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Variegated Shell Ginger

 in the Norhtheast Florida Landscape

( Alpinia Zerumbet 'Variegata' )

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Variegated Shell Ginger Origins:


 - These gorgeous semi tropical perennial plants are native to Polynesia and tropical portions of Asia. They are a landscape stand out for the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landcape and will draw the eye wherever they are planted. Alpinia Zerumbet Variegata displays large exotic blooms and lush brightly variegated foliage, they are hard to beat when looking for low maintenance tropical plantings and easily fit into many garden settings.


Variegated Shell Ginger Preferred Exposure:


- Variegated Shell Ginger can be planted in a full sun to shaded location in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscape.


 - Alpinia Zerumbet does well in a sunnier location as long as it is planted into a moist fertile soils. If your garden is extremely sandy and dry consider planting it in a location that will receive some relief from North Florida's hot sun. I find that the colors are more distinct and the plant more generally appealing when planted at least into a partially shaded garden setting.


Variegated Shell Ginger Foliage:Variegated Shell Ginger Alpinia Zerumbet Variegata foliage up close


- Upright stalks of shiny foliage are brightly variegated with green and yellow striping, they are attractive fillers in indoor arrangements and the blooms are very long lasting in cut flower arrangements.


 - Foliage may remain evergreen during the winter in our North Florida area gardens, but can go dormant and come back rapidly the following spring depending on winter conditions and exposure. This is much debated among gardeners as they are particularly responsive to their individual planting location and where receiving some frost protection form larger trees or nearby buildings can remain evergreen in the roughest of winters here in North Florida. The same plant planted and purchased at the same time even 30 feet away may behave differently inthe winter. That being said Southern Living Garden Book touts them as evergreen for the tropical south and root hardy down to about 15 degrees.


 - Gingers are a rhizomatous perennial plant, that is they grow and spread from underground rhizomes ( thick stem like roots, very similar to the more familiar Iris family of plants ) and form clumps of foliage. They can be dug and divided and replanted with just the rhizome or both rhizome and foliage stalks successfully into other garden locations with ease.


Variegated Shell Ginger Soil Preference / Salt tolerance:


- Variegated Shell Ginger is tolerant of a wide range of soil components and growing conditions, although they will be most at home with adequate moisture and rich fertile soils will allow these plants to thrive and quickly form a mature clump.


 - They will tolerate dry soils well if planted in shaded locations and prefer wet soils in full sun areas of the garden.


 - Alpinia Zerumbet Variegata will tolerate occasionally wet or water logged soils well.


 - Salt tolerance is low.


Variegated Shell Ginger Size Variance:


- The foliage on the Variegated Shell Ginger plant may reach 5-8 ft high and 5-87 ft wide depending on soil and garden setting.


Variegated Shell Ginger Growth Habit:


- Clumping perennial rhizomes forms an attractive, upright mound of gently arching foliage.


Variegated Shell Ginger Growth Rate:


- Fast growing Ginger selection will reach maturity in an ideal garden location in its second to third season in the ground. Expect your newly planted Alpinia Zerumbet Variegata plants to have doubled in size after their first summer in the ground and to regrow quickly the following season if foliage goes dormant from winter.


Variegated Shell Ginger Bloom:


- Although the foliage of these showy garden plants tend to be the main attraction, the large, exotic, lightly fragrant blooms are certain to grab your attention and delight the senses.


 - Blooms are born in the summer on plants generally after their second season in the landcape.


Variegated Shell Ginger Water Requirements:


- Although much more durable once established in the landscape, regular water is necessary to get the plant rooted and growing on its own after being planted in the ground from an S & J Nursery container. Use supplimental irrigation bi-weekly when planted in drier soil situations.


Best Uses For Variegated Shell Ginger in the Jacksonville | St. Augustine Area Landscapes :


- Variegated Shell Ginger is a great easy care low maintenance addition to just about any landscape.


- Plant them as the backdrop to a mixed perennial border for added tropical appeal.


 - Brightly variegated foliage will brighten any dark shady area of the landscape and these plants draw the eye wherever they are planted. .


Care of Variegated Shell Ginger in the North Florida Landscape:


 - Low care landscape pant selection in rich moist soils. Amend soil generously whither compost or cow manure when planting for best results.


- Water every day during the establishment period after planting in the garden from an S & J Nursery container.


- Ginger plants will need not only good water during the establishment period and supplemental irrigation during dry spells or particularly hot dry summers, especially when planted into sandier soils.


- Fertilize each spring with a handful of garden compost or a mixture of Milorganite or Green Edge Fertilizer and a slow release poly coated plant food such as Osmocote or Stay Green general purpose plant food or 10-10-10.




Check out these links to other great


Ginger selections available at S & J Nursery



Butterfly White Ginger

Curcuma Variegated Hidden Ginger

Hedychium Disney

Hedychium Pink V

Kaempferia Bronze Peacock

Peacock Ginger Silver Spot

Pinstripe Ginger

Back to S & J Tree Farm and Nursery's Ginger Varieties Home Page



Click here for more information on Alpinia Zerumbet Variegata / Variegated Shell Ginger from UFIFAS.


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Tropical / Exotic/ Unusual Plants for Northeast Florida