Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Red Ginger
Alpinia purpurata

Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Alpinia (al-PIN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: purpurata (pur-pur-AH-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Guillainia purpurata

17 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)

Bloom Time:
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Flowers are good for cutting

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

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

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #1 of Alpinia purpurata by Monocromatico

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Thumbnail #3 of Alpinia purpurata by estuardo

By Monocromatico
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There are a total of 22 photos.
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7 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative eliasastro On Dec 13, 2012, eliasastro from Athens
Greece (Zone 10a) wrote:

If you don't live in a tropical climate, better not grow this plant. It flowers on second year growth, so it must be overwintered in a heated greenhouse to have a chance of blooming. It is also a bad potted plant, so forget indoor growing. It needs 70% direct sun to flower, but if temperatures are hot and air is dry it becomes sad. But if it is put in the shade, it will never flower.

Positive jaflady On Aug 13, 2011, jaflady from PACIFIC PALISADES, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This plant is a weed in my garden. It is beautiful but would take over everything if I let it. It spreads like wildfire so I let it go when I am lazy and it is blooming well - then pull it up when it is too shaggy. It moves around the yard at will and grows in any soil, sun or shade. Nothing fazes it. I am coastal So. Calif.

Positive crewdog On Sep 20, 2009, crewdog from Marcus Hook, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Despite its reputation to grow only in tropical climes I have had this Alpinia purpurata come back for 4 years now after every winter in my zone 6b climate in southern PA. I grew it as a house plant from a cutting from Hawaii. One year I put it outside to get it to bloom. It never did and I left it to die over winter.I left it neglected on the very sunny southern exposure of my house. It still does not flower but It does make a large show of foliage by October before frost cuts it down.

Neutral Kalaia On Apr 27, 2006, Kalaia from Lafayette, LA wrote:

Just thought I'd add that I took a trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica, and this plant was growing in the wilderness near some waterfalls (a sign had been posted that told the name of the plant). They ranged in color from red to pink.

Positive jnana On Aug 8, 2005, jnana from South Florida, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

Red Ginger pretty much takes care of itself. I don't do any maintenance other than pruning when it starts to take over everything. Every summer it flowers non stop with leaves that reach 8 feet tall. The flowers can be brought inside to make nice floral arrangements that last a long time.

Positive punaheledp On Jul 6, 2004, punaheledp from Kailua, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

I never cared much for "red ginger" but lots came with my house. I found that a few stalks made a great flower arrangement that is very long lasting and now like this ginger much more. Glad I kept it, very nice along my driveway. After it flowers it will start making a "baby" plant at the flower, and as the baby grows the stem will slowly drop to the ground and create a new plant.

It's from the South Pacific (I think the pinks may be a different species because "purpurata" is bright red bracts with inconspicuous white flowers.)

Positive foodiesleuth On Jun 18, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

There are many varieties of the blooming gingers growing in Hawaii. This one seems to be one of the most prolific. The cone head's colors run from light pink-almost white to deep reds.

Positive WillowWasp On Jun 17, 2004, WillowWasp from Jones Creek, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I got this one in a trade and I am so glad I did. It is very pretty blooming or not and grows so fast. In one season it has filled a bucket and is spilling over with new shoots. I will have to plant it in the ground theres no way I can keep up with it in a pot.

I will keep this one and take some with me when I move... :o)

Neutral suncatcheracres On Oct 6, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

You can't reliably grow Alpinias in most of the US because they need a year and a half frost free to flower, and only Hawaii and Puerto Rico, and perhaps very Southern Florida have those conditions. They will sometimes survive a frost, and come back, but why bother if you can't have the flowers, although I think they are really the most beautiful of all the gingers.

Positive Monocromatico On Oct 3, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

I see this plant everywhere here in Rio de Janeiro. According to the USDA, it's only cultivated in the USA in Hawaii and Puerto Rico, so I guess it needs a tropical climate, with warm temperatures and high humidity. It's also commonly planted in high moisture, in organic soils.

Most plants have red inflorescences, but one can also find colors varying from light pink to bright red, also with white flowers that can be very well pass unnoticed. New buds are produced on the inflorescence after the last flowers (the bracts stay colored for a long time, making it very apropriate for floral arranges), not to mention the constantly produced stalks from the rhizome.

Propagation can be made cutting the rhizome and planting it in moist, dark soil, giving it some shade


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

Camarillo, California
Pacific Palisades, California
Quartz Hill, California
Rancho Mirage, California
Silt, Colorado
Avon Park, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida (2 reports)
Bokeelia, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2 reports)
Hollywood, Florida
Loxahatchee, Florida
Miami, Florida
Mulberry, Florida
Naples, Florida
Stuart, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Vero Beach, Florida
Honomu, Hawaii
Kailua, Hawaii (2 reports)
Kihei, Hawaii
Maunaloa, Hawaii
Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania
Vieques, Puerto Rico
Brazoria, Texas

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