By Jennifer Poindexter
The shampoo ginger lily plant (zingiber zerumbet) is a unique flowering option to grow around your home. If you’re intrigued by the beautiful cone-shaped blooms that are filled with rich colors, you’ve come to the right place.
I’m going to share with you how you can grow, plant, care for, and protect this plant. Understanding what a plant needs before growing it is vital. Let’s discuss what you should know about how to grow shampoo ginger lily:
Growing Conditions for Shampoo Ginger Lily
The shampoo ginger lily plant goes by many names. It’s commonly referred to as bull’s horn, wild ginger, pinecone lily, or bitter ginger.
This plant is grown for both medicinal and ornamental purposes. However, it gets its name because when squeezed a liquid comes out of the flower.
This liquid is used as a natural shampoo or conditioner for the hair. The liquid may be used for culinary purposes as well.
Shampoo ginger lily is a perennial in planting zones eight through ten. This plant naturally grows in warmer climates, so it prefers temperatures between 70- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit.
However, the temperature must stay above freezing or the plant won’t survive. You may grow the shampoo ginger lily in the ground or in a container.
Growing the plant in a container makes it possible to grow it outside of the hardiness zones. Expect the lily to reach heights between four and seven feet tall.
Select a growing location or container which can support a plant of this size. Also, ensure the growing area provides full to partial sunlight.
If you’re growing the plant in a container in a cooler climate, it’s best to stick with a location with full sunlight.
Finally, the shampoo ginger lily isn’t selective about soil type as long as it drains properly. It’s also important to amend the soil prior to planting.
By providing these specifications, your shampoo ginger lily should have everything it needs to start its growing cycle on the right terms.
How to Plant Shampoo Ginger Lily
There are a variety of ways to propagate the shampoo ginger lily but the most effective way is to propagate via rhizome.
You can purchase rhizomes to get started. Once established, you can harvest more rhizomes after the original plants are around a year old.
When harvesting rhizomes, only do so in the late winter or early spring while the plants are still dormant.
You may also do this when you’re repotting a shampoo ginger lily which is grown in a container. Repotting container plants and harvesting rhizomes is also done during times of dormancy.
Before propagating rhizomes, ensure you’re wearing gloves to protect your hands. Only harvest the rhizomes of a plant that proved productive in the growing season.
From there, use a sharp knife to begin cutting the rhizomes into pieces. Ensure each piece has a minimum of three buds on it.
Once the rhizomes are harvested, place them in a dry location for a few days to allow the cut portions to scab over.
After the cuts have healed, soak the rhizomes in lukewarm water overnight. The next day, plant the rhizomes in a five-gallon bucket that’s filled with well-draining soil that’s been amended.
Ensure the buds are facing up when planting the rhizomes. Store the pot inside your home or in a heated greenhouse where the plants can receive indirect sunlight.
If you live in a colder climate, select a location with full sunlight. Water the soil consistently. If you notice the top layer of the soil is drying out, it’s time to apply more water.
You should fertilize the rhizomes twice each week by adding a layer of compost to the container. This will provide a boost of nutrients necessary to encourage new plants to form.
Continue this care until the new rhizomes sprout. Once all threat of frost is over, transplant the newly sprouted rhizomes into containers, harden them off, and move them outdoors for the growing season.
If you live in a hardiness zone for the shampoo ginger lily, you may opt to transplant the newly sprouted rhizomes into a permanent outdoor growing location once hardened off.
You now have a method to plant and grow shampoo ginger lily. It’s time to discuss what to do with the plants once they’re in their permanent growing location.
Caring for Shampoo Ginger Lily
The shampoo ginger lily plant doesn’t require a lot of extra care outside of what plants normally need. When you understand how to properly water, fertilize, and protect this plant, you should know what you need to keep the shampoo ginger lily healthy and thriving.
As you water this plant, it’s best to practice the deep watering method. This means that you’ll water the plant for longer periods of time, fewer days of the week.
Not only does this help keep the soil consistently damp, but it also encourages a deeper root system. In turn, this generally equates to a healthier plant.
Be sure to check the soil regularly by inserting your finger into the dirt next to the plant. When it’s dry to your first knuckle, add more water. You never want the soil to be completely dry or overly saturated.
It’s important to mention, you only water the plant during the growing season. When the shampoo ginger lily is dormant, don’t water it. The soil should be left in a dry state.
The next thing you must do to care for this plant is fertilize it. Use an all-purpose fertilizer over the growing season once per month. You should also dilute the fertilizer by half.
At the end of the growing season, add fertilizer higher in phosphorus as this will encourage healthy rhizomes. This is important since you’ll be nearing the time of harvesting rhizomes for new plants.
The last things you must do are protect the plant from frost and prune when necessary. You should only prune when you see older portions of the plant that aren’t producing well, dead portions of the plant, or diseased areas.
When cooler weather starts approaching, mind your plants. If they’re growing in a container, once the temperatures dip below 55-degrees Fahrenheit, they should be moved indoors.
For those plants in the ground, add mulch around the roots to provide insulation. After the first frost, cut the leaves back.
By paying a little extra attention to your shampoo ginger lily plant, you should be able to keep it beautiful throughout the growing season.
Garden Pests and Diseases Which Might Impact Shampoo Ginger Lily
The last thing we must discuss when growing shampoo ginger lily is how to protect it from pests and diseases.
Thankfully, these plants aren’t prone to many issues. The most common disease the plant faces is root rot.
This generally comes about when plants are grown in less than ideal conditions. By ensuring the plant is in well-draining soil and where it receives ample sunlight, you shouldn’t have to worry about this.
However, if you leave your plant in an oversaturated state, root rot can happen. If it does, start by digging the plant up and leaving it out in the sun to allow the roots time to dry and breathe.
You should also remove any damaged portions of the plant. This includes trimming and removing damaged roots.
Then find a place to grow the plant that’s better suited for its needs. Once you’ve found a good location, transplant your shampoo ginger lily.
Not all plants survive root rot even after transplant, but do provide excellent care to the plant to encourage recovery.
Ensure you treat the plant at the first inkling of a problem to avoid having a larger infestation on your hands.
These are the most common issues a shampoo ginger lily plant faces. Keep a watchful eye, treat at the first sign of an issue, and your plants should be able to bounce back even if they do run into a few problems.
You’re now in the loop on how to grow, care for, and protect a shampoo ginger lily. This is a beautiful plant that should definitely catch the attention of onlookers.
If you’re looking to add a unique touch to your growing area, a shampoo ginger lily plant should do the trick.