December 2001



Variegated Shell Ginger – Alpinia zerumbet variegata

Origin - Asia



This easy to grow, easy to propagate ginger is a member of the largest genus in the Zingiberacae family. It's yellow, cream and green leaves make it a strikingly attractive plant. Shell ginger is known for its beautiful blooms that look like a string of soft pink shells, hence the name.

 Shell gingers are relatively cold hardy and can stay outside all year in zone 8 or above. However; if you are like me and live in a colder climate, variegated shell ginger can easily be relocated indoors during the winter months. Mine do well in a southern -facing window, with decent air circulation and occasional misting. Variegated shell ginger likes a bit of shade to keep the color vibrant on the foliage. 

 One of the biggest advantages is the bountiful abundance of rhizomes that shell gingers produce. Division is a happy time for ginger, not only do they respond with greater vigor and more blooms, but there's usually lots of leftovers for friends and neighbors. I like to divide mine at least every other year or more, if needed. If my birds or cats decide to overturn a pot, no problem, I've often divided them up then. They can out-grow a container very fast if they like their environment

 Shell ginger does the majority of its growing during the summer months. During this time, they are heavy drinkers and feeders. They also seem to be relatively pest and disease-free. 

  If you are looking for tropical plant to relieve the winter doldrums for you and your pets, why not consider variegated shell ginger?