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Carolina Gardening: Is my curcuma ginger dead?

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Forum: Carolina GardeningReplies: 23, Views: 136
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donnacreation
Sumter, SC
(Zone 8a)

March 25, 2011
6:37 AM

Post #8449020

I bought lots of hidden ginger last September and put them in large containers that I buried inground, hoping to protect from them from ground voles. I think they're all dead, even though some of the bulbs are still firm. Many bulbs are rotted and mushy. Should I go ahead and return them to the box store, or should I wait and see if the firm bulbs will re-root?

Thumbnail by donnacreation
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rednyr
Sumter, SC
(Zone 8a)

March 25, 2011
10:40 AM

Post #8449464

If any are firm I'd hold off a bit. X mentioned last week that it's by EOM April they start activity...
donnacreation
Sumter, SC
(Zone 8a)

March 25, 2011
1:23 PM

Post #8449755

I already returned them, red. Turns out the firm bulbs collapsed into a watery, mushy mess when I pressed them really hard. When I first returned them, the outdoor garden manager told me that since they were bulbs, they weren't returnable. I rushed home and called Walmart headquarters, and I was told to speak with the Sumter store general manager for a full refund. As she was about to authorize a refund, the garden manager interrupted her and said they were labeled as annuals, so I shouldn't get my $ back. I was getting really steamed, but I explained to her that in zone 8a, they are supposed to be perennials. The store manager issued me a refund anyway, which I spent on a push mower on the way out. Meltdown averted!
My butterfly ginger was also buried in a container, but it's nice and firm. I had placed crushed gravel in the container bottom, so I guess it was able to drain better. I plan to order more curcumas online and protect with metal mesh wire, so they can drain properly and flourish.
bordersandjacks
Seabrook, SC
(Zone 8b)

March 26, 2011
12:35 PM

Post #8451587

I know they say that curcumas are hardy in zone 8, but I've never had them come back. Maybe it's the drainage like you suggest. The hedychiums are indestructible, love them!
donnacreation
Sumter, SC
(Zone 8a)

March 26, 2011
1:08 PM

Post #8451637

OMG! Come to think of it, I've never noticed any growing around town. Now I'm feeling guilty. Anybody out there successfully growing curcumas in zone 8? I'm not good with guilt and I really hate being wrong.
keonikale
Lexington, SC
(Zone 8a)

March 26, 2011
3:28 PM

Post #8451846

I have one that comes back every year here in Lexington... so far, knock on wood. It took it forever to bloom last year, but it finally did.
StonoRiver
Johns Island, SC

March 26, 2011
4:28 PM

Post #8451965

We've got lots of Zingiber hybrids, Hedychium coronaria and Curcuma elata growing in the ground here on Johns Island, donnacreation. Most have been in the ground for 10-15 yrs. without any quibble about coming back in the spring.
donnacreation
Sumter, SC
(Zone 8a)

March 26, 2011
5:02 PM

Post #8452049

Thanks keon and Stono! I needed that affirmation. Now I can hardly wait to google Zingiber hybrids and Hedychium coronaria. Hope springs eternal:-)
rednyr
Sumter, SC
(Zone 8a)

March 27, 2011
5:15 AM

Post #8452761

oh lawd u got her going now LOL...enjoy Jeannie! I know mine came back in Newberry but last year I transplanted in spring and I know that interuppted it - so here's hoping this year they say hello again
donnacreation
Sumter, SC
(Zone 8a)

March 27, 2011
9:23 AM

Post #8453235

You read me like a book, red! I'm really interested in the zingiber gingers, and I must learn the latin names- and pronunciations - of so many plants. I bought 2 Scarlet BB's (Callistemon citrinus) yesterday at Forest Lake Greenhouse Nursery in Florence. They're lollipopped with 4' trunks, and they're Monrovia, so ofcourse I paid too much for them. Still want a couple Callistemon rigidus BB's, too. I now know the BB's I bought at Simpson's Ace hardware last year were Callistemon rigidus and they were only $9 each. Sue said the Georgia grower who supplied them last year had none this year. Bummer!
I hate working with it, but I'm going to protect my overpriced Monrovia BB's with galvanized mesh wire.
StonoRiver
Johns Island, SC

March 31, 2011
6:13 PM

Post #8463736

My usually reliable zingibers have been real slow coming back this year, donnacreation. Noticed the first sign of them today, about 2 weeks after their usual appearance. But they will come back. And when they come back, they come back with a vengeance! Cold winters definately slows them down, but it's never stopped them yet. Throw away the bulbs that have rotted, plant the others, take minimal care of them, and they will grow up fine! And once they get established, get out of their way! Remind me to send you pictures of the "punies" now, and again in 6 months... Dang, those things GROW!
bordersandjacks
Seabrook, SC
(Zone 8b)

March 31, 2011
7:31 PM

Post #8463901

Sigh. Stono, I'm jealous. Zingibers are not hardy in my hard. Even though we're not that far apart, I think Donna hit on the critical feature- drainage. I think they rot in my yard- I have kind of clayish soil, where most people in the low country have sandy soil.

Good thing the hedychiums like my yard- Daniel Weeks has spread from it's initial quart pot 3 years ago, to take over several square yards of space! Love it!
rednyr
Sumter, SC
(Zone 8a)

March 31, 2011
8:21 PM

Post #8463994

see that's the secret of a great garden...knowing your soil and either working with it or amending it...I'm lazy...I usually try to plant what will work in it LOL
donnacreation
Sumter, SC
(Zone 8a)

April 1, 2011
4:23 AM

Post #8464370

Thanks for the feedback. I was checking out my butterfly ginger - which is firm, but showing no signs of growth yet - and I came upon a buried container of curcuma that I'd forgotten about. It was in a well drained location, and it's bulbs are nice and firm. Can hardly wait for the hedychiums to take off. My vole infested pindos are rebounding, and I'm incredibly relieved. Thanks again!
bordersandjacks
Seabrook, SC
(Zone 8b)

April 1, 2011
1:14 PM

Post #8465277

Donna, I'm a zone 8b, and my hedychiums are already 2 ft. tall! Really early for them to be up. The one I bought last year is still sleeping, the rhizome seems firm like yours, so I have hope it will wake up soon.
donnacreation
Sumter, SC
(Zone 8a)

April 1, 2011
1:48 PM

Post #8465348

Wow, already 2' tall! I must free mine from their containers. What are your light conditions and how deep are the rhizomes? Thanks!
Xeramtheum
Summerville, SC
(Zone 8a)

April 1, 2011
9:59 PM

Post #8466240

My hedychiums are just starting to come up probably because of all the rain - I also noticed in the front bed that the Polianthes tuberosa is starting to show up as well .. I don't expect to see the curcuma or costus for awhile yet. Ground is still kind of cold. When I can walk barefoot in my yard without my feet feeling really cold and hurting I can usually expect to see the hardy bulbs/rhizomes start popping up .. today they were hurting from the cold within 5 minutes.
ardesia
Saint Helena Island, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 2, 2011
6:11 AM

Post #8466526

My hedychiums are only about 6" at this point. The soil temperature around here is dependent upon the temp of the sea water. When the water temperature dropped so low this winter it slowed the growth of everything in my garden. Killed a lot too.

I was just reading about hardy curcumas in the Midlands Master Gardeners publication. It said that while most Curcumas are tender perennials, 'Bright Star' and 'Scarlet Fever' will winter over in most of SC. Also, a few species hardy in the SC midlands are C. elata, C. Sulee Sunshine and C. petiolata 'Emperor', an August bloomer. All are slow to return, it is usually May before they begin to show up.

donnacreation
Sumter, SC
(Zone 8a)

April 2, 2011
11:27 AM

Post #8466973

We've had some very chilly mornings here in rural Sumter County - definitely not barefoot weather. I must be more patient. Thanks, MmeX.
I've never heard of cold hardy Curcuma ,ardesia. Will definitely check out the cultivars you listed. Sorry to learn last winter's extended cold killed some of your tender plants. Let's hope next winter is milder than normal - we all deserve a break after the last 2 winters!
bordersandjacks
Seabrook, SC
(Zone 8b)

April 4, 2011
2:58 PM

Post #8471849

This is what one of my hedychiums "Daniel Weeks" looks like today. I bought it in a quart pot about 3 years ago- good thing I like it!

Thumbnail by bordersandjacks
Click the image for an enlarged view.

donnacreation
Sumter, SC
(Zone 8a)

April 4, 2011
4:41 PM

Post #8472060

Wow, my hedychiums have a lot of catching up to do. I have a few that I overwintered indoors, and they're about a foot tall. Are yours growing in shade? Please post pics when they bloom.
Xeramtheum
Summerville, SC
(Zone 8a)

April 4, 2011
5:29 PM

Post #8472193

Mine too! I'm thinking my are so slow because they haven't had much water.
rednyr
Sumter, SC
(Zone 8a)

April 4, 2011
6:16 PM

Post #8472345

Dr. Moi just popped his head up last week...but Jen your's really are leaping up!!
Xeramtheum
Summerville, SC
(Zone 8a)

April 4, 2011
6:58 PM

Post #8472469

Oh .. that reminded me I'm just starting to see my Dr. Moi Giant making its debut.

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