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Costus speciosus

Pronunciation: KOS-tus spee-see-OH-sus
Family: Costaceae
Synonym: Cheilocostus speciosus
Common Name: Crepe Ginger, Malay Ginger, Setawar Tawar, Spiral Flag, Cane Reed
Plant Type:
  • perennial
Height to: 8ft
Width to: 3ft
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Description: Crepe Ginger (Costus speciosus)'s flowers appear in late summer or early fall, and are quite unusual looking. They form on red 4 in (10.2 cm) cone-shaped bracts, with several 2 in (5 cm) pure white crinkled flowers protruding from each cone. The flowers look like crepe paper - thus the common name of crepe ginger. After the flowers fade away, the attractive red cone-shaped bracts remain.
Soil Type: Under glass, grow in acidic potting mix. Outdoors, grow in moist, but well drained, fertile, acidic soil.
Plant Perks:
  • Medicinal
  • Easy to Grow/Ideal for Children
Pests and Diseases: leaf spots and anthracnose
Propagation: Sow Crepe Ginger (Costus speciosus) seed at 68ºF (20ºC) as soon as ripe. Divide in spring. Pieces of the rhizome, division of the clumps, or stem cuttings. Costaceae are the only gingers that can be propagated by stem cuttings
Native to: Malay Peninsula of Southeast Asia
Winter Sowing Zones: None
Notes for Identification:

Crepe Ginger (Costus speciosus) is an erect perennial with narrowly elliptic, mid green leaves, 5-10in (12-25cm) long.

Crepe ginger is best used for dramatic effect in a tropical landscape, but also combines well with other tall perennials as a backdrop. 

Care: for best results, this plant should get from 3 to 5 hours of direct sunlight daily, and be grown in fertile, organic, moist but well-drained soil. Monthly applications of a balanced fertilizer during the summer growing season will benefit this plant.  Plant the rhizome about 1 in (2. 5 cm) below the surface in a sandy loam or clay soil that has been improved with leaf mold or well composted manure. A single rhizome will produce new shoots and increase to a 3 ft wide clump in the second year under ideal growing conditions. Requires regular moisture but not standing water. Prefers part sun but will grow in full sun if it gets plenty of moisture.  

Source: Various sources including Floridata, The American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and the USDA

USDA Heat Zones (days above 86ºF):
  • 120 to 150 days ZONE 9
  • 150 to 180 days ZONE 10
  • 180 to 210 days ZONE 11
  • Greater then 210 ZONE 12
Seed photo: 0
Seed Label: 0
Located in: Perennials
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