Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Hidden Ginger, Hidden Lily
Curcuma petiolata

Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Curcuma (KER-koo-muh) (Info)
Species: petiolata (pet-ee-oh-LAH-tuh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

27 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
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:
Partial to Full Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

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

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 12 photos.
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7 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive BLINK_EN On Oct 19, 2014, BLINK_EN from Mount Pleasant, SC wrote:

FIRST YEAR - My Hidden Ginger bloomed all spring, all summer, and is just starting to fade in mid-October. I LOVE IT! It is on the West side of a fence with a large over hanging tree on the East side That blocks the sun until 1:00pm The house blocks the sun from about 5:00pm. (St. Augustine grass grows well in this area too.) I planted this plant in 50/50 mushroom fertilizer and my sandy dirt. I live in a subdivision close to the marsh. My top soil is fill dirt and sand. My irrigation smells of sulfur and is high in dissolved solids. It has a PH of at least 7. I water 1hour/zone, every day except Wed and Sunday. Whatever is happening is the correct way for this plant to thrive. When should I separate it????????

Positive kafirlily On Jul 4, 2012, kafirlily from Lillian, AL (Zone 9a) wrote:

A friend shared these with me a year or so ago. My plants were really pretty and were growing in full sun with my other tropicals. I dug these up and put them in a pot when we moved this spring. They were still dormant when I dug them. To my complete surprise they bloomed even before the leaves emerged. I have since learned that they prefer some shade. They are now over 3 ft tall and really nice plants. They are still in pots, but I think I may plant them under the banana plants. It should make a nice grouping, and the bananas should give them enough shade.

Neutral gboblow On Nov 7, 2011, gboblow from Franklinton, LA wrote:

I bought one at my local Ace Hardware, from whom I have had very favorable success so far with previous plants. This plant did well for about 1 month, then began to brown at the edges. It received late afternoon direct sun and was watered every other day. I tried moving it several times, since it remained in the pot, however the browning continued. Lately I have noticed several new leaves, but they likewise began to brown at the edges. Any suggestions? Thanks, George

Positive Attyskunk On Aug 15, 2011, Attyskunk from Alachua, FL wrote:

Love this plant! A neighbor had me remove 1 ft. tall specimens from her shaded bed a couple of years ago. I planted where they get 4-5 hrs. full sun & they get 3 ft. tall. Not much "baby-sitting." Propagates well. Now, I'm thinning & sharing with others in the community. Dies back in winter. Roars back in late spring.

Neutral MiniPonyFarmer On Oct 31, 2008, MiniPonyFarmer from Gilmer, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I grew these this year in full blazing all day sun and they did well. The edges of the abundant foliage burned a very small amount but other than this, they did grow to about 5 feet tall and multiplied rampantly. They were very slow to emerge, but once they started they grew quickly. Last year, I had cannas and an overwhelming amount of leafrollers. These hidden ginger plants do not seem affected by leafrollers like the cannas were. I am moving them to pots because they grew taller than expected and because they multiplied exponentially in a very short amount of time. Mine never did bloom, so I'm rating them a neutral and hoping that in the pots, in partial shade, they will bloom next year.

Neutral Krockyrat On May 24, 2005, Krockyrat from Archer, FL wrote:

It grows here in Gainesville,Fl in semi-shade under Oak trees.Never have to do anything special for it and it comes back year after year.Absolutely,positively an eye catcher!

Positive Khyssa On Jul 28, 2004, Khyssa from Inverness, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Last fall I planted 4 curcuma gingers after seeing them in a nursery and not being able to pass them up. The plants have varigated leaves that remind me of hostas in their coloring. They died down to the ground during the winter and were somewhat late in sprouting this spring. I was beginning to think they'd died by the time they finally started to grow. Now the plants are about 4 feet tall and each plant has at least doubled the number of stalks it has now compared to when I bought them. Where I live in central Florida the plants bloom starting in mid-summer. The flower bed I planted my curcuma gingers in also contains common canna, wandering jew, caladiums, a variety of ferns, spiral ginger, and a large old wash tub full of spider plants and is shaded by a medium sized sweet gum tree. The overall effect is amazing, although the gingers are most eye catching of the plants!

Positive agedog1 On Jul 1, 2004, agedog1 from Vero Beach, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Here in Vero Beach, FL "Hidden Ginger" purchased at Lowe's are in bloom. Also I purchased another variety at Lowe's which was designated as a "Hidden Lily" which is just beginning to flower. I will take pictures of the "Hidden Lily" and post here as it looks different from the other pictures. Both are absolutely beautiful the flower of the "Hidden Ginger" in comparison to the "Hidden Lily" are small. The "Hidden Lily" flower is absolutely enormous. Quite pleased with both plants

Positive zzazzq On May 16, 2004, zzazzq from Madison, MS wrote:

This is a great plant for zone8 and warmer. It is about the last thing to emerge (May) here in MS. Both the species and the variegated 'Emperor' do well...the species flower is more spectacular. It seems to prefer part shade/part sun..those in deep shade don't seem as vigorous. It is very pest-free. It is spectacular massed and is a great foliage plant. Highly recommended, if you can find it.

Positive patp On Jul 10, 2003, patp from Summerville, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is a lovely plant for a shaded setting. From a distance it looks like a small banana tree, but the prominent diagonal striations on the leaves sets it apart. The bloom is spectacular!


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

Gadsden, Alabama
Lillian, Alabama
Loxley, Alabama
Alachua, Florida
Archer, Florida
Bartow, Florida
Bradenton, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Dade City, Florida (2 reports)
Dunnellon, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Mc Coy, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Inverness, Florida
Istachatta, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
Mulberry, Florida
Naples, Florida
Niceville, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida
Pensacola, Florida (2 reports)
Port Charlotte, Florida
Sanford, Florida
Sarasota, Florida (3 reports)
Shalimar, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Tampa, Florida (2 reports)
Vero Beach, Florida
Ashburn, Georgia
Cordele, Georgia
Hilo, Hawaii
Honomu, Hawaii
Baton Rouge, Louisiana (2 reports)
Bossier City, Louisiana
Gonzales, Louisiana
Independence, Louisiana
Kenner, Louisiana
Mandeville, Louisiana
Many, Louisiana
New Iberia, Louisiana
Scott, Louisiana
Shreveport, Louisiana
Sulphur, Louisiana
Bay Springs, Mississippi
Madison, Mississippi
Poplarville, Mississippi
Raymond, Mississippi
Saucier, Mississippi
Waynesboro, Mississippi
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Kure Beach, North Carolina
Beaufort, South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
Irmo, South Carolina
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina
Alvin, Texas
Austin, Texas
Baytown, Texas
Belton, Texas
Conroe, Texas
Katy, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas
Spring, Texas (2 reports)
Tomball, Texas
Norfolk, Virginia
Springfield, Virginia

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