Etlingera Species, Torch Ginger, Wax Flower

Etlingera elatior

Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Etlingera (et-LING-er-a) (Info)
Species: elatior (ee-LAY-tee-or) (Info)
Synonym:Nicolaia elatior
Synonym:Phaeomeria magnifica



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:



Gold (yellow-orange)

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

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

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

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

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Homestead, Florida

Loxahatchee, Florida

Miami, Florida(2 reports)

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Venus, Florida

Hoschton, Georgia

Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii

Honomu, Hawaii

Kailua, Hawaii

Kaneohe Station, Hawaii

Keaau, Hawaii

Kihei, Hawaii


Maunawili, Hawaii

Orchidlands Estates, Hawaii

New Orleans, Louisiana

Humble, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 8, 2015, FlowerWen from Kailua, HI wrote:

In Hawaii, torch ginger grows in the wet areas next to mountains, places like Nuuanu, Maunawili, Haiku Valley, Manoa. Red and pink torch ginger are about 12 - 15 feet tall for the leaves, and flowers are between 4 - 8 feet tall. They have strong corms and shoots which will disturb walls and pavers. That said, they are so gorgeous! The blooms last a week or two depending on how many fruit flies you can tolerate.


On Oct 6, 2014, eliasastro from Athens,
Greece (Zone 10a) wrote:

IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE THE TROPICS, PLEASE AVOID GROWING THIS PLANT. IT WILL NEVER BLOOM FOR YOU AND WILL SUFFER. IT IS A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY. It is ULTRA TROPICAL and needs continuous heat and humidity.Also, it is a bad potted plant and will not flower indoors. Only warm greenhouse conditions can help, but it must be sown in the ground and gets extremely large. I may live in zone 10a, but my climate is far from tropical as winters are cool and long, so indoor growing is the only possibility, but still my experience was very sad.


On May 24, 2009, weke from Mililani, HI wrote:

have white torch in bud


On Nov 7, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

I love using torch gingers in flower arrangements mixed with other plants.....they are quite expectacular!


On Apr 7, 2004, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

An imponent ginger, the stem can grow pretty tall, around 2 meters, growing in dense thickets based on its rhyzome. The inflorescence comes from the ground, bearing small scarlet flowers on the top protected by showy pink to red bracts, the "torch".

The torch is great for cuttings, and when still attached to the plant, it atracts lots of bees.. This plant likes some shade and consistently moist, organic soils.


On May 18, 2002, xeen from S,
Singapore wrote:

Plant strives in rich loamy/clay soils that are not too wet. Would benefit from mulch of dried leaves to maintain a cool constant temperate in hot summers. Must not be allowed to dry out or stems will die off.

Can be invasive in the right conditions (80F above with 80-90RH).

When propagating, it is better to get a clump rather than 1 single rhizome/stalk. The chances are much higher.