Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: 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

17 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

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:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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

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There are a total of 17 photos.
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3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive palmbob 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).

Positive Useppa On Mar 3, 2009, Useppa from Useppa, FL wrote:

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

Neutral ctmaddawg 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.

Positive gingersrus 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


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
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

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