Ginger Lily – Growing Leaves

Q: In September, I cut back my ginger lilies, dug out some rhizomes, and sent them to my friend in Massachusetts. He put them in pots in his house. They are now growing leaves. Should he cut the leaves back or let them continue to grow?

A: Ginger lily, Hedychium coronarium, is not winter hardy outdoors in Massachusetts. I wish your friend had put the roots in a pot in a dark place so they wouldn’t sprout until spring. But now that leaves have come up he can keep the plant in front of a sunny window until night temps outdoors are above 55 degrees. At that point each ginger plant can be planted in an 18″ pot and then slowly introduced to full sunshine. The white, gardenia-scented flowers will appear in fall. Keep outdoors until night temps are in the 40’s. Then remove the stems and foliage and keep the pots cool and dark for winter.

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