Costus Species, Indian Head Ginger, Red Button Ginger, Scarlet Spiral Flag

Costus woodsonii

Family: Costaceae
Genus: Costus (KOS-tus) (Info)
Species: woodsonii (wood-SON-ee-eye) (Info)


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Gold (yellow-orange)

Pale Yellow

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Blooms all year

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

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:

Apopka, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Bokeelia, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Deland, Florida

Delray Beach, Florida

Deltona, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Myers, Florida

Holiday, Florida

Inverness, Florida(2 reports)

Jacksonville, Florida(2 reports)

Lakeland, Florida

Loxahatchee, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Melbourne Beach, Florida

Miami Beach, Florida

Naples, Florida(2 reports)

Orlando, Florida

Palm Coast, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Riverview, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Ruskin, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sanford, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Summerland Key, Florida(2 reports)

West Palm Beach, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 26, 2020, Taronji from Jacksonville, FL wrote:

Hi i am diabetic and also a herbalist and im looking for this plant. I live in Jacksonville, Fl. Can someone help me to find it? Thank You.


On May 14, 2019, donaltman3 from Valdosta, GA wrote:

I am growing this in Valdosta, GA with great success. Very pretty low maintenance plant. Love it !


On Mar 17, 2016, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I've had this plant in my garden for four years now. It is easy to propagate from cuttings. The flowers produce sweet nectar and are a nice treat when out in the garden. They can take pretty good sun, but leaves will burn if hot middle of the day sun. They will suffer damage if temperatures go below 40 for too long and dipping below freezing will totally turn them brown to the ground. Mine have always come back, even from hard freezes, but take awhile to start flowering again.


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

NOT REALLY HARDY TO FROST AND NEAR FREEZING TEMPERATURES. Had a relatively cold winter, with 4 snow spells and near freezing temperatures, but not true frost. I left the pot outdoors, thinking it was hardy, but it wasn't. The rhizomes rot.


On Aug 24, 2008, SierraTigerLily from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

The tips of the buttons produce honey-like ginger nectar "straw" flowers which little kids loves to suck on. They're my favorite snack when I'm weeding.


On Oct 15, 2006, zoosey from Orlando, FL wrote:

One of my absolute favorite plants! Probably the most dependable in my collection. I have it in a bed with birds of paradise and kimberly queen fern. The fern is well blended in with the lower portion of the plant and hardly noticeable until late fall when the ginger dies back, when the fern is very much appreciated. Grows back fuller and fuller each year and gets along greatly with the dense fern. The bed is in full sun and appreciates lots and lots of water! Its stiff upright stems prevent it from turning the patio into an obstacle course, unlike the philodendron and ruellia, which have proven to be some of my better mistakes.


On Jul 9, 2006, gingersrus from Tallahassee, FL wrote:

This is a great species for the garden because it does not get too tall and it has a wide tolerance for sun or part shade and will tolerate salt better than most Costus. It is native on the Carribean side of Costa Rica and Panama where it grows right up to the edge of the beach in sunny conditions.

Dave Skinner


On Aug 29, 2004, ottojones from Orlando, FL wrote:

Downtown Orlando, FL
This is a very good plant for a large container or to the front of a garden bed. Rapid growth begins with warming in early Spring and continues well into Fall. A large cluster with several plants in various stages of flowering adds dramatic accent. Very easily propogated from rhizome division and from stem cuttings and it also produces offsets below the mature bract.


On Sep 4, 2003, kamia from Athens, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

I find bees like to "hang out" on the plants shiny/waxy feeling cones yet I never do see any nests which is not a big deal unless you are allergic. Plant is cold hard to 30F/roots are cold hardy to 20F.

Moderately drought-tolerant with a medium salt tolerance. A very nice plant that I always get compliments on. Plant offers continuous blooms in tropical weather.