February 26, 2015

Growing ginger lily in cold climate

Let’s see how we grow and propagate ginger lily (Hedychium) here in Poland, Europe, where temperature can drop in the winter down to  -30C/-22F and in the summer can get up to 36C/97F.
We can grow ginger lily outdoors, but for the winter it has to go indoor, no way it could stay outside for the winter..

This particular ginger lily is growing all year round in the winter garden/conservatory. Maybe the conditions there in winter are milder, because the place is heated, but summers  are baking hot. This is why the leafs on the photos are bit brown on the tips.

This particular ginger lily is growing here since 3 years, was brought from Azores, is blooming at the end of summer.  It takes 5 to 10 years for ginger lily to reach final size, it tolerates the soil from alkaline to slightly acidic, chalky, loamy or sandy, moist, but well drained.
In different description I read she needs sunny or partly shady position, but I do not trust it too much. Exotic plants require lots of light when grown in cold climates, because the natural amount of light here is sparse anyway. Any ray of light is a treasure. 

Why to bother growing this exotic plant here? Satisfaction of growing rare plant? Not only. The heavenly scent of the flowers. Yup….  There is always a price to pay, one needs to make sure if the benefits are worth it. In this case beauty of the flowers and the fragrance is worth all the troubles. 

How to propagate ginger lily? Either from seeds or by dividing rhizomes. As you can see on the photos, we had to take properly serious tools to get her out. It doesn’t look that strong, but rhizomes are strong and they form long lines, cos every next piece is growing after another one, strongly attached to the previous one.

We took out about 30 cm long line of rhizomes, and cut them to get four plants that will grow in the large container. All the best to new ginger lilies in my collection! Thank you Krystyna!

Happy gardening!

Recommended reading The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks

No comments: