1) General Information:
Location on Property:
Toothbrush zone & Back of Jungle Cottage,
- Garden D , Garden H
- Scientific Name: Alpinia zerumbet
- Region of Origin: Native to eastern Asia
- Type: Useful & Ornamental
- General History: Shell-flower is in the ginger family and is native tropical China, Japan, India, Indo-China, Cambodia, Thailand Vietnam, and Malaysia. It is widely cultivated and distributed in most tropical and semi-tropical areas including Brazil, Peru, the Amazon, and the U. S. (Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico). This plant is an evergreen tropical perennial that grows in upright clumps to 8-10′ tall in tropical climates. It produces fleshy rhizomes much like ginger that have a ginger-like aroma. Shell-flower was first botanically referred to as Alpinia speciosa but has been standardized A. zerumbet. This beautiful tropical plant is becoming a popular tropical house plant as well as a landscape plant in warmer climates. Various cultivars can now be found for sale in U.S. nurseries and plant stores under the common name “variegated ginger.”
2) Plant Uses:
- As Food: The plant’s long leaf blades are still used for wrapping zongzi, rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in large flat leaves. In Okinawa, Japan, Its leaves are sold as herbal tea and are also used to flavor noodles and wrap mochi rice cakes.
- As Medicine: Its tea has hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), stomachic (aids digestion), antimicrobial, febrifuge (reduces fever), analgesic (reduces pain) properties. In Brazilian herbal medicine, the essential oil of the leaf is used for high blood pressure and as a heart tonic. In other parts of the world the plant is considered balsamic, diuretic, and stomachache and traditionally used for colds and flu, fevers, flatulence, stomach problems and indigestion.
- Other Uses: Houseplants and yard ornamental
3) Growing Instructions
- Growing: Flowering rarely occurs before the second year.
- Best time to Harvest: Mid (69-80 days)
- Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade. Afternoon shade in hot summer climates is recommended. Indoors, the plant must have bright light and humid conditions.
- Soil Requirements: best grown in rich medium-wet, to wet well-drained soils
- Propagation: Cutting, division, grafting, seed, separating. Prepare ground with compost/soil mix, stick a branch in 2-3 inches, water. Don’t over water this plant, but let it dry out a few days before watering again. Can also be rooted before planting.
- Controlling Spread: /
- Difficulties with this plant: /
- History of this Plant at Hedonisia: /
- as a heart tonic and for high blood pressure
- as a digestive aid for stomach upset, indigestion and intestinal gas
- for colds, flu, and fever
- as a mild diuretic
- for candida and fungal conditions