Old Friends

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

When some of my dormant plants return in the spring, it is like old friends, who one hasn’t seen in months, returning for a visit. One of my favorite summer plants is Hidden Ginger (Curcuma petiolata). I love the banana-like leaves which add a real tropical feel to the summer garden. The areas where I have it planted give a great deal of privacy during the warm months when we are outside so much.

The leaves grow to about five feet tall and have a dark red stripe down the middle of the leaf. Even though I grow this plant for the foliage, the flowers are stunning, too. Now that my plants are older, I am getting more flowers than ever. The flower of this plant almost looks fake.



The flowers come out before the leaves start showing. In the above photo, you can see the leaves have just started growing. Soon the flowers will be hidden by the foliage. The flowers stand about 18 inches tall. This particular grouping has only been in the ground two years; my older plants have more flowers.

Until the leaves get to be full size, the flowers are the real show. The colors are so vibrant. The white and fuchsia-purple really stands out.



While this plant is hardy to only zone 7, it would make a great pot plant for colder areas and shady areas in all zones.

I look forward every spring to the return of this “old friend.” So glad it came back.


  1. Jeannie said,

    May 20, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    The plant is very exotic and I love the leaves. I am wondering if it can tolerate sun?

    • Jan said,

      May 21, 2010 at 4:11 am

      Yes, this can tolerate sun if is remains well watered. Some of mine are in full sun, but in dappled shade late in the afternoon. The sun is pretty strong and hot this far south, so if you are farther north, it might be able to take more sun.

  2. May 20, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Those flowers are beautiful, especially the way the brilliant colour looks painted onto the tips of the petals. What a great combo, pretty flowers and then large, exotic leaves.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: