- Kahili ginger is a plant native and well-adapted to warm, tropical regions. A light frost will kill foliage to the ground, while a heavy frost can kill the entire plant, including the root system. Gardeners in cold climates should either grow this plant in a container and overwinter it indoors, or dig up the clumps each fall. In milder regions, gardeners can cut the plant to the ground once flowers have finished or frost kills foliage back, then spread a protective layer of mulch over the roots.
Soil and Water Requirements
- The kahili ginger prefers a fertile and moist but well-drained soil with ample organic matter. Make sure the soil is deep and well-prepared. If grown in a fertile, organic-matter-rich soil, the kahili ginger requires no fertilizer. Water it regularly in spring, summer and early fall whenever precipitation is inadequate; water less frequently in winter, when the plant is dormant and not actively growing.
Site Selection and Planting
- As a tropical understory plant, the kahili ginger tends to perform best when cultivated in light shade--though in far northern regions with less-intense sun, this plant may prefer full sunlight. If growing this plant from seed, soak the seed for about 2 hours in warm water before sowing. Fragrant ginger lilies cultivated from rhizomes are more common than seed-grown plants. Plant the rhizome so that it's laid horizontally near the soil surface, with the uppermost portions of the rhizome just barely showing.
Dividing Kahili Ginger
- The kahili ginger spreads naturally by seed and through rhizomes. The rhizomes allow gardeners to propagate this plant by division. After the plant has become established and has been growing successfully for a few years, it can become crowded and ready for an invigorating division. Dig up the clump of rhizomes in late fall or spring when the plant is dormant or just breaking dormancy, and divide the clump as desired. In mild regions, the mass can be replanted immediately. In cold climates, the clump can be dug up in fall, kept dormant out of the ground until spring, then divided into smaller sections before being replanted.