What Is a Torch Ginger?
Thanks to a single show at the New York Botanical Garden, torch gