The shell ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) came into bloom in mid-April. This fairly cold-hardy tropical ginger takes a lot of room, but delivers stalk after stalk of striking shell-like blooms. Unlike, butterfly ginger (Hedychium coronarium) which is delightfully fragrant, shell ginger has no aroma.

 For most of the tropical gingers (of which there are many) plant in a moist location with dappled sun and an acid soil well-amended with compost. Give these gingers plenty of room to spread and enjoy the show. Though many will die back in North Florida during especially cold winters. they usually come back in the late spring.
Recently I’ve added a number of peacock gingers (Kaempferia laotica) to the shady riverside bed and lo and behold, spotted the first flower this morning. Peacock ginger is often considered a ground cover plant and is the Deep South gardener’s answer to hosta. While the blooms of these low-growing gingers are indeed sweet, it is the foliage that attracts most to this colorful choice, many varieties of which have variegated leaves. Peacock ginger usually dies down during the winter months, slowly reappearing in the spring, with the flowers sprouting up first. The two varieties I am working with are ‘Bronze’ small-leaved and a “Giant’ peacock ginger (common names).