There are several names for the "White Ginger Lily". See which one you have heard...Hedychium consanguineum, Hedychium coronarium, 'White Butterfly', Garland Flower, Hardy Ginger Lily, Hardy White Butterfly Ginger Lily, White Butterfly Ginger Lily, White Ginger. The "White Ginger Lily" is not a lily at all. It is actually from the Zingiberaceae family.
This fragrant beauty graces some of the most charming and historic landscapes across the South. It blooms in late summer and early fall and fills your garden with one of our favorite summer scents. Imagine the famous painter Audubon pinching off a flower as he walked along the gardens of Oakley Plantation, where he taught art as a tutor. Visiting the plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana, today many still see the ginger lily blooming with all of its glory in the fall. With its lance-shaped leaves and gorgeous white blooms, ginger is an elegant addition to your garden.
The "White Ginger Lily" is a treasure for those of us in zones 8-10. This lovely bloom graces us with fragrance and form during the heat of August. It can provide an exquisite backdrop to lower-growing flowers or make a bold statement all by itself in a large area. Be sure to plant this in a location where you can enjoy its fragrance.
Fragrance: The "White Ginger Lily" has one of the most exquisite fragrances. It is used in perfumes, essential oils, and much more. This ginger lily is known for its fragrance in the garden or in your house. This is NOT the ginger that you want to put on your food. This fresh-scented flower blooms from late summer through autumn.
Foliage: If we had to sum up the foliage of the "White Ginger Lily" it would be large and in charge. The foliage on the White Ginger Lily" is dramatic enough to write home about. The greenery will grow up to 5 feet tall and several feet wide when at full maturity. This alone adds a great architectural aspect to your garden. Sometimes you'll need to trim it up or tie it up to keep it from spilling into unwanted places. Every garden needs a few of these if for nothing else to cut and bring the blooms inside!
Planting: The "White Ginger Lily" does best when planted in full summer sun in zones 8-10. Yes, you read that correctly -- full summer sun! By planting in full sun the plant will get full of foliage. It will do well with at least 1/2 day of summer sun. If it gets too little sun, it will try to reach for the sun and not be as full. Plant the rhizomes in well-drained soil on their side with the tips almost visible or even with the dirt. Plan on planting in a location where the plants can grow comfortably to their full height of 5 feet and several feet wide. It will multiply and fill your garden with blooms and greenery. This perennial will die away in the winter but return in the spring.
Water: The "White Ginger Lily" does have water needs. If you want it to perform, be sure that you water them well during hot and dry summers: however, do not plant them in continually soggy areas as this can damage the rhizome. Don't let the soil go completely dry for long periods of time either.
Containers: You can grow the ginger in pots. The foliage is excellent for container gardening. Be sure to pay attention to watering your containers though.
Other uses and interesting facts:
Pollinators love the "White Ginger Lily." We aren't always sure if it is because it is solely based on the fragrance or also because the ginger lily is one of the few flowers blooming in late summer and early fall when so many flowers can't withstand the summer heat and have long faded.
The "White Ginger Lily" is used in essential oils and perfumes. The scent of the ginger lily is used to help calm and relax people.
The flowers are used as garland in Hawaii and Japan. In China, the ginger lily is used for both medicinal and ornamental purposes. It is the national flower of Cuba. In the tropics of Hawaii the "White Ginger Lily" is considered invasive, but in the temperate zones of 8-10 in mainland United States, it isn't because it goes dormant during the winter.