This copyrighted post, “Hidden Lily Ginger” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana
Curcuma zedoaria, or as my mother called it Hidden Lily, is a plant that dies down in the late fall and emerges fairly late in the spring. This is one plant that I wish stayed around all year. I love the large green leaves that sport a maroon stripe down the middle, and the flowers are so unusual. The flowers emerge just before or just as the leaves are coming up. The flowers can be somewhat hidden by the quickly growing foliage, hence the name. These spikes of colorful flowers, which almost look fake, usually last a long time.
The foliage is my favorite part. The deep green leaves grow to about four feet high. The shape of the leaves and their upright growth remind me of banana leaves, but, unlike the latter, never shred in the wind. The leaves look like they are ribbed and, as I mentioned before, have a maroon stripe in the middle. This plant makes a great screening for the summer.
This is plant is not a fast grower, but the clump does slowly increase in size. It is easy to divide and move to another place in the garden or to share with others. That is how my mother got my sister started on growing hidden ginger, and soon my sister was able to share some with me. While hardy only to zone 8 in the ground, it can be grown in containers.
This very dramatic foliage plant gives a tropical feeling to the summer garden, is easy to care for, has no pest problems, and displays unusual flowers. What more could you ask for?