Pruning ornamental ginger

I bought a variegated ornamental ginger at a nursery last year. Bought it for foliage, not thinking that it would flower (and it hasn't). In my zone, it's planted in a pot and comes indoors for the winter. In warmer months, it's on the patio in part shade. The stems are getting rather long and are starting to lean unless propped up. Would like to cut it back but not quite sure how. Does anyone have any advice? Or should I come up with some plant stakes for support? It's about 4 ft tall (including pot).

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

Does this plant multiply by putting out suckers? Most Gingers do. But, it may not even be a Ginger. A very misused name. My Alpina Nutens, often called Ginger by mistake (one of my all time favorite plants) gets divided and repotted when it starts to look poor.

Haven't noticed any suckers coming up but maybe the pot is too small for it to send out suckers. Here's a pic I found online that looks pretty close to what I have. It hasn't flowered yet but maybe will have to look into how to coax it to flower.
Mainly looking to find out if I can cut back the leafing branches (? spikes?) so that they don't flop so much.

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

Stake up any too tall stems. I'll bet you cannot cut them back w/o killing that stem.

That's what I was wondering. I didn't know if a shortened stem would sprout new leaves. The fact that I have to bring it into the house in the winter also concerns me as this plant gets bigger and bigger...

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

Pinch/prune as needed to control plant size. You can let it go dry in fall, then cut it back hard & store in a cool place after frost knocks it back (like elephant ears). Don't let it get root bound - divide & repot annually in the spring.


Al - thanks for the tips. I will definitely get it repotted soon before warm weather sets in and dive in to try cutting back the taller stems. I didn't let it go dormant last fall but brought it indoors instead. I haven't overly watered it so it hasn't grown a lot but I do mist it just about every day to minimize brown leaf tips.

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

Just cut it back hard in the spring at repot time & give it a fresh start ...... no more necrotic tips/margins.


Thanks, Al. I will need to be brave. Have already started the spring repotting and it'll get it's turn with my novice attempts.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I have
Alpinia zerumbet
Also. I just read a different FLorida link (FPS036?) that said that blooms will happen on 'the heavily foliated stems" Does that imply that I should remove the taller stems with the skinnier leaves., to encourage bloom?

I think mine attempted to flower. There's a long thin wavy brown thing growing out of one of leaf axils but it hasn't done anything. Since mine has been indoors all winter, I didn't think it would get enough sun to bloom. I am totally a novice with this plant.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Mine has been kept pretty dry in the house over winter, hanging in there, so both - it and me- are looking forward to getting it into a fresh bigger pot of moist soil, and hoping it bounces back.

I'm with you on a bigger pot. Got a new one a few weeks ago and it's been sitting in the garage, waiting on me. We're supposed to get rain every day this week (Yea!) so might be a good time to transplant but it won't go outside for another 6 weeks or so.

Winston Salem, NC(Zone 7a)

What do they look like? I am only familiar with wild ginger .

Large plant with elongated, variegated striped leaves. Will try to find pic when I get a chance.
It's back indoors for the winter and did not like a lot of direct sun. The big leaves would curl every afternoon. Perhaps needed lots more water than I gave it. Did not put on a lot of new growth while it was outdoors. Seems much happier indoors.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I did put mine in a larger pot for summer and it did grow. But didn't get the full lush look I thought it would. Now I've divided it up, put a couple hunks into dry storage, and have one piece going ' live' for winter. THe center of the plant seemed tougher, maybe the better growth happens on young shoots.
So next spring, guess I'll try a different location, maybe a moist inground spot with part day sun. Cut back like Al posted above.

many pics here

I did replant it into a bigger pot back in the spring to encourage new shoots but it's possible I didn't water it often enough. Seemed that the morning shade was kinder to it than the afternoon sun. I figured if it could take the warmer zones that it would have been happy with some sun here.

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