Roscoea humeana
Common Name: roscoea 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Zingiberaceae
Native Range: China
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.75 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Purple
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zone 6 where plants will thrive in rich, peaty, evenly moist, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. Best in part shade. Plant tuberous roots about 6" deep to help protect the plant for cold temperatures in winter. Apply winter much in the northern parts of the growing range. Hardy to 0 degrees F. in winter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Roscoea humeana, commonly called Hume roscoea, is a tuberous perennial of the ginger family that produces a showy summer bloom of orchid-like purple flowers atop 6" stems sheathed with 4-6 basal upright lanceolate to oblong leaves (to 8" tall). It is native to slopes and meadows, ledges and forest margins in the mountains of southern China (Sichuan and Yunnan provinces) at elevations of 9,000' to 12,000'. Each 3-petaled purple flower features two downward pointed petals and a wider upward petal that is usually inrolled to form a cowl. Fleshy roots grow in a cluster from a central core. This species was introduced from China to Scotland in 1904 by plant collector George Forrest.

Genus name honors William Roscoe (1753-1831) who founded the Liverpool Botanic Garden.

Specific epithet honors David Hume, gardener at the Royal Botanic Garden at Edinburgh, who died at the battle of Mons in World War I.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Slugs and snails. May be difficult to grow well in the St. Louis climate.

Garden Uses

Rock gardens. Foundations. Borders. Woodland margins.