How to Care for Red Ginger Flower – 7 Top Tips

The Red Ginger flower is an absolutely stunning plant, native to Malaysia that grows abundantly in Hawaii. It goes by many names including Jungle Queen (which has a pink flower), Jungle King (which has the iconic red flower), Tahitian Ginger and Ostrich Plume. Unfortunately, not many people know that you can grow these beautiful flowers indoors in containers. Luckily, we’re here to spread the Red Ginger flower or Alpinia purpurata joy with you! 

Table of Contents 

What Kind of Light Does Red Ginger Like?

Red Ginger flowers need around six to seven hours of bright, natural light. Ginger flowers thrive in lots of sun. If you live somewhere chilly and gray like I do, then you’ll want to give your plants the best chance and just put them as close to the south-facing window as possible. This plant is moderately shade tolerant but it won’t thrive unless it’s in full sun, with some direct light. You could consider supplementing your homes’ natural light with some grow lights. 

Here’s a guide to knowing whether your Alpinia purpurata is getting too much or little light:

Too MuchToo Little
Stunted growthStunted growth/ leggy
Brown patches on leaves Yellowing or pale leaves
Crispy leavesLeaning towards the light 

You can bring your plant outdoors for some more sun if the light inside your house just isn’t cutting it. However you need to keep in mind that the plant could get shock or sunburn from being moved too quickly. I’d recommend gradually increasing the sun exposure in order to acclimate the plant a bit better. You can start by putting your plant outside for half an hour and increasing its time outside each day by ten minutes or so. Alternatively you can move your plant closer to bright windows before putting in the shade outside and gradually moving it out of the shade close to the bright sun.

How Often Should I Water My Ginger?

Red Ginger plants like to have consistently moist soil. In other words they should not be drying out fully between waterings. Depending on where you live and how hot your home is this could be twice a week or more! It’s important not to stick too thoroughly to a schedule for plant care but to check regularly and learn the signs that your plant will give out. 

The best thing to level up your green thumb is to understand what a plant needs and why so you can interpret their behaviors to know what they’re asking for. Use a moisture meter or your finger to see if the plant needs watering. As this plant likes regular moisture you’ll want to water once the top of the soil is feeling dry. I gently and slowly pour water into the top of the soil just until it begins to run out of the bottom of the pot. This ensures that old stagnant water is being flushed away, along with any nasty toxins in the soil. 

Here’s How to Check If the Soil Is Dry / Needs Watering:

Finger or a Stick: 

When the top 1 inch of the soil feels dry and your finger comes out of the soil clean (the wet soil sticks, the dry soil falls off) it’s time to water your plant. If you don’t want to use your finger just use a stick or similar for the same process.

Moisture Meter:

Keep your moisture meter in the soil at all times or stick it in to test the moisture levels every week or so and when the soil is dry, give the plant a drink. Make sure to not have the moisture meter too deep in the soil or the plant will end up underwatered. 

If you are increasing the humidity surrounding the plant then make sure to decrease the frequency of watering as plants lose less water in a humid environment. If the light levels or temperatures are going to increase then it can be beneficial to water your plant slightly more often.

Personally, I find bottom watering the most effective way to care for most of my plants. Use lukewarm water (cold or hot water can shock the roots) in a container, allow your plant to sit in the water for roughly twenty or thirty minutes, just watch for when the plant stops absorbing water. Bottom watering encourages strong roots as the plant has to grow downwards to find the nutrients it needs. A stronger root system will help your plant in the long run. So don’t be discouraged or disappointed if your plant is putting out more roots than foliage to begin with, it’s all part of the process. 

The most important thing is to not stick rigidly to a schedule. Whilst consistency is good for a plant it’s okay to wait longer to water or to water early when you think it’s appropriate. 

Here’s a guide to how each factor in your home affects the watering schedule: 

FactorIncrease or decrease in watering 
Humidity increasedecrease
Temperature increaseincrease
Light increaseincrease
Bigger Pot SizeDecrease 
Age of plantYoung plants require more water 

Do Red Ginger Plants Like the Warmth? 

This is very important, as these plants are from Malaysia they will be very very unhappy if they get too cold. Sometimes things are just out of your control and you can’t change that but wherever possible you’ll want to make sure that your Red Ginger doesn’t experience temperatures lower than 45ºF. The foliage will begin to die at temperatures of 41ºF or lower. 

You’ll want to be vigilant to keep an eye out for brown edges, crispy leaves, dull leaf color, yellowing, wilting or stunted growth near any dry spots in your home. These tend to be around chilly windows, spots of hot morning sun, near radiators, fans or big electric devices. The air around these things can experience extreme temperatures, the cold can shock the plant and the heat can scorch the leaves.

Do Alpinia purpurata Need High Humidity?

These plants are going to need more humidity than is naturally available (probably) in your home. Tons of people recommend misting but I strongly advise that you do not do this. Create a humid environment using a humidifier if need be, check out this guide for finding the best one: 10 best humidifiers for plants. 

Red Ginger plants enjoy a 50% relative humidity.

Misting encourages pests and sunburn by creating pools of stagnant water – I highly recommend you do not let any water sit in your plant or pot.

Alternatively, if you want to boost humidity in your home without spending any money on a humidifier there’s a few DIY tricks. Grouping plants together – plants lose moisture in their leaves, by grouping many plants together they create a more humid microclimate.

