Grow Tropical Ginger Lily for Late-Season Flowers

Ginger lily's fragrant tropical flowers burst into bloom as the growing season winds down. Find out how to grow these plants in your yard.

Ginger Lily Care and Growing Tips

A ginger lily stalk wows with rows of red-orange blooms.Luiz Franco/Shutterstock
A ginger lily stalk wows with rows of red-orange blooms.
  • Hedychium spp.
  • Zones 8 to 11
  • Light needs: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil: Moist, well-draining soils
  • Attracts: Hummingbirds, butterflies, bees

Ginger lily plants offer lush tropical foliage throughout summer, followed by a display of showy flowers in August and September—just when most of your garden is winding down. They prefer moist, rich (but not soggy) soil with organic matter mixed in and are generally hardy only in Zones 8 to 11. They do need regular watering to grow their best.

Gardeners in the South specialize in growing several types of ginger lilies that come in a variety of colors, including white, yellow and salmon.

In zones where they are hardy, these perennial plants grow into clumps that you can divide in spring. For your own personal backyard paradise, plant them alongside crocosmia, canna and brugmansia.

Discover the top 10 beautiful lily flowers to love.

Overwintering Ginger Lilies

Hedychium coronarium - White Gingerlily FlowerNora Carol Photography/Getty Images
White ginger lily flowers

But northern gardeners shouldn’t fret. You can still enjoy these tropical plants and their heavenly scent even if you aren’t within their hardiness zone. In cold areas, the tubers can be overwintered indoors and then replanted in spring just like dahlias. Dig them up before the ground freezes and keep them in a dry, cool spot, such as an unheated garage or greenhouse, until after the last frost date for your area has passed. Or you can grow your ginger lily in a large container and overwinter it as a houseplant.

Grow Oriental lilies for outstanding fragrance and color.

Ginger Lily Facts

According to Clemson University Extension, ginger lilies are not true lilies, but are distantly related to ginger root. The tubers are edible. Another fun fact is that the richly fragrant flowers are often used to make leis in Hawaii.

Next, find out when red spider lily bulbs bloom.

Lori Vanover
Lori has 20 years of experience writing and editing home, garden, birding and lifestyle content for several publishers. As Birds & Blooms senior digital editor, she leads a team of writers and editors sharing birding tips and expert gardening advice. Since joining Trusted Media Brands 13 years ago, she has held roles in digital and print, editing magazines and books, curating special interest publications, managing social media accounts, creating digital content and newsletters, and working with the Field Editors—Birds & Blooms network of more than 50 backyard birders. Passionate about animals and nature, Lori has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Environmental Communications from the University of Illinois. In 2023, she became certified as a Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener, and she is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and sits on the organization's Publications Advisory Committee. She frequently checks on her bird feeders while working from home and tests new varieties of perennials, herbs and vegetable plants in her ever-growing backyard gardens.