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Curcuma alismatifolia (photo courtesy of Norman A. Plate)
Curcuma alismatifolia (photo courtesy of Norman A. Plate)

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Zone
Zones 14-24, H1, H2
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Full, Partial
Ample Water
Ample

Curcuma alismatifolia

Siam Tulip
Zingiberaceae
Perennials

This perennial from Thailand is not unlike a tulip in appearance (hence the common name), but it’s actually a ginger rather than a tulip. It grows to 2 ft. tall with foliage like small canna leaves. The flowering stem is topped by a cluster of pink, rose, or white bracts that hide tiny flowers. The inflorescence is shaped a bit like a flaring pine cone. Each blossom lasts for several weeks and is replaced by others as new plants arise from the rhizome. Plant goes dormant in winter.

Plant in the spring, setting rhizomes 1 in. deep and 6 in. apart. Blooms from early summer to early fall. Beyond its hardiness range, dig and store over winter, being careful not to damage the bulbous storage organs on the roots.

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