I have been thoroughly enjoying the flowers from my Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) over the past couple of weeks. So much that most of them have ended up in vases in the house. These are interesting tropical accent plants that are fairly common in South Florida, but oddly enough a bit hard to find to buy. A couple of years ago I found one for my favorite price -five bucks at a garage sale. Sold!
Planted beside our garage to screen an ancient (and exceedingly ugly) pressure treated pine fence and doing an admirable job, reaching 6 feet high and wide in about two years. The flowers are icing on the cake. Starting as a chain of shiny pink flowers resembling sea shells (hence the name) a 6 inch long bud spills the pink shell like flowers out – then a yellow orchid like flower follows at the end.
The foliage is lush and tropical and is evergreen where I live, further north it dies back in the winter – even further north an annual. There is a variegated Shell Ginger with beautiful foliage, unfortunately it rarely flowers, but is still a great accent.
So, why “Gingerly Simple”? Usually I like to stuff a variety of flowers into a vase, these I think stand alone and look better displayed in a simple vase with a few real seashells.