Etlingera elatior

Source: Own work

Etlingera elatior or Torch Ginger belongs to the Zingiberaceae and is native of Malaysia.

The stalks and leaves are like those of regular ginger.

Not hardy but very easy to grow.


The plant may grow up to 4-5 m height. Leaves and flowers appear on separate stalks that emerge from the tuber. The leaves measure about 80 cm long and 18 cm wide.

The conical inflorescence is spectacular: red to pink, 25 cm diameter. It appears on 1,5 m long stalks. The flowers emerge between the bracts and are red with yellow margin. The bracts are tough and shiny and so perfect the flower looks artificial. Seeds are numerous. The flowers attract butterflies, bees and birds.

The flower buds, bracts and seeds are used in Asian cuisine.

Etlingera elatior Botanic Garden Meise

Source: Own work

Etlingera elatior
Botanic Garden Meise


Ornamental, cut flower, culinary


Common names:

Ginger Bud, Indonesian Tall Ginger, Javanese Aromatic Ginger, Kantan, Nicola Flower Buds, Philippine Wax flower, Pink Ginger Bud, Porcelain Rose, Torch Ginger, Torch Ginger Flower Buds, Torch-Ginger


Achasma yunnanensis, Alpinia elatior, Alpinia speciosa, Elettaria speciosa, Etlingera yunnanensis, Nicolaia elatior, Nicolaia imperialis, Nicolaia speciosa, Phaeomeria magnifica, Phaeomeria speciosa


Etlingera: in honor of the German botanist Andreas Ernst Etlinger (1730-1790)
Elatior: from the Latin elatus (elevated, high)


China, Yunnan


Especially in culture, naturalized in wet soils


USDA zone 9-11, -5 °C

Etlingera elatior

Source: Own work

Etlingera elatior
Botanic Garden Meise



Nutritious, moist and well drained


Sun, light


Water twice a day, never let the substrate dry out


Fertilize monthly during growing season


Keep temperature above 10 °C. Is actually more suited for warm greenhouse.


Seed, division of the tuber in spring

Sowing instructions:

  • soak the seeds overnight in water
  • sow at 2 cm depth in a nutritious substrate
  • moisten
  • place the pot in a plastic container and close
  • 25-30 °C
  • when the seedlings are about 5 cm high, remove the undersized ones
  • germination: 3-4 weeks