Butterfly Ginger

“Butterfly Ginger”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


This year we haven’t seen as many butterflies as in previous years, and the ones that have shown up seem to have come later than ever.  But one butterfly that has shown up right on time is the butterfly ginger.


Butterfly Ginger (redu)


I have these now in three separate areas of the garden, and the clumps have grown enough now to make a nice show of flowers.  The almost tissue paper white flowers are so delicate and, of course, resemble the shape of a butterfly.  This dark green plant will grow to about five to six feet tall and make a nice summer screen for privacy or as a backdrop for other shorter plants.

But, it is the fragrance, which is strongest at night, that is the most wonderful thing about this ginger.  While the flower is only about three inches long, the perfume it gives off in the evening can travel all around the garden.   While aroma spreads over a fairly good distance, it is not overpowering or cloying.  Butterfly ginger (Hedychium coronarium)  has a sweet scent very much like a light gardenia fragrance, and when sitting outside on a warm summer evening, you feel as if you are in a tropical paradise with all this delightful air around you.

Somehow, the fragrance of this plant always reminds me of hurricanes.  It must be because when a hurricane comes through and we lose electricity, the windows are open and at night the fragrance drifts in the house.  This year I am hoping to be able to experience this ginger’s perfume only when outside because I am keeping my fingers crossed that no hurricane comes this way to make us lose the electricity.


  1. Sandy said,

    August 6, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    This really does look like a butterfly. I guess I never looked at the flowers from the right angle before to see this shape.

    • Jan said,

      August 7, 2009 at 5:47 am

      Sandy, this particular flower really shows off the butterfly shape, doesn’t it. I think when there are many blooms on the stalk at one time, it is a little more difficult to pay attention to the individual flower’s shape.

  2. Janet said,

    August 6, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    That is the best fragrance! I love ginger.

    • Jan said,

      August 7, 2009 at 5:48 am

      Janet, I could not agree more about the fragrance. It is so wonderful.

  3. andré said,

    August 7, 2009 at 4:46 am

    Wow, it looks amazing! (But again, nothing for our climate…)

    • Jan said,

      August 7, 2009 at 5:50 am

      Andre, how was your vacation? I am sure you had a great time off. I do look forward every year for these blooms. I know with your cold winters this would have to be a greenhouse plant. Too bad.

  4. Randy said,

    August 7, 2009 at 6:59 am

    I just looooooooove the scent of butterfly ginger. We’ll be groing it again one day. :-)–Randy

    • Jan said,

      August 8, 2009 at 5:14 am

      Randy, the scent is just wonderful, isn’t it? You need to get some for next summer.

  5. Eric said,

    October 13, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Butterfly ginger reminds me of “home” where they are abundant in Taiwan, however, i am very frustrated as I try to grow them in my backyard, which is concrete without soil, i have no choice but grow them in pots. they manage to grow big and tall but only flowered twice in last 5 years.
    do you have any tips as how to grow them in planters?
    Thank you very much,

    • Jan said,

      October 13, 2009 at 3:03 pm

      Eric, I think that butterfly ginger should grow in large containers and bloom. I know mine bloom better with a little sun and lots of water. Hope this helps

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