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Variegated Shell Ginger

Variegated Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) is native to Indochina and the Australasia region. In a tropical climate, the plants can grow quite large and reach 12 feet tall. However, if they are grown in the garden as an annual, they seldom grow more than 3 or 4 feet tall.

They make nice accent plants in a landscape as a shrub for borders or near buildings & home entrances. They can also be used in containers or grown as a houseplant especially during the winter season here.

Its leaves are oval in shape and approximately a foot long and 2 to 3 inches wide. With a lot of sun, the variegated leaves feature narrow bands of cream, gold, and dark colors of yellow. This plant is referred to as the shell ginger because its flowers are pink when budding almost resembling small, coiled seashells. The opened flowers are very much orchid-like with pink petals and a yellow throat.

Latin: Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata'
Common Name(s): Ginger Lily, Shell Flower, Shell Ginger

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  • Light requirement: grows in part shade/part sun. It’s best in full sun or light shade. 
  • It will perform well in moist, fertile soils that are well-drained and amended with some organic matter. Note: It is not very drought tolerant and will wilt in full summer sun without irrigation or regular watering.
  • It needs to be kept evenly moist and, if container-grown, fertilized on a monthly basis with any good houseplant fertilizer.
  • When used as a houseplant during winter, provide as much sun as possible (southern exposed light if possible) and water enough to prevent leaf-edge burn.