Alpinia - How to care for and grow your Alpinia plant



Note 1

There Alpinia it is used not only to adorn gardens and cheer up our homes thanks to its beautiful and long blooms and its rich leaf apparatus also as a precise flower.






: Angiosperms


: Monocotyledons


: Commelinoids











: see the paragraph on "Main species"


The genre Alpinia of the family of Zingiberaceae (the same ginger family), including several evergreen perennial species, native to the tropical regions of Asia and Oceania.


There are numerous species in the genus Alpinia among which, among those used for ornamental purposes, we remember:


L'Alpinia purpurata is a herbaceous plant, native to Australia, New Zealand and the nearby islands of the Pacific Ocean. In nature it is a plant that easily reaches 4 m in height and 1.5 m in width.

Note 1

The leaves are long and rigid and the flowers are gathered in panicle inflorescences characterized by long-lasting pink or red bracts, inside which, in spring, numerous small white flowers bloom. Its peculiarity is that the whole plant gives off a delicate scent of ginger.

It is highly appreciated commercially and also used as a cut flower.

It is the national flower of the Samoa Islands.


The Alpinia They are easy to grow plants and do not require special care.They love light, but not direct sunlight. They are plants with typical hot-humid climates.


From spring and throughout the summer they should be watered regularly, keeping the soil always moist (not soaked). After flowering it is necessary to reduce watering and wait for the soil to dry on the surface before proceeding with subsequent irrigations.

During the summer, if the air is too hot, the plant will benefit from nebulization in the canopy.


There Alpinia it is not particularly demanding in terms of land. A good soil could be made up of loam of leaves and peat in equal parts to which a little sand is added to favor the drainage of the watering water. The repotting takes place in early spring. Pay attention to the rhizome because it must be buried no more than 1 cm deep.

We always recommend the use of terracotta pots as, thanks to their porosity, they allow the soil to have gas exchanges with the outside.


The Alpinia they are fertilized every two weeks from spring and throughout the summer, using a liquid fertilizer diluted in the watering water and halving the doses compared to what is reported in the package. During the other periods they will be suspended.

It is advisable to use a fertilizer that in addition to having macroelements such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) also has microelements such as iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu) , zinc (Zn), boron (B), polybdenum (Mo), all important for a correct and balanced growth of the plant.


They are plants that cannot be pruned. Only the parts that gradually dry up or become damaged are eliminated to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.

Remember to always use clean and disinfected tools, possibly flame-retarded to prevent them from transmitting unwanted diseases.


The multiplication ofAlpinia occurs mainly by division of the rhizomes.


In spring, at the time of repotting, the rhizomes can be divided. They must be cut into several parts, taking care that each portion has at least one sprout. Sprinkle the cut surface with a broad spectrum fungicide powder and place each portion in a soil made up of equal parts peat and sand. Wait a few days before watering to allow the wounds to heal and then start watering keeping the soil slightly moist and keep the pot in a slightly shaded place. If everything went well after about a month the first shoots will begin to appear, which means that the plant has rooted. At that point, take the pot to a brighter place (not in direct sun) and when the seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant them into the final pot as indicated for adult plants and treat them as such.


Leaves that begin to turn yellow, appear mottled with yellow and brown

If the leaves begin to turn yellow and after these manifestations they shrivel and fall, most likely you are in the presence of an attack of red spider mite, a very annoying and harmful mite. Observing carefully you can also notice some thin cobwebs especially on the lower page of the leaves.

Remedies: increase the frequency of nebulizations to the foliage (the lack of humidity favors their proliferation) and possibly, only in the case of particularly serious infestations, use a specific acaricide. If the plant is not particularly large, you can also try to clean the leaves to mechanically eliminate the parasite using a wet and soapy cotton swab, after which the plant should be rinsed very well to remove all the soap.

Spots on the underside of the leaves

Spots on the underside of the leaves could mean that you are in the presence of cochineal and in particular mealy cochineal. To be sure, it is advisable to use a magnifying glass and observe. Compare it with the photo on the side. They are features, you can't go wrong. Also if you try to remove them with a fingernail, they come off easily.

Remedies: remove them with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol or if the plant is large and potted, you can wash it with water and neutral soap, rubbing very gently with a sponge to remove the parasites, after which the plant is varisced very well to eliminate all the soap. For larger plants planted outdoors, you can use specific pesticides available from a good nurseryman.


There Alpinia galanga o Thai ginger is used in gastronomy as a spice in Thai and Indonesian cuisine as its rhizome has a pungent odor and a sweet taste while the fruits are normally used in traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine and unani tibb (known in Europe as Arab medicine) .

The genus owes its name to Prospero Alpini, an Italian botanist specialized in exotic plants who lived at the end of the sixteenth century (Marostica, November 23, 1553 - Padua, February 6, 1617).

(1) Images by Forest & Kim Starr, licensed under Creative Commons (CCBY 3.0)

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