Alpinia purpurata, or red ginger is an evergreen plant that originated in the South Pacific. It was naturalized in Hawaii in the 1930s and is known commonly in the United States as Hawaiian red ginger. It is a sub-tropical to tropical perennial with a bright red flower spike that resembles a cone and can be 6 to 12 inches long. The plant will grow between 3 and 15 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide. The flowers are grown as ornamentals and cut flowers. As the plant does not tolerate temperatures below 60 degrees F very well, it can be grown indoors with proper humidity.
Fill a large container to within 2 inches of the top with a mixture of 1 part peat moss, 1 part compost and 1 part potting soil, mixed well. Use a container with drain holes so water does not sit in the soil.
Move the soil from the center of the container with your hand and create a space a little larger than the Hawaiian red ginger's rhizome. Carefully remove the plant from the container you purchased it in and gently knock off the growing medium. Place the rhizome in the planting hole in your container and push the soil around it. Hand tamp the soil down firmly.
Place the container in an area where it will get indirect sunlight for at least six hours a day. Placing in direct sun may burn the leaves and result in brown spots. The ideal temperature to keep the plant is in the 70s F. Yellowing of the foliage and slower growth will be the result of lower temperatures. High temperatures will also cause some yellowing of the foliage.
Keep the soil evenly moist. Hawaiian red ginger is not drought tolerant and does not like to be dry. Depending on conditions such as dry heat or central air conditioning, you may need to water every other day. Touching the top of the soil to feel for moisture is the best way to tell if the plant needs to be watered.
Place the container on a tray filled with pebbles and water when the air is dry. These tropical plants like high humidity year round. A spray bottle filled with distilled water or a humidifier may also be used around the plant.
Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer every other month. Refer to manufacturer’s directions as to amount to use per application.