Ginger Lilly in Bloom, Barbados Pocket Guide

Ginger Lilly

The Ginger lily (Alpinia purpurata) is a tall, perennial, horizontal, herbaceous, evergreen plant  which originates from the South Pacific. The plant has bright red long, attractive flower bracts, lush green leaves and small white flowers that are not as prominent. The ginger lilly plant is widely cultivated in Barbados and very much used throughout the island in floral arrangements.


Often time seen throughout Barbados as a tall informal hedge or a backdrop to soften the harshness of guardwalls and fences, the ginger lilly plant surely works well in our tropical landscapes.


In Barbados, the Ginger lilly is quite a common plant that can be found in private gardens and in such nature trails as Welchman Hall Gully.



The deep green leaves of the ginger lilly are attached directly to its base without a stalk. The inflorescence (the complete flowerhead of a plant including stems, stalks, bracts, and flowers) of the ginger lilly is a compact spike-like appearing bulb that carries a cluster of overlapping bracts that form a cone-like shape. The inflorescence is thought to be the flower but in actual fact, the flower is actually the tubular, white tiny flowers that carry a narrow tip.


The ginger lilly plant grows best in fertile soil with adequate drainage but has the ability to tolerate dry soil as well. Red gingers are highly tolerant of full sunlight, however, pink gingers need some shade from intense sunlight as they are prone to burnt tips from too much exposure to the sun.


Offshoots develop from the bracts of this plant and can easily weigh down the plant if not removed in a timely manner. These offshoots can now be used as a source of new plants.


In Barbados, the ginger lilly is one of those plants that work well in floral arrangements.


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