Alpinia purpurata

Source: Own work | CC BY 4.0

Alpinia purpurata
Botanic Garden Meise

Alpinia purpurata is called red ginger although the color of the bracts varies from red to pink and almost white.

It is not a hardy plant and can only be cultivated in tropical or subtropical gardens. Elsewhere it can grow as a houseplant or in a warm greenhouse.

In the tropics and subtropics it is an invasive plants that quickly spreads through rhizomes and seeds.

Pretty easy to grow, the substrate should always be moist.

After a few years it starts to flower. After that, it will flower all year round but more during summer.


Alpinia purpurata is an herb with green shoots of 1-5 m high.

The leaves are oblong, 30-80 cm long, 10-22 cm wide, glabrous, pointed at the top.

Inflorescences appear terminally on green shoots, branched, cylindrical, 15-30 cm long. The primary bracts are usually red, sometimes pink or white, oval or wide obovate, 2.5 -3 cm long when in bloom and elongate up to 4-6 cm long when fruiting, bracteoles are reddish, tubular, 6-10 mm long. The flowers are tubular, 2-2.7 mm long, with reddish calyx, 1.7-2.7 cm long, hairless,

Flowering takes place throughout the year but is more abundant in summer.

Fruits are almost spherical capsules, 2-3 cm in diameter. The seeds are about 3 mm long, curved.


Ornamental, cut flowers

Alpinia purpurata 'Rosea'

Source: Own work | CC BY 4.0

Alpinia purpurata ‘Rosea’
Botanic Garden Meise


Common names:

Alpinia, ginger lily, jungle king, opuhi, ostrich plume, pink cone ginger, red ginger, teuila, tevula, thevunga


Alpinia grandis, Alpinia purpurata var. albobracteata, Alpinia purpurata var. anomala, Alpinia purpurata var. grandis, Guillainia novo-ebudica, Guillainia purpurata, Languas purpurata


Alpinia: in honor of Prospero Alpino, an Italian physician and botanist of the 16th century
Purpurata: from the Latin purpurātus (dressed in purple)


Malaysia (Papua New Guinea) and the Southwestern Pacific (New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu).

Naturalized and widely cultivated around the tropics.


Upset moist forest, old gardens, roadsides and along streams, up to 500 m


USDA zone 10-11, 5 °C

Alpinia purpurata 'Rosea'

Source: Own work | CC BY 4.0

Alpinia purpurata ‘Rosea’
Botanic Garden Meise



Nutritious, moist and well drained


Sun, light, partial shade. Pink cultivars prefer light and partial shade, full sun burns the leaves.


Keep the substrate


Monthly fertilizer during the growing season. Fertilizer with high nitrogen content promotes flowering.


Keep the temperature above 15 °C. Below 10 °C growth slows down and abnormal bloom occurs. When regularly more than 20 °C, inflorescences will flower in 4-5 months.


Remove dead leaves and cut faded flower heads just above the ground.


Aerial shoots, division of the rhizome, seed

Aerial shoots:

The plant produces air shoots in the axils of the bracts. These may hang the inflorescence down with their weight.

To propagate the plant with air shoots, bend the inflorescence into a pot with soil. After a few weeks the roots appear and you can separate the shoot from the mother plant.

You can also remove the aerial shoot from the parent plant, plant it in vermiculite plant and transplant it in soil after rooting .

Plants propagated by air shoots bloom after about 2 years.

Division of the rhizome:

Some cultivars do not develop air shoots and must be propagated by division of the rhizome. Divide the rhizomatous mat in small groups of 1-4 stalks. If the roots are not well developed on the horizontal rhizome to be cut off, the upright stem should be cut down to reduce water loss. Dust the individual pieces with a fungicide and plant them in vermiculite 5 cm deep. Keep them in a warm place, but not in full sun.

Plants propagated by division of the rhizome bloom within a year.

Sowing instructions:

Seeds are rarely produced.

  • plant seeds shallow into a moist, slightly acidic, well drained organic substrate
  • germination time: 2-3 weeks
  • seedlings are transplanted into larger pots as soon as they are large enough to handle
  • with heavy fertilization, some plants will begin to bloom in 2-3 years