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Variegated Ginger

Variegated Gingers are tropical rhizomatous herbs belonging to the Zingiberacea (ginger) family. In a tropical climate, plants form large colonies and can reach 12 feet tall. But when grown in the garden as an annual, they seldom grow more than 3 or 4 feet tall. Leaves are ovate in outline and about a foot long and 2 to 3 inches wide. The variegation pattern varies from leaf to leaf but is marked by broad or narrow bands of cream or gold. In sunny situations, the variegation will be a more intense yellow. This plant is called the shell ginger because its flowers are pink in bud and somewhat resemble small, coiled seashells. Open flowers are orchid-like with pink petals and a yellow throat. Though the flowers lack the sweet fragrance of most gingers, the foliage has a sweet, aromatic scent when crushed. It’s best in full sun or light shade in a rich soil amended with organic matter. It should be kept uniformly moist and, if container grown, fertilized on a monthly basis with any good houseplant fertilizer.