Hedychium greenei and Cautleya spicata: starting from rhizomes

14 years ago

Hi. I've just ordered some rhizomes of Hedychium greenei and Cautleya spicata and am wondering how best to start them into growth. I'll be starting them off in pots of compost. Can anybody give me any tips on growing either of them, e.g. how deep to plant them, how moist to keep the soil, what temperature, etc.?

As to where to put the pots, I have an unheated greenhouse but assume that will be too cold for them to start growing for some months yet (here in London UK we are vaguely equivalent to Zone 8-9a, though obviously without the decent summers/intensity of light). So I'll be keeping them indoors by a bright windowsill - does this sound okay?

I'd be very grateful for any advice on growing these.

Comments (3)

  • lthree
    14 years ago

    My advice is solely based on my observations, and I only have experience with the Greenei, but the compost is what I used and it flourished in pots compared to other gingers I grow. The foliage is the most striking when grown in shade or dappled shade and it does not seem to slow down the blooming.

    It takes drier conditions that other Hedychiums (in my yard, anyway) and as I grow everything outdoors, I cannot help with the greenhouse details.

    Good luck! It's a beauty - both foliage and bloom!

  • deeds1
    14 years ago

    If you are starting them from dry rhizomes, You can start them in a pot, good rich compost, they are hungry, thirsty little devils once they get going.

    You will be able to grow them outside in London, according to the latest RHS publication they are hardy to at least -10. My Hedychiums are outside in the garden and came through this winter (with snow and frosts on many occasions - unusual for Cornwall, worst winter for over 20 years).

    It doesn't really matter how deep you plant them as they tend to pull themselves up to the surface,just give them a good mulch when the canes start to die back (if they do, H.greenii is evergreen with me most years).

  • ornata
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Thank you both for your advice. I'm finding them slow to start into growth, despite them being good, healthy rhizomes when purchased (packed in moist newspaper, no sign of rot or dessication). So far, only one of the Cautleya spicata has put up a shoot, and one H. greenii is just beginning to sprout - having been moved back into a heated propagator after being in the greenhouse under cover.

    I also grew some Cautleya spicata from seed (there's something so dinky about sprouting monocots - that first leaf is a miniature version of their adult foliage)... but stupidly put the seedlings on the top shelf of my greenhouse, where they promptly burned up and died! Oh well, there are some more sprouting in the seed-tray.

    And yes, it has been a long, cold winter in the UK, here in London also we've had lots of frost. The Hedychium I grew last year from seed (from a mixed pack so I don't know the species) sailed through in a mini-greenhouse positioned against the house wall, staying evergreen.

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