Tapeinochilos ananassae
Common Name: Indonesian wax ginger
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Costaceae
Native Range: Queensland, New Guinea, Moluccas
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 5.00 to 7.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Yellow flowers in red bracts
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11 where this tropical plant is best grown in organically rich, consistently moist, well-drained soils in part shade. Tolerates close to full shade. Intolerant of freezing temperatures. North of USDA Zone 10, it should be grown indoors (best in greenhouses) in large containers. Container plants should be moved inside in fall before temperatures dip below 50 degrees F.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Tapeinochilos ananassae, known as pineapple ginger or Indonesian wax ginger, is native to tropical forests from Indonesia to northern Australia. It is a rhizomatous plant that typically grows to 6-8’ tall (sometimes more). It is noted for its waxy, pine cone-like, terminal, deep red inflorescences (to 8-12” tall) which have small yellow flowers emerging from within each bract. Each inflorescence appears on top of a thick, leafless, bamboo-like scape that rises up from the ground. Each inflorescence of this spiral ginger family member somewhat resembles an upside down pineapple, hence the common name of pineapple ginger. In tropical to semi-tropical areas, this plant blooms throughout the year. Green leaves wrap spirally around plant stems. Some authorities place this genus in Zingiberaceae (ginger family) rather than in Costaceae (spiral ginger family).

Genus name comes from Greek and means low lip in reference to the flowers short labellum.

Specific epithet refers to the genus name of pineapple (Ananas).

Problems

No known serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Greenhouse or indoor plant. Flowers are spectacular, but plants are otherwise not particularly ornamental.