How to plant and care for ginger lilies

Written by dena e. bolton
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How to plant and care for ginger lilies
For a tropical plant, the ginger lily is surprisingly hardy in the UK. (Image by Rod Waddington; Flickr.)

The ginger lily (or Hedychium) is a vigorous grower with white, yellow, pink, salmon and red blooms reaching a height of 1.8 metres (6 feet). Some ginger lilies -- like the white ginger lily or garland flower -- are very fragrant, while others -- like the scarlet or red ginger lily -- are only lightly scented. Ginger lilies have large, sword-like leaves from which grow the tall stems carrying the impressive blooms. Ginger lilies can make quite a statement in the garden and are also good as container plants grown in tubs. They do require some care, but ginger lilies are plants that typically experience very few problems. Follow a few simple steps to enjoy beautiful ginger lilies in your garden.

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  1. 1

    Find a planting location for your ginger lily seeds or rhizomes. Ginger lilies require humus-rich soil that is moisture retentive and at the same time has good drainage, so work in well-rotted organic material before planting. Also, ginger lilies thrive in full sun, so find them a nice sunny spot.

  2. 2

    Soak ginger lily seeds in warm water for about two hours before planting. The seeds can be planted outdoors in the early spring before the last frost. Simply cover them with a thin layer of compost. If starting seeds indoors, you need to plant them at least two months before you plan on transplanting the ginger lilies outside, after the last spring frost.

  3. 3

    Plant rhizomes in the early spring before the last frost. Plant the rhizome with the tip just below the surface.

  4. 4

    Add a balanced fertiliser when the new growth begins to emerge. Keep the soil evenly moist. Ginger lilies bloom from June to August.

  5. 5

    Cut the stems all the way back to the ground after the blooms on your ginger lilies are spent. After the foliage dies, you should cut it back. During cold winters, lift the rhizomes at this time and overwinter in dry peat in a frost-free area.

Tips and warnings

  • Ginger lilies can be grown in large containers or as conservatory plants.
  • Divide ginger lilies in the autumn when lifting the rhizomes for more plants in the spring.
  • Ginger lilies should be placed in borders or areas where their fragrance can be enjoyed.

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