slightly covered with it.
  4. The substrate is moistened well. Place the planter at 25° C to 30° C in a bright place.
Propagation over the rhizome is much easier and faster. Again, the following description can help:
  1. When repotting the ornamental ring a strong piece of rhizome, which should be about 5 cm to 7 cm long, separated from the mother plant.
  2. The root piece is placed on moist soil and placed in a warm, bright place.
  3. Once the rhizome has started to exorcise and become anchored in the soil, it can gradually be covered with substrate. The fastest growth is when the young shoots are still visible above the ground.


The Kahili ginger can be wintered either warm or cold. During warm wintering, the plant remains in the usual room or is placed in a bright, heated conservatory. The distances between the fertilizer inputs are increased, the casting slightly reduced.
Nevertheless, the substrate must be kept moist. During the cold hibernation, the Hedychium gardnerianum is placed in a dark room with a temperature of at least 5° C. Here is completely dispensed fertilizer. Low watering only occurs to prevent the soil from completely drying out. In this variant, it is otherwise normal for the leaves to retract or curl up.

Typical care mistakes, diseases and pests

The ornamental ginger is insensitive to diseases and pests. Only mistakes in nursing can weaken him. Above all, a wrong casting behavior, which leads to waterlogging or dryness, can damage the plant.

Frequently asked questions

  • Is the ornamental ginger poisonous? - Kahili ginger is toxic to humans and animals in all its parts, so it should not be within the reach of children and playing pets.
  • Does Hedychium gardnerianum tolerate frost? - If the ornamental ginger is outdoors from spring to autumn, it can be surprised by temperature drops. If he only has to endure short frosts this is not a problem.

Worth knowing soon

  • The ornamental ginger is also known as butterfly ginger or kahila ginger.
  • It can grow up to three meters high.
  • Ornamental ginger can be used as a houseplant or for the conservatory.
  • As a container plant he is allowed to stand outside during the warm months.
  • In summer, it makes long spikes of flowers with mostly large yellow flowers and red stamens that smell very pleasant.
  • Some varieties also bloom white or pink.


The home of Zieringwers is located in the south and southeast of Asia and Africa, 18 of the 50 species are only in China. Since it also occurs in the Himalayas, it can also tolerate slight minus temperatures, but no strong frost. Normally the leaves die off in winter and the plant repeats again in spring, but in warmer temperatures, for example in a winter garden, the plant can also keep its leaves. It should not be warmer then 15° C.

Ornamental ginger - Globba winitii

A good location for the ornamental ginger is a sunny or partially shaded place in the winter garden or in the summer on the terrace. This shrub needs a uniformly moist soil, but waterlogging tolerates it just like most plants. Optimal is a humus-rich soil that has been loosened up with gravel or other coarse-grained substances. In the course of the growth period, the ornamental ginger should be fertilized several times, then he flowers very diligently from August and exudes a somewhat sweet smell. If the ginger is in a warm location in winter, it should be fertilized once a month.


A container plant should be placed in a cool and dark location for the winter. Ideal is a temperature just above 0° C. Before the dead leaves can be removed so that only the root ball remains. The shoots should not be cropped. From May, the plant can be slowly accustomed to the sun again, for which it should be in the garden or on the terrace in a partially shaded place. Later she is also quite heat-tolerant and even a windy location does not bother her. She is quite insensitive to diseases and pests.


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