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Alpinia is a rather large genus of plants, with more than 330 species from the Ginger family (Zingiberaceae). They occur in tropical and subtropical climates of Asia and the Pacific, and are in great demand as ornamentals because of their flashy flowers.
Alpinia malaccensis is cultivated for ornamental and medicinal purposes. It is a native of Indonesia and Malaysia. An oil is obtained from dried rhizome. The rhizomes are ginger-scented. Likes a slightly acid soil. Tubular flowers in droopy clusters. The flowers come mostly in summer.
Alpinia malaccensis is similar to Alpinia zerumbet.
Narrow-Leaf Cinnamon Ginger. The plant is a low mounding ginger with glossy leaves, and amazingly fragrant foliage. Gently brushing the leaves is all it takes to release a spicy cardamom-like aroma. Rhizomes are ginger-scented with a touch of Cinnamon. The flowers are quite beautiful, and resemble those of shell ginger to which it is closely related - the terminal inflorescence resembles that of Alpinia zerumbet, but with smaller bracts, and much larger, red and yelow labellums. These are tubular flowers in droopy clusters and come mostly in summer. This plant has attractive glossy foliage. Lanceolate glabrous leaves emerge from dense stands of pseudostems. In a shady tropical garden, the glossy dense foliage is lush and beautiful.
Hardy to zone 7, it is very easy to grow, and will grow from a small rhizome division into an enormous specimen in just a couple of years. If not protected from freezes, it will die back to the ground, but it will re-emerge from the rhizomes in the Spring, as long as the ground doesn't freeze. If you keep giving it room to spread, the clump will soon become several feet across and three feet tall.
Keep soil evenly moist during the warm months, but allow to dry out a bit more during the winter. Do not fertilize during the Winter. Alpinia nutans is very forgiving of soil type, and is reportedly tolerant of salt.
Hardy foliage plant is often used as a shade groundcover. Alpinia nutans is a Southeast Asian medicinal plant used to control hypertension, as diuretic, antifungal, and antiulcer. In Japan it is used as food preservative.
Alpinia officinarum originated in China, where its name ultimately derives. It can grow several feet high, with long leaves and reddish-white flowers. The rhizomes, known as galangal, are valued for their spicy flavor and aromatic scent. These are used throughout Asia in curries and perfumes, and were previously used widely in Europe. They are also used as an herbal remedy.
Extremely tropical looking, one of the most desirable symbols of Tropics, Alpinia purpurata, red ginger, also called ostrich plume and pink cone ginger, are native Malaysian plants with showy flowers on long brightly colored red bracts. They look like the bloom, but the true flower is the small white flower on top. Red Ginger grows in Hawaii, and many Central American nations, including Belize. It is also found in Samoa, where it is the national flower, and is locally called "teuila." It prefers partial shade and moist humid conditions, although it can tolerate full sun in some climates. It tends to like to be well watered and not left to dry out. Ginger can also be grown as a houseplant and its cut flowers can be used in arrangements. Likes a slightly acid soil. Every other year trim to ground to prevent legginess. Blooms from spring to summer if there is enough humidity.
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