Last Updated: September 9, 2023

This past spring, one of my many overhaul projects included a refresh of the northernmost edge of the tropical garden where it transitions to the path that takes you down to the citrus grove and lower yard.

Aside from adding some color to the wood path, I also moved a bunch of plants that weren’t doing particularly well in other areas into the garden. One of them is a Kahili ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum) that I had on the east side of the house for years but never did much — most likely because it was a tropical plant living without sun on a dry, cold hill.

Kahili is a larger ginger, still tasty, but used more often as a potted ornamental in hotel lobbies, casino atriums and other places where they want to convey a tropical feel. It has big leaves, showy flowers and a spicy fragrance so it’s perfect for that kind of use.

In pots Kahili grows to be 4 to 5 feet tall, but in the ground the plant can be 8 to 10 feet and colonize an area to create a “ginger forest”, which sounds pretty cool to me.

I transplanted 4 rhizomes early this spring and they’re already pushing 5 feet tall (oh, what a difference sun and water make). I’m hoping by the end of the year, they’ll have filled in a bit more to provide that “foresty” feel that keeps you visually in the tropical garden, but also provides a nice transition to the lemongrass, scented geraniums and other tropical(-ish) low growers that guide you to the orchard.