Alpinia japonica

Common Name: ginger lily 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Zingiberaceae
Native Range: Southern China, Japan, Taiwan
Zone: 8 to 11
Height: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: White with red stripping
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Insignificant
Leaf: Evergreen
Tolerate: Heavy Shade


Best grown in organically rich, medium to wet, well-drained soils in part shade. Tolerates close to full shade. Soils must not be allowed to dry out. Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-11. In St. Louis, this plant is generally grown as a houseplant or in the greenhouse. As a houseplant, it must have bright light and humid conditions. Remove flowering canes after bloom. Prune as needed to control plant size. Plants will not flower until the second year, so if grown as annuals they are generally only enjoyed for their foliage.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Alpinia japonica is native to China, central and southern Japan and Taiwan. It is a rhizomatous, evergreen, tropical perennial that grows in upright leafy clumps to 2-2.5’ tall. Distinguished from other members of the ginger family by the fact that its flowers droop from the ends of leafy stems rather than rise directly from plant rhizomes. White tubular flowers with red striping appear in spike-like inflorescences in summer. Lance-shaped green leaves to 1.5’ long and 3” wide are glabrous above and pubescent below. Leaves and flowers are attractive in flower arrangements.

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

Specific epithet means of Japan.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Tropical garden accent. Houseplant. Greenhouses. Foliage annual.