Do not be shy about growing ornamental ginger. It is a fun plant to include in your landscape if you are looking for a tropical-looking, low-maintenance option. Although some ornamental gingers are not perennial in East Texas, many will return year after year.
There are gingers which grow only to one foot tall and make a beautiful ground cover. Some have lush growth with leaves like those of a Hosta. Some have rounded foliage, others have foliage which is variegated. There are also tall varieties which have stalks that grow straight up, like a corn plant, with long, slender leaves growing opposite of each other. You can find plants which grow as tall as ten feet. Some will grow in full sun, others prefer shade.
Some gardeners grow ornamental ginger for the foliage, but most grow it for its bloom. The flowers are exotic-looking, and many ornamental gingers have a scent reminiscent of perfume. Like orchids, ginger blooms vary. Some are a cluster of individual flowers, some are spikes of color, and some look more like a dahlia. As an added bonus, should you wish to cut the bloom and put it in a vase inside, it should last for several days to a few weeks.
Since gingers look tropical, you may wish to pair them with angel trumpets, banana trees, bougainvillea, bromeliads, cannas, cast iron plants, crinums, elephant ears, ground orchids, hardy hibiscus, passion vine, root beer plant, true lilies, or spider lilies. I think I’ve just decided what I’m going to do with a spot in my garden which needs changing.
Not all ornamental ginger roots can be eaten, so if you want to grow ginger for use in cooking, purchase Zingiber officinale. If you want to experiment, you can try growing ginger purchased at the grocery store. Some may be treated to keep it from sprouting, but those labeled as organic are more likely to put out growth from its buds. Once planted, edible ginger may flower for you, but the flowers will not be as showy as those grown for their ornamental qualities. The plant’s stalk and leaves will be similar to the corn-like look of a tall ginger, but will only grow to around three feet.