Curcuma alismatifolia, also called the Siam tulip, is a deciduous shrub that grows quickly, reaching about 45 to 80 cm (18 to 32 inches) in height. The foliage shoots out a tubular stem that produces one flower in the shape of a tulip in either pink, red or white. The shrub originated in Thailand and is only hardy in the areas of the UK affected by the Gulf Stream -- where the temperature does not drop below -6.67 degrees C (20 degrees F). Caring for the Circuma alismatifolia is not difficult as long as you know how to create the correct environment for this tropical plant.
Plant the Curcuma alismatifolia in sandy, well-drained soil and full or partial sun. Full sun will cause a more spectacular blooming period than partial sun, but the plant will survive in partial sun.
Water the Siam tulip, keeping it moist at least until it takes root if you are planting it outside. The shrub is only mildly drought tolerant so it especially needs to be watered during dry periods. Stop watering during the dormant period starting in October or November. Over-watering at this point may cause rotting.
Fertilise the shrub monthly with a water-soluble fertiliser while the plant is growing vigorously. Stop fertilising in the winter, allowing the plant to go dormant, and start in the spring again.
Lay straw or mulch down around the plant in the winter to protect it from cold and possible frosts. The Siam tulip is a tender perennial and needs protection for colder winters.
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