Blue Ginger Plant: The Complete Guide
Blue ginger (Dichorisandra thyrsiflora) is similar to the ginger plant but is not true ginger. Blue ginger belongs to the Commelinaceae family, same as spiderworts and inch plants. All are extremely easy-to-grow indoor plants.
It is a huge plant featuring a tall tower of foliage with big spikes of blue-colored flowers on top.
Luckily, there’s also a quiet little version of the blue ginger called the weeping blue ginger plant (Dichorisandra pendula).
They make marvelously elegant garden plants in tropical regions or stunning houseplants for those who experience extremely cold winters. These plants are very easy-going and tolerant of the environments in most homes.
Blue ginger develops flowers that can last for several months, and these plants continue to grow new flowers all year round. This gorgeous plant can be pretty expensive, but blue ginger is easy to propagate.
Characteristics and Features
Scientific Name: Dichorisandra Thyrsiflora
Common Name (s): Blue Ginger, Brazilian Ginger, Blue Flowered BambooFamily: Commelinaceae
Plant Growth Type: Shrub
Native Distribution: Brazil
Native Habitat: Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone: Tropical
Local Conservation Status: Horticulture or Cultivated Only (Exotic)
Desirable Plant Feature: Ornamental Flowers
Landscape Use(s): Container Planting, Balcony or Skyrise
Light Preference: Semi Shade
Water Preference: Plenty of Water
Pests: Sucking and Chewing Insects
Propagation Method: Stem Cutting (Herbaceous), Seed, Division
Mature Foliage Color: Green
Flower Color(s): Purple, Blue
Description: This tropical Brazilian native isn’t a real ginger plant but contains striped ginger-like stems with lapis lazuli blue flowers spikes. Its glossy, dark-green leaves feature purplish undersides, and flowers are borne in neat pinnacles from February through autumn.
Size: Blue ginger is a perennial plant that can grow up to 2.4m tall by 1m wide in the clumping form, having branched cane-like stems with short and rhizomatous roots.
Cultivation: Blue ginger plant can tolerate light frost and grow well in northern areas. It prefers rich soil and semi-shaded spot but can withstand full sun and drier weather.
Special Note: Blue ginger plant looks great when accompanied by subtropical plants such as hibiscus, bamboo, frangipani, and stephanotis, even though it can also do a good job of adjoining a narrow ‘driveway garden.’
Dichrosandra was first explained by Johann Christian Mikan (1820s), along with the type of species, Dichrosandra thyrsiflora. He used three Latin words, Di, Chōris & Andra, to explain the doubled anthers of its flowers spread out in the summertime and autumn.
The earliest specimen of blue ginger in the U.K. was documented by Sir William MacArthur’s catalog (1822), Hortus Camdenensis. This Latin-specific nickname, thyrsiflora, implies “with flower clusters reminiscent of Thyme.” This species has its natural distributions across local regions of Eastern Brazil, including Sao Paulo and Fortaleza.
Growing Blue Ginger Plant
Blue ginger plants adore indoor environmental conditions. These plants don’t mind dim light or dry air. Maintaining your blue ginger plant at the desired height by trimming off its top growth is very important.
Try to provide your plants with a minimum indoor temperature of about 60°F (15°C) as lower temperatures can disrupt their bloom cycle. You can also grow your blue ginger plants outdoors in the hardiness zones 9 and 10.
Give your blue ginger partial shade or full sun; keeping that in mind, its blooms can last longer if they get shade at least a portion of the day. Trim your plants back towards the end of their flowering period to give them a rest.
Care for Blue Ginger Plant
Blue ginger is an easy-going plant that adores the indoor environment. Read on to get more information about caring for your blue ginger plant.
Location & Sunlight
Perfecting the amount of sunlight your blue ginger plant receives is pivotal for an enduring variety. In the summer and spring seasons, make sure to give a brightly lit area far away from the direct sunlight.
Excessive sun exposure at this time can negatively affect your plant in the form of dehydration and sun-scorch. As the fall season kicks in, ensure to add an hour or two of direct sunlight every day to get blue ginger through its dormancy period, continuing until the next spring.
Blue ginger plants crave moist soil. Once its top third of the soil completely dries out, it’s good time to water again. During the fall and winter seasons, decrease the watering slightly to allow about half of its compost to dry out between waterings.
Under-watering can cause crispy or curling leaves, yellowing leaves, a grey, washed-out look, and inadequate new growth. Such issues are usually down to either excessive heat or sunlight forgetfulness. Most growers observe dehydration issues in blue ginger, so it’s crucial to keep an eye out for dryness in the soil.
On the other hand, over-watering causes yellowing drop leaves, insufficient to no growth at all, and rotting leaves and stems. Don’t allow your blue ginger to stay in soggy soil or any dark areas for long periods, as both will considerably accelerate the risk of over-watering and even death.
The average humidity available in your home is perfect for keeping your blue ginger indoors. However, if the leaf tips start to brown over, that could be a possible sign of extremely low humidity levels. You can finely mist the foliage every week or get a humidity tray to keep their life happy.
Blue ginger requires only a little fertilizer, and their leaves edges will turn brown if they receive too much of it, so keep a light hand in feeding this plant. Outdoors, apply 15-15-15 quality fertilizer every few months during their growing season. On the other hand, indoors apply a liquid houseplant fertilizer used for flowering houseplants according to the label directions.
Fertilize your plants every four drinks of water in the growing period before decreasing it to every six during the fall and winter. Even though an ‘All-Purpose’ fertilizer can still do good, using a particular ‘Houseplant’ labeled fertilizer will be perfect as it supports all the essential thirteen nutrients that blue ginger will require to thrive.
You can grow blue ginger outdoors during the summer season while the nighttime temperature ranges between 54°F to 86°F (12°C-30°C). If you want to locate this plant outdoors, never allow it to stay more than one hour under the direct sun per day as it’ll burn its leaves.
Pruning & Maintenance
Cut off yellow, dying leaves, and any plant debris to promote excellent -growing conditions. While pruning, use clean shears or utensils to reduce the risk of fungal and bacterial diseases.
Do not cut through any yellowed tissue as it may lead to further damage in the form of bacterial infections or diseases. Make clean incisions because too-damaged cuts can shock your plant, resulting in weakened new growth and a fall in health.
Propagating Blue Ginger Plant
Blue ginger can be propagated easily via Seed and vine or stem cutting.
- Pick the healthiest, most developed vines from the plant’s leading growths. You can use this propagation method from spring to summer, taking around three to six leaves, with each vine being up to 4 inches (10cm) in length. Cut off the bottom half of your plant’s leaves to support the production of its roots.
- Cut directly below a leaf (node) with a clean knife to lower the bacteria count.
- Insert the bottom half of that vine cutting into the water to begin the root process – this propagation method is quick and only demands a few weeks. As the small roots exceed 5cm in length, it’s high time to prepare its soil and container.
- Use a 3-inch (7cm) pot having multiple drainage holes. Plastic or terracotta will do in this instance.
- Place the vine cutting’s rooted half in a well-draining compost, for instance, ‘Houseplant’ compost, holding its foliage over the soil line.
- Give bright, indirect sunlight with relatively wet soil. After one month of stay in the soil, treat your blue ginger as a normal houseplant, considering the above care requirements.
Blue ginger will quickly flower during the summer and fall seasons if its prior dormancy phase has been treated very well.
Tiny, purple Thyme-like gorgeous flowers will grow at its vines’ terminals that last for a few weeks. The quality of your plant’s blooms largely depends on the quality of the dormancy period provided in the last winter.
To get your blue ginger out of its dormancy period, you must reduce the temperature to about 15°C and let its soil dry out between waterings. Provide bright, indirect sunlight to maintain its active growth.
Repot your blue ginger every three years during the spring, with a large-sized container having good drainage and a houseplant labeled compost.
These plants are far better being pot-bound for many years due to the increased chance of repotting issues (transplant shock) and root rot, so only repot this plant if you feel it’s extremely necessary. Confined root growth can heighten the possibility of blooms as well.
Hydrate your plants 24 hours before tinkering with their roots to avoid the threat of transplant shock. For plants spotted in any darker location, add a further amount of grit and perlite into the deeper parts of the container to restrain over-watering risks.
Pests & Diseases
Beware of the pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, root mealybugs, whitefly, thrips, and scales.
Typical plant diseases associated with your blue ginger include botrytis, leaf-spot disease, root rot, and powdery mildew. Clean your plant thoroughly with soap, use neem oil, or any quality insecticide to eliminate these issues.
Blue ginger is not identified to be poisonous when ingested by humans and pets. However, if you consume large quantities of this plant, it may cause nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
Common Problems with Blue Ginger
Below you’ll find the most common problems with blue ginger plants and ways to deal with them.
Excessive Sunlight Will Cause Sun-Scorch
Typical signs for too much sunlight include crispy or browning leaves, sunken leaves, dry leaf edges, or stunted growth.
Even though insufficient sunlight will lead to over-watering problems, excessive sunlight will also be damaging.
If your blue ginger plant has fallen short of it, significantly decrease the amount of sunlight and always stay conscious of an environmental shock, especially when two different locations provide too different developing conditions. Remove any of the damaged leaves and increase watering slightly.
Never Locate Blue Ginger Within Four Meters of Any Heat Source
A heater or any fireplace can be detrimental for your blue ginger. Because of the increased temperature, your blue ginger will soak up excess moisture than plants located in cooler regions, heightening the risk of droughts and brown leaf edges.
Root Rot Is a Common Issue
Typical root rot symptoms include yellowing leaves, stem collapse, and stunted growth. Plants located in too damp soil or darker areas are most likely to get caught up with that issue.
Take your blue ginger out of its container and scrutinize its root systems. If they have a yellow appearance, that’s okay, but a brown and mushy appearance needs immediate action. Reduce watering in winters or let its soil dry completely before watering again.
Top Tips and Information About Blue Ginger
- Blue ginger plant care is easy to moderate.
- Place your blue ginger in a bright location without exposure to direct sun or deep shade. Excessive light will increase the chance of sun scorching, leading to a lack of new plant growth. An area within two meters of a sunlight source is ideal for excellent quality growth.
- Keep its soil consistently moist at all times, letting the top third completely dry between waterings.
- Fertilize blue ginger with a ‘Houseplant’ labeled fertilizer after every four drinks of water during the summer and spring seasons.
- Repot your blue ginger every three years using any ‘Houseplant’ labeled soil potting mix. Make sure to respect its roots because transplant shock is a huge problem that could result in wilting, unexpected leaf loss, or sometimes death.
- Keep an eye out for small insects like mealybugs that will attack the cubbyholes of your blue ginger, including its leaves, flowers, and stems.