These are tropical and subtropical herbaceous plants with rhizomes that grow on trees or in the ground. They are commonly referred to as ginger lilies.
Hedychiums are easy to grow in most gardens provided moisture and dappled light is maintained. They grow well in sheltered locations in warm temperate gardens yet can tolerate more exposed sites in the tropics. Full sun can be tolerated provided ample moisture is present. They prefer to have a dry season during their dormant period – winter.
Some species are very hard and continue to grow when dumped in waste areas or bushland. DO NOT DUMP GARDEN PLANTS.
Plants have an erect pseudostem from which the terminal cylindrical inflorescence appears. This sheath of leave bases can grow up to 3m depending on species and support from nearby plants. Leaves are usually a lush deep green.
Flowers are highly decorative and fragrant making them ideal for a scented garden.
To keep the plant looking its best, cut the plants down to ground level following flowering and freshly mulch the soil.
Species worth considering for the garden:-
Hedychium coccineum (Scarlet Ginger Lily) – Pale orange to deep scarlet tubular flowers. This plant can reach up to 2m high.
Hedychium coronarium (Butterfly Ginger or Garland Flower) – Highly ornamental and neat ginger favoured by landscapers. A highly scented white flower with a delicate yellow-green throat makes them ideal for Hawaiian leis. Flowers have a slight nodding habit.
Hedychium gardnerianum (Kahili Ginger) – Decorative ginger with yellow to tangerine orange flowers. Fruiting body is also attractive bright orange. This species comes from higher altitude so it enjoys slightly cooler condition than the other species listed.
written by Paul Plant, Editor of subTropical Gardening www.stgmagazine.com.au