The bushy plant Alpinia (Alpinia) is directly related to the family Zingiberaceae. It is native to subtropical and tropical regions of Southeast Asia.
This genus was named after the Italian Prosper Alpino, who is a rather famous traveler and medicine man.
This plant is a perennial. It has brown-red, tuberous rhizomes that have a pungent and strong odor.
A powerful, foliated stem grows from each branching of the rhizome. Because of this, if the alpinia develops well, it has about 40 stems. The double-rowed, lanceolate leaves girdle the shoot rather tightly.
The apical inflorescences are cystic, spike or panicle-shaped, and they bear large-sized flowers. The flowers may be white, red or yellow.
Inflorescences may hang down or point vertically upward (depending on the species). The fruit is in the form of a capsule. If the leaf blade is crushed or torn, you can smell it. There are species of Alpinia, the rhizomes of which are used in Oriental medicine. And such a rhizome is also used as a spice.
Home care for alpinia
He loves light. Should choose a location with bright but sure to have diffused light. Shading from direct sunlight is required in summer. In winter, the plant needs extra light.
In spring and summer, the Alpinia grows normally at a temperature of 23 to 25 degrees.
However, in winter time, the room should not be too cool (at least 15-17 degrees).
High humidity is necessary, so the foliage should be moistened systematically from a sprayer.
How to water
In spring and summer, the substrate in the pot should always be slightly moist (not wet). With the onset of fall, watering should be gradually reduced. In winter, water only after the top layer of substrate has dried to a depth of 2-3 centimeters.
Feeding is done in spring and autumn once every 2 weeks. Fertilizer for flowering houseplants is used.
Potting is done in the springtime. Young plants should be transplanted once a year and adults when necessary (if the roots no longer fit in the pot, for example). To prepare the mixture you should combine humus, leaf soil, sand and peat in the ratio 2:2:1:2.
You can also propagate the seeds by dividing the rhizome.
Rhizome division should be done in the spring time together with transplanting. Note that each division should have 1 or 2 buds. It is recommended to cover the cut places with crushed charcoal. Plant the seedlings in wide, low containers.
Stems usually emerge and grow quite quickly.
Sow the seeds in January. The optimum temperature is 22 degrees. Timely watering, protection from draughts, and systematic ventilation are necessary.
Diseases and pests
It is highly resistant to pests.
Sickens very rarely if properly cared for.
Alpinia medicinarum (Alpinia officinarum Hance)
This rather large plant is a perennial. Its brownish-red, strongly branched rhizome can be up to 2 centimeters thick. Several shoots grow from the rhizome. The alternately arranged, sessile leaves are linear in shape and grow to 30 centimeters long.
A short apical spike-like inflorescence bears flowers. The color of the petal lip is white and it has reddish stripes on its surface. The fruit is a capsule.
Alpinia sanderae (Alpinia sanderae)
This compact plant is a perennial. Its height usually does not exceed 60 centimeters.
The stems are strongly foliated. The sessile green leaflets can be up to 20 centimeters long. They are linear in shape and have whitish oblique stripes on their surface. The apical panicle-like inflorescence consists of crimson-colored flowers.
Alpinia zerumbet (Alpinia zerumbet)
This rather large plant is a perennial.
It can reach a height of 300 centimeters. The lobed leaf plates are narrow at the base and widen toward the end. The drooping, brush-like inflorescences that reach 30 centimeters in length consist of whitish-yellow flowers.
There are several varieties with mottled foliage:
- "Variegata Chinese Beauty" - there is a marbled pattern of dark and pale green color shades on the leaf-plates.
- "Variegata" - The leafplates are very wide and have yellowish stripes on their surface in different directions and widths.
- "Variegata Dwarf" - This small plant is about 30 centimeters high. The flowers are colored white and the leaves are greenish yellow. This variety is quite compact and is most convenient to grow at home.
Alpinia purpurata (Alpinia purpurata)
This perennial reaches 200 centimeters in height. The bracts are red and the flowers are white.
Alpinia galanga (Alpinia galanga)
This perennial has a smooth rhizome of nearly cylindrical shape, with a diameter of 2 centimeters. The stems can reach 150 centimeters in height. Whole-edged lanceolate leaflets are about 30 centimeters long. The dense, cone-shaped, tassel-shaped inflorescence bears white flowers.
Alpinia vittata (Alpinia vittata)
This plant is a perennial.
On the surface of the elongated leaf plates are bands of cream or white. The florets are colored pale green and the bracts are pink.