October 26, 2014

Plants We Love to Grow-Hidden Gingers-Part 1

 Hidden Gingers- Part 1-Curcuma

Hidden Gingers are a fascinating group of fast-growing plants with spectacular flowers. The genus Curcuma is one of the most popular genera of Hidden Gingers, and the flowering stems are both spectacular and surreal. Recently, several Miami nurseries have released a number of varieties of Hidden Gingers, named as such for the group's habit of going leafless when dormant, and when dormancy is over, the flowers and foliage often arise together. 

Curcuma alismatifolia
"Thai Tulip"

Curcuma cut flowers

Many of these plants are rather new in cultivation, courtesy of both tissue culture labs and via bulk importation of rhizomes from Asia. The plants are quite easy to grow, provided they get plenty of bright light ( up to all day sunlight), are constantly moist and well fertilized during their rapid growth period, and are allowed to go rather dry and warm when dormant.  

Curcuma cordata cultivar

Curcuma 'Burgundy Ice'
Curcuma roscoeana
"Jewel of Burma"
    Many of the Curcuma group can be ordered as rhizomes through the Internet, and the rhizomes can be grown in almost any area where there is ample warmth during the long days of the year, taking care to keep the rhizomes warm and DRY during the wintertime. The entire potted plant can be stored intact without need to "lift" the rhizomes, as is done with many flowering bulbs. the keys to success are abundant water, light and fertilizer during growth, warmth and drought during dormancy. The results are well worth the effort, especially since very little attention is paid to the plant for several months ! 

Craig Morell
Pinecrest Gardens