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Costus afer

Care Tips

Habit: An upright to spreading perennial growing up to 1.5 m tall indoors producing bamboo-like stems that spiral in a clockwise or counter-clockwise fashion bearing the leaves on the outside of the spiral and clusters of light pink flowers from a cone-like structure at the top of each stem.

Temperature: Plants grow best between 15 to 25ᐤ C and temperatures below 4ᐤ C may result in the death of the plant.

Light Exposure: Plants will grow well in bright, indirect light to some exposure to weak direct light (either early morning or late afternoon sun). When placed in too dark of a location, leaves will yellow rapidly and fall off.

Watering: Spiral Ginger like a moist growing medium but not soggy; water only when the top 3 cm of soil feels dry to the touch. Always check the soil moisture first but as a rule of thumb watering once a week in the rainy season, once every two or three weeks in the cold dry season and twice a week in the hot dry season.

Fertilising: Give plants a well balanced fertiliser once a month during the hot dry season and rainy season but not during the cold dry season when plants are resting (semi-dormant).

Pruning/Repotting: Remove yellowing leaves and withering stems to keep the plant tidy. Tall leggy plants can be cut down to just above soil level and allowed to reshoot. Spiral ginger can grow quite vigorously and may need dividing every three or four years; clumps can be cut in half or quarters and repotted into appropriately sized pots.

Pests/Diseases: Spiral ginger are generally pest and disease free; however, plants can occasionally be affected by mealy bug and spider mites during times of low humidity. In addition, overwatering is the leading cause of root rot in plants.

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