Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Red Tower Ginger, Spiral Ginger, Red Velvet Ginger
Costus barbatus

Family: Costaceae
Genus: Costus (KOS-tus) (Info)
Species: barbatus (bar-BAY-tus) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

14 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 16 photos.
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2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

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:

Huntington Beach, California
Isla Vista, California
Anthony, Florida
Bokeelia, Florida
Clearwater, Florida
De Bary, Florida
Delray Beach, Florida
Marco Island, Florida
Naples, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Pembroke Pines, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Trenton, Florida
Valrico, Florida
West Vero Corridor, Florida
Collins, Georgia
Honomu, Hawaii
Chackbay, Louisiana
New Iberia, Louisiana
Vieques, Puerto Rico
Saint Helena Island, South Carolina
Aransas Pass, Texas
Houston, Texas (3 reports)
Olmos Park, Texas
Point Comfort, Texas

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