Learn about 18 Types of Ginger Plants and their uses. These ginger family plants can be grown for ornamental and culinary purposes, both in pots and gardens.
Apart from common ginger, there are other species that are grown not just for taste but for their appearance as well. Here’re some of them–You can select your favorite ones from this list of types of ginger plants and grow them for edible rhizomes or exotic flowers. Also, there are varieties like shell ginger that become a great foliage plant.
Types of Ginger Plants
1. Common Ginger
Botanical Name: Zingiber Officinale
Other Names: True ginger, Jengibre, Jenjibre dulce, Ginger, Adrak, and Kion
Common ginger is a world-famous spice or herb, known for its aromatic and pungent rhizomes. It has significant medicinal and culinary uses and needs no introduction.
- Ginger thrives best in filtered sunlight.
- You can grow it in pots as well. Check out our tutorial for more details.
2. Beehive Ginger
Botanical Name: Zingiber spectabile
Other Names: Ginger Wort, Malaysian Ginger
Beehive Ginger is famous as an ornamental plant due to its unique skep-beehive like yellow inflorescences that become red once mature. All parts have a strong gingery fragrance, leaves and rhizomes are ingredients in making local dishes and appetizers.
- Avoid placing it in full sun, as direct sunlight can burn this plant.
- It grows best in a humid climate.
3. Bitter Ginger
Botanical Name: Zingiber zerumbet
Other Names: Pinecone Ginger, Itter Ginger, Broad-leaved Ginger, Martinique Ginger, Pinecone Lily, Lempoyang, and Wild ginger
Also known as shampoo ginger, it tastes bitter as compared to the common ginger and added in food flavoring and appetizers. It’s used primarily in herbal medicines and making shampoos.
- Feed the plant with 8-4-6 fertilizer every three months.
- Grow it in bright and filtered light in warm soil.
4. Myoga Ginger
Botanical Name: Zingiber mioga
Other Name: Japanese Ginger
In Japan, Myoga Ginger’s flowers and young shoots are used as a tasty garnish on various food. It has a zesty and spicy flavor with a strong, pungent aroma. Myoga also finds many uses in Korean cuisines.
- It is better to grow it in partial shade.
- It thrives in moist soil.
Other Types of Ginger Plants
5. Crepe Ginger
Botanical Name: Cheilocostus speciosus
Other Names: Crape ginger, Malay ginger, and Cane reed
Known for its crepe-paper like showy white flowers that emerge from reddish-burgundy spiraled inflorescences. Having an acrid and pungent taste, this plant grows up to 10 feet tall. Its flowers and buds are also edible.
- It grows under the canopy of trees.
- Warm and humid climates are best for its growth.
6. Hidden Ginger
Botanical Name: Curcuma petiolata
Other Names: Queen Lily, Siam Tulip, Hidden Lily
Hidden Ginger is a Malaysian native. It has a spicy scent and a bitter taste. It produces beautiful flowers of bright purple, pink, or orange colors. The rhizomes are used for medicinal purposes.
- This 2-3 feet tall plant becomes an excellent container specimen.
- Growing it is similar to canna lilies.
7. Butterfly Lily Ginger
Botanical Name: Hedychium coronarium
Other Name: White Ginger, Flor De Mariposa, Mariposa Blanca, Dolan Champa
Thanks to its scented flowers that look like fluttering butterflies, it gets its name–Butterfly Lily Ginger. Its spicy edible roots are the main ingredient in flavoring soups, and the essential oil is beneficial in treating fever. Learn about more medicinal plants here.
- The national flower of Cuba is very invasive in optimum growing conditions.
- It’s better to grow it in pots.
8. Shell Ginger
Botanical Name: Alpinia zerumbet
Other Name: Variegated Ginger, Sannin, Getto plant
Shell ginger has ovate leaves with green stripes that make it an ornamental plant. It blooms clusters of pink buds, emitting luscious aroma. With clove-like flavor, it’s edible leaves are the primary agents in noodles and teas in Okinawan cuisines, rhizomes are used for medicinal purpose.
- While it can grow up to 8-10 feet tall, it doesn’t exceed above 3-4 feet in pots.
- It can be a beautiful houseplant.
9. Dancing Ladies Ginger
Botanical Name: Globba winitii
Other Name: White Dragon Flower
This showy ginger family plant is rare to find. It has unique flowers that emit sweet honeysuckle like fragrance and resembles dancing ladies when they move in the wind.
- It can be grown in USDA zones 8-11.
- A spot that receives part sun is best. You can also grow it in the shade.
10. Yellow Ginger
Botanical Name: Hedychium flavescens
Other Name: Cream Garland-Lily, Yellow Ginger Lily, Wild Ginger
Growing up to 5-6 feet tall, the fleshy rhizomes of yellow ginger are edible but not as flavorful as common ginger. Gardeners usually grow it for its highly fragrant flowers. It also has uses in herbal medicines.
- Grow it in well-drained and moderately fertile soil.
- It’s a shade-tolerant plant.
11. Red Ginger
Botanical Name: Alpinia purpurata
Other Names: Ostrich Plumes, Pink Cone Ginger, Jungle king, Teuila Flower, and Tahitian ginger
Rhizomes and stalks of this plant have a strong spicy scent. But what it’s famous for is the bright red or pink bracts that look stunning.
- The national flower of Samoa prefers warm and moist soil to thrive.
- Grow it under diffused light, avoiding full sun.
12. Torch Ginger
Botanical Name: Etlingera elatior
Other Names: Wild ginger, Combrang, Bunga Kantan, Philippine waxflower, and Red ginger lily, Indonesian Tall Ginger, Boca De Dragón, Rose De Porcelaine
This tropical plant can be up to 15 feet tall and looks glorious with its big and vibrant flowers that appear in red, pink, or orange color. The whole plant is edible, and fruits, seed pods, seeds, flowers stems are eaten in many ASEAN countries. Flower buds have a piquant taste and used in traditional Indonesian and Thai dishes.
- You can also grow it in a large pot.
- Protect it from intense afternoon sunlight.
13. Mango Ginger
Botanical Name: Curcuma amada
Other Names: Mavina Shunti, आम्बे हळद
Mango ginger is something between turmeric and ginger. The ginger-like rhizomes have a fragrant, spicy taste like common ginger with a hint of raw mango. It primarily used in Indian cooking in preparing pickles, chutneys, and soups.
- Growing it is similar to common ginger.
- In cold climates, you can grow it in warmer months.
14. Kahili Ginger
Botanical Name: Hedychium gardnerianum
Other Name: Fragrant Ginger Lily, Kahila Garland-Lily
This plant is native to Himalayan regions and grown primarily for the ornamental purpose–Large dramatic foliage and showy, fragrant flowers make it a truly exotic tropical plant. However, it does not have many edible usages.
- It can be up to 8 feet tall. In containers, it doesn’t exceed above 3-4 feet.
- You can grow it indoors, as well.
15. Thai Ginger
Botanical Name: Alpinia galanga
Other Names: Thai Ginseng Ginger, Krachai Dum Ginger, Lengkuas, Blue Ginger, and Greater Galangal
Rhizomes of Thai Ginger have a pungent aroma with a flavor of pine needles and black pepper. Its rhizomes, flowers, and shoots have extensive uses in Thai curry, chili paste, and pickles.
- Unlike other types of ginger plants, galangal can tolerate more sun and grows best in partial sunlight.
- Grow it in rich and moist soil.
16. Pineapple Ginger
Botanical Name: Tapeinochilos ananassae
Other Names: Indonesian Wax Ginger, Lipstick Ginger
Pineapple ginger has inconspicuous orange-yellow flowers and deep red bracts that grow on long cone-shaped inflorescences that resemble pineapples. It’s grown for ornamental purposes and used popularly in tropical cut flower arrangements.
- It grows well in filtered sunlight.
- You can also place it indoors in a spot that receives several hours of morning sunlight.
17. Resurrection Lily
Botanical Name: Kaempferia rotunda
Other Names: Peacock Ginger, Variegated Ginger Lily, Indian Crocus, Round-Rooted Galangal
It’s grown for dramatic foliage and lily-like flowers that emerge with sweet fragrance during fall and summer. The tubers have a not-so-pleasant spicy flavor and have similar uses like ginger. Young leaves are edible too.
- It thrives well in moist soil.
- Grow the plant in semi-shade.
Botanical Name: Curcuma longa
Other Names: White Turmeric, Turmeric Ginger
The must-have spice in Indian curries is not just used for food coloring–It’s a superfood. The roots of this ginger family plant have a peppery flavor with a slight hint of lemon.
- You can easily grow several plants together in a medium-sized pot.
- Everything about growing turmeric is here.