Indian Ginger, Snap Ginger

Alpinia calcarata

Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Alpinia (al-PIN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: calcarata (kal-ka-RAY-tuh) (Info)
Synonym:Languas calcarata
Synonym:Alpinia cernu
View this plant in a garden


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 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

Sun to Partial Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

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


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

Deltona, Florida

Naples, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Mont Belvieu, Texas

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 24, 2015, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

My father gave me one small plant of this over a decade ago, which has not turned into a nice sized patch of ginger, yet not invasive. My plants are at the low end of the garden, they only get rain water, not in the irrigation zones. Morning sun and then shaded the rest of the day makes them happy and healthy. Blooms sporadically from May through Sept, with heaviest blooms in June and July. I've never noticed hummers or butterflies or even bees around them, they don't have a scent either, but sure are beautiful flowers. They have frozen completely to the ground when we had many nights below freezing some years, but always come back just fine. The past two winters they have stayed evergreen.


On Dec 28, 2007, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant. Indian ginger, snap ginger (Alpinia calcarata) is a native plant of India and is also known as cardamon ginger and false cardamon. Indian ginger appears to grow well in the Hawaiian Islands. It grows between 5 and 6 feet tall. The 2 inch wide, 12 inch long leaves are lighter on the undersides. The blooms, which somewhat resemble snapdragon blooms and appear on 4 inch racemes, are white with yellow and reddish-maroon variegation. Indian Ginger blooms on second year growth. If temperatures stay above the mid-twenties, it stays evergreen throughout the winter and will bloom in the spring. In very hot regions, Indian ginger prefers morning sun and afternoon shade. Although the seeds do not look like true cardamon, the leaves can be used to add flavour when ste... read more