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Monday, June 21, 2010

Roscoe's Hardy Ginger

Roscoeas are among our favorite summer flowering woodland plants.  They emerge from dormancy in late spring and flower during the summer months after many other spring flowers have faded.

 Roscoeas produce colorful orchid-like flowers on leafstalks up to a foot high, making them ideal for the front edge of the garden.  Over time some species naturalize and produce drifts of color.  We currently offer 5 species at our nursery.  As I write this, the slender stalked, pale yellow R. cautleyoides are in full bloom while the R. purpurea, pictured above, have just begun to flower.  These will soon be joined by the vivid purple R. auriculata, large flowered mauve R. alpina, and delicate pale pink R. scillifolia.

Native to the Himalayas eastward into China, Roscoeas do best in our climate in light shade in moist, humus rich, well-drained soil.  They are solidly perennial and survived 0 degrees F without snow cover during last winter's severe cold snap.  


  1. So, do I add 'mind reader' to your talents? I saw R. cautleyoides at your place on Saturday and having forgotten its name, was just doing a very inadequate job of describing it to a friend. Thanks!

  2. No telepathy needed, Skip. Not many U.S. gardeners know about this interesting and unusual plant and it is difficult to describe. Roscoeas are a more commonly grown woodland plant in English gardens.

  3. August 20, 2012--Barb
    Mine is not doing well in this heat wave. After blooming profusely for some time it is now drooping and the tips of the leaves and some of the stalk is brown. Should I cut it back and hope it returns next year? The root ball still looks the shape of the pot and is drier than the soil surrounding it. I purchased it this spring. Please advise.

  4. Roscoeas do not like high heat and low humidity. The leaves burn because water evaporates from the leaf tips faster than it can be pumped from the root system. I would not cut it back as the energy stores in the stem will translocated to the rhizome when the plant enters dormancy in early fall. This allows the rhizome and roots to grow and produce a larger plant with more stems( and flowers) next year. I would continue to water the plant deeply to keep the root system hydrated.