Thursday, August 1, 2013
Hedychium coccineum is one of the showiest species of ginger. Peak bloom occurs in early to mid-summer on the current year's growth, but a few blooms may appear in the late summer to fall months on late-emerging canes.
Each cane grows erect to a height of 6-7 feet and is topped by a spiky inflorescence. Each individual "spike" on the inflorescence produces several orange-red flowers, opening over a period of a few days. They are only faintly fragrant, but they do attract hummingbirds.
Even after the blossoms fade away, the inflorescence maintains a strong architectural appearance.
The canes are thick and sturdy, with a purplish-gray coloration when they first emerge.
Leaves are two-ranked and about a foot in length.
Hedychium coccineum is also known as orange gingerlily, scarlet gingerlily, and orange bottlebrush ginger. In addition, there are several named cultivars and hybrids that are commercially available. It is native to the eastern Himalayan region in Asia and grows in full sun to part shade. It is recommended for USDA Zones 7-10, being evergreen at the warm end of the range and grown as a deciduous perennial in colder zones.
In South Africa it's considered an invasive species due to its rapid spread by seed.