Here are the main signs your philodendron plant needs some more humidity: 

  • Brown edges/ crispy leaves 
  • Dull color
  • Yellow leaves
  • Wilting 
  • Stunted Growth 

Do Jungle Queen Flowers Need Fertilizer?  

A plant that has such lovely flowers will sometimes need a little extra help since the plant will be doing so much work to bloom! The Red Ginger flower is a heavy feeder, maintaining its foliage and supporting new growth needs a well-fertilized soil. I’d recommend using a well-balanced fertilizer, which is one with a ratio such as 3-3-3 or similar. You can also try using a fertilizer that is higher in nitrogen, so a ratio such as 5-3-3 or similar. 

Feed the Ginger plant approximately once a month, during the growing season (spring and summer) and stop fertilizing during the winter. 

Personally, I prefer to use a water-soluble fertilizer as it’s easier to control than the granular fertilizer. However, they’re both suitable options, just go with whichever you want!

Liquid fertilizers are great because they are easier to control and use, but they need to be used more often. They tend to have a lower salt content too, which makes them better for use with young, sensitive plants. Additionally, the nutrients in a liquid fertilizer are mobile and can reach the roots more easily, which is  great for young plants with undeveloped root systems. Granular fertilizer or fertilizer pellets are much  cheaper, easier to store and don’t need to be used as frequently. The drawback with these fertilizers is that they’re harder to use and you have less control over the nutrients.

Can I Propagate Red Ginger? 

Red Ginger can be propagated by division, stem cuttings or by separating offshoots from mature specimens. Whilst it is possible to propagate at any time of year, I try to do this during spring as the  plant has the best chance of survival in nicer weather.

Root Division or With Offshoots:

Remove the root ball from the soil, shaking off as much excess dirt as possible. Cut the root system into chunks, you must have a few eyes and roots in each section for them to grow. I then like to take the time to cut away any nasty bits that are discolored or mushy.

Allow these cuttings to dry out for around a day before replanting each portion in potting soil. 

Stem Cuttings:

Use clean scissors or shears to cut a stem from the plant, you’ll need a piece that’s around 6 inches long, and you should cut at an angle. Remove the lower leaves from the stem. Once the cutting is prepared you can plant it in some moist potting soil. Plant the end that you cut around 2 inches deep in the soil.

Cover the cutting with some kind of container made of  see-through plastic (like a zip lock bag, half a water bottle etc) and leave it in some bright, indirect sunlight. After a week or two the cuttings should  have rooted  and you can remove the plastic covering.

How Do I Overwinter Ginger? 

Ginger is cold-tolerant to around 30ºF, but temperatures of 40ºF or less will damage the foliage too, so it’s important to bring your plants in over the winter. There’s no need  to fertilize your plants through the winter either. The main thing you’ll need to do is the occasional watering, roughly every other week or so. Depending on the weather where you live the plant may go dormant during the non-growing season, but don’t worry it will be rejuvenated in warmer weather.

About Red Ginger Plant 

Common nameJungle Queen, Jungle King, Tahitian ginger, Ostrich Plume 
Scientific nameAlpinia Purpurata 
Native AreaMalaysia
FamilyZingiberaceae ‘the ginger family’
Size at maturity 3-6 ft. tall and 2-3 ft. wide
Light RequirementsBright light 
Soil NeedsConsistently moist, in a well-draining soil
Hardiness ZonesOutside in Zones 8-12; can also be grown indoors in colder climate  
ToxicityAll parts of the Red Ginger plant are mildly toxic, they have sap which can cause skin and eye irritations. 


What is the benefit of red ginger flowers?

Red ginger is an  amazing plant, many parts of it can be used in alleviating symptoms of various diseases. There’s also been studies about the benefits of ginger in gut health, inflammation, and weight loss. It’s also been linked to positive changes in blood pressure, cholesterol, and liver health. That’s just a cool fact though, and it’s not at all medical advice.

Is red ginger a perennial?

Yes! Alpinia purpurata also called red ginger, is a type of perennial herb.

What time of year does ginger flower?

The flowering season for ginger is summer.What does the red ginger flower symbolize?

The red ginger flower symbolizes passion and strength. Ginger can also symbolize endless wealth. Red flowers generally represent feelings of love, romance or attraction. 

Show Off Your Ostrich Plume and Grow a Red Ginger Plant!

When it comes to the red ginger plant, care is simple. Just keep this beautiful flower away from any extreme temperatures, especially cold, keep the soil consistently moist and use a balanced fertilizer throughout the summer. Ensure the plant is fully dried and there’s no trapped water in the leaves as this will cause rot. Maybe even give bottom watering a go, if you feel brave! If you come across any trouble with your plant, our comment section is the place to be! 

Happy Growing!

Enjoyed Learning about How to Care for Red Ginger Flowers? 

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Photo of author
Katie Riggs
Katie’s love of plants began at a young age, in fact it was the first time she went camping and discovered the medicinal wonders of a dock leaf that the fascination with all things botanical took hold. Spending time in nature and frequently visiting the Kew Gardens, she became obsessed with the diversity of plants you could grow at home. Her favorite things to grow are herbs and vegetables outdoors as well as her prized fiddle leaf fig and calathea orbifolia. Hundreds of mistakes later she has become well versed in how not to kill a houseplant. Her passions now involve sharing her love of nature and all things green to help other people keep their plants happy and healthy.

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