Shell ginger (Alpinia zerumbet), using its large, variegated leaves and pendulous clusters of fragrant, light pink blossoms, adds a lush, stunning appearance to landscaping. It is native to tropical India and only develops outdoors within moderate environments, such as U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 9b throughout 11. Few tropical plants are easy since it is not vulnerable to disease, to nurture as shell ginger and requires little care. It looks and grows best if supplied with pruning soil and frequent water to remove dead leaves.
Plant shell ginger at a mattress with complete sunlight exposure in coastal locations and under partial shade in hot, dry inland regions. Amend the mattress using a 6-inch-thick layer of compost to a depth of 15 inches to help regulate the moisture retention and nutrient content of the soil.
Distribute a 3-inch-thick layer of mulch at a 10-inch radius around the bottom of the plant to help keep the soil surrounding the roots moist and cool. Remove in spring and replace it with a new layer from colonizing the roots, to keep fungi.
Ginger plants are shelled by water often and deeply. Run a hose at the bottom of the plant for 10 to 15 minutes a week. Increase water to weekly during periods of extreme drought or heat. Reduce water by half during the winter months. Cease watering.
Before the plant blooms feed shell ginger plants with 10-10-10 ratio mulch in spring warms to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and in summer. Apply the fertilizer at full advantage. Water afterward.
After the flowers fade, prune away all dead or damaged leaves. Snip off the leaves stems using bypass shears that are sharp. Discard the leaves instead of using them as mulch.
Watch for signs from the plant like brown edges on the leaves, which indicates that it is currently receiving inadequate moisture. Test the soil moisture with the tip of your finger. Add water to the soil if it feels dry at the inch to prevent additional harm to the leaves.
Divide and replant ginger plants every couple of years to promote prolific blooming and a lush, womanly look. Dig up the large rhizomes in spring using a shovel. Break them into 2- and replant them beneath the surface of the soil.