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Red Tower Ginger, Spiral Ginger, Red Velvet Ginger

Costus comosus

Family: Costaceae
Genus: Costus (KOS-tus) (Info)
Species: comosus (kom-OH-sus) (Info)
Synonym:Alpinia comosa
Synonym:Costus maritimus


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Bloom Color:


Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Goleta, California

Huntington Beach, California

Anthony, Florida

Bokeelia, Florida

Clearwater, Florida

Debary, Florida

Delray Beach, Florida

Eustis, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Marco Island, Florida

Naples, Florida

Ocala, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Trenton, Florida

Valrico, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

Collins, Georgia

Honomu, Hawaii

Kurtistown, Hawaii

New Iberia, Louisiana

Thibodaux, Louisiana

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Aransas Pass, Texas

Houston, Texas (3 reports)

Point Comfort, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 26, 2014, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

above comment should be taken seriously as he is correct... the proper name for this plant is Costus comosus, not barbatus, despite the prevalence in the nursery trade. It is a very common plant (while the true C barbatus is actually quite rare).


On Mar 3, 2009, Useppa from Useppa, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Spiral Ginger has a soft down under its leaf, which differentiates it from the shorter woodsonii Red Button variety.


On Jun 5, 2007, ctmaddawg from Hollywood, FL wrote:

Seems to propagate asexually from the inflorescence. A cluster of plantlets often forms from the "flower" with ten or more plants with roots forming a pod which through its own weight causes the mother shoot to bend and eventually reach the ground where the new plants root. This may well be sexual reproduction with seeds germinating and developing right from the inflorescense itself. FASCINATING.


On Jul 9, 2006, gingersrus from Tallahassee, FL wrote:

This beautiful Costus has been incorrectly identified many years ago. It is always sold under the name Costus barbatus, but the true Costus barbatus is not in cultivation and I have never been able to find it in its native Costa Rica. This is actually a form of Costus comosus.

It is however, a great garden plant. It is hardier than most Costus species but unfortunately it only blooms if it has not frozen back - will not bloom on current year growth like most Costus will.

Dave Skinner