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How to Prune Variegated Ginger Plants

Variegated ginger, also known as ginger lily or shell ginger, is a lush-growing perennial with striking green and white foliage and shell-shaped flowers. As a vigorous grower, variegated ginger requires yearly pruning to maintain a manageable size and prevent the plant from looking scraggly and leggy. Variegated ginger prefers partial shade and warm temperatures. As an outdoor plant, it must be grown in warm climates with no winter freezing. Variegated ginger can be grown as an indoor plant or container plant in any climate.

Use sharp, clean pruning shears to avoid damaging the plant or spreading disease. Clean shears after pruning and before storing.

Trim off any dying or dead leaves that have yellowed or browned. Cut the leaves off where they emerge from the stems or the base of the plant.

Cut off new shoots and leaves to maintain the desired size and shape of the plant. Cut off cleanly where the new stems emerge from the old growth.

Trim last year's stems (the old growth) only as needed. Variegated ginger only blooms from old growth, so avoid pruning off more than necessary.

Cut off the flower stalks at the base of the plant where they emerge after blooming to encourage further blooming.

Trim Variegated Ginger?

Variegated ginger grows best in partial shade, though it can take full sun, and requires rich, moist soil. It is not drought-tolerant and requires frequent watering, especially when planted in full sun. Fertilizing your variegated shell ginger every month with a balanced fertilizer diluted to one-half strength in warm weather keeps it productive and blooming. Read the instructions on the package because rates vary among brands. Variegated ginger grows back from the roots when killed by cold down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit in USDA zone 8b. Aside from blooming only on old growth, variegated ginger is also monocarpic, meaning each cane only blooms once before dying. You can prune canes off at the base to make digging and separating the rhizomes easier, or transplant clumps of roots with young canes in place to ensure new blooms in the same season.

Tip

Divide the roots of potted, variegated ginger every two years so the plant will not outgrow its container.

Give the plant plenty of space around it when planting, as it will grow large quickly. Providing plenty of space will limit the amount of pruning that's necessary.

Warning

Variegated ginger cannot survive freezes, and prefers temperatures above 55 degrees F year around.

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