Alpinia galanga
Common Name: siamese ginger 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Zingiberaceae
Native Range: Southeast Asia
Zone: 11 to 12
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Yellowish-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 11-12 where it is best grown in moist, fertile, organically rich, well-drained soils in part shade. Tolerates close to full sun.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Alpinia galanga, commonly known as Siamese ginger, Thai ginger or galangal, is a tropical evergreen perennial with a thick aromatic rhizome. It is native to Southeast Asia. For culinary use, the rhizome is typically cut up into small pieces, thin-sliced, pounded into a paste, or dried and powdered for inclusion as a flavoring in a variety of food dishes such as soups and curries. It is reportedly one of the most frequently used spices in Thai cooking, and is also quite popular in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Indonesian rendang is usually flavored with this rhizome. Each plant typically grows to 6' tall in a clump of stalks clad with long green leaves (12-15" long by 2-3" wide). Showy yellowish-white flowers with red centers bloom throughout the year on upright inflorescences. Flowers are followed by red fruits (1/2" diameter) which emerge green and then turn yellow before finally maturing to red. Leaves, stalks, rhizomes and seeds all have a mild aromatic aroma. Foliage is attractive and plants may be grown ornamentally without harvesting the rhizome. Plants are evergreen when grown in frost-free locations. In Southern Asia, fresh rhizomes are commonly sold in markets. Rhizomes also have certain folk medicinal uses in Asia. In the U.S., rhizomes are generally available for purchase in most Asian groceries.

Synonymous with and formerly known as Languas galanga.

Genus name honors Italian botanist Prospero Alpino (1553-1616).

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Fungal leaf spot and root rot. Spider mites may appear in dry weather.

Garden Uses

Evergreen perennial herb for tropical climates where it is grown for harvest of the rhizomes and/or as an ornamental. Large containers.