How to Grow a Hawaiian Red Ginger Plant

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The Hawaiian red ginger plant ("Alpinia purpurata") is a tropical plant hardy in zones 9-11 and is also sometimes known by its common name of 'Jungle King.' It is renowned for its spikes of deep red blooms that work extremely well in floral arrangements and last quite a long time. This plant can grow to be as tall as 9 feet and generally is rather carefree if given the right conditions. Most areas of the United States, except Hawaii and the southern-most areas of Florida, cannot support the growth of this perennial outdoors. However, the Hawaiian red ginger can be grown in containers indoors. Once again, the proper conditions must be met. If you give your Hawaiian red ginger plant a happy home, it can do extremely well for you whether you plant it outdoors or grow it in a container. You will also find that it is actually quite easy to grow.

Things You'll Need

  • Rich, well-drained soil
  • Balanced fertilizer
  • Container, at least one-gallon size (optional)
  • Plant your Hawaiian red ginger plant in an area in full sun with the rhizome laying on its side. (The points along the rhizome should be facing upwards.)

  • Cover the rhizome with rich, well-drained soil. The rhizome does not need to be planted deeply. Use just enough soil to cover it.

  • Water frequently. You do not want the Hawaiian red ginger plant to become soggy, which is why it is important to use soil that drains well. However, you also do not want it to ever dry out between waterings. This plant needs to be kept evenly moist at all times.

  • Fertilize regularly with a balanced fertilizer. Hawaiian red ginger plants will bloom year-round if given the right conditions. This means that they need a regular supply of nutrients to replace those used for its blooming efforts.

  • Do not allow your Hawaiian red ginger plant to be exposed to temperatures below 45-degrees Fahrenheit. This means that if you live in an area that is outside zone 9 where temperatures can dip lower than will suit your Hawaiian red ginger plant, you need to plant it in a large container. Start with a one-gallon size; however, you will have to transplant it into a larger container in about 6-8 weeks. This plant grows incredibly fast. It can be left outdoors during the summer months; although, you should bring it into the house before the temperatures drop. It can be over-wintered indoors, but you should give it a sunny spot or a grow-light to keep it happy.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can propagate Hawaiian red ginger plants by dividing the rhizomes.
  • If you have a greenhouse, your Hawaiian red ginger plant will be extremely happy to live in it.
  • Hawaiian red ginger plants like humid conditions; therefore, if growing it indoors, provide it with a humidity tray or surround it with several other container plants. The various plants will provide each other with the necessary humidity.
  • Some people have reported that their Hawaiian red ginger plants survived outdoors in areas that are further north than zone 9; however, the plants never bloomed. Try planting yours outside if you so desire; although, the blooms are really what make this plant spectacular. It will probably die, however, as soon as there is a frost. You will be planting, therefore, at your own risk.

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