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The Ginger Garden, located on the Armstrong campus at the south end of Hawes Hall, contains plants belonging exclusively to the Zingiberaceae family. This diverse family contains over 1300 species including many economically important species. Most grow best in partial shade to full shade, however some perform well in full sun. An herbaceous perennial, gingers prefer rich fertile soils and adequate moisture. Our gingers were planted directly in mounds of aged, finely milled-pine bark mixed with sand. The most common genera are:
Alpinia- The largest genus in the ginger family with 150 species, Alpinias are upright plants growing from one to twelve feet high depending on the species. Also called Shelled Gingers, many Alpinias have fragrant foliage and grow best in light shade to full sun.
Costus- Known as Spiral Gingers because of the spiral growth habit of leaves around their stems, Costus species are diverse in their form, flower, and growing conditions. There are low mounding forms, spreading forms, and upright forms. Heights can range from one to ten feet or more. Some Costus have flowers with soft, crepe-like petals while others have bright tubular petals emerging from cone shaped structures. Some Costus prefer shade while others are sun lovers.
Curcumas- Curcumas are often called Hidden Gingers because their flowers develop close to the ground and are hidden by their broad, tropical looking foliage. Ranging in height from less than a foot tall to eight feet tall, most Curcumas will grow well in part sun but some will tolerate sunnier conditions.
Globbas- Also known as Dancing Ladies, Globbas have small, pendulous flowers that range from white to yellow to purple. Growing two feet high or less, these gingers require shady conditions
Hedychium- Popular with gardeners because of their ease of growth, Butterfly Gingers can tolerate full sun and heavy, wet soils. Upright growers from as short as two feet to as tall as eight feet, Hedychiums produce sweetly fragrant flowers in colors ranging from red to pink, orange, yellow, or white.
Kaempheria- Grown primarily for their beautiful multicolored and patterned foliage, Kaempferias make an excellent groundcover for dense, dark, shady places. Also known as Peacock Ginger, most Kaempheria species have inconspicuous, pale lavender flowers.
Zingiber- Growing upright or with slightly arching stems, these gingers have dark, glossy leaves and produce unusual flowers. This genus contains the common culinary ginger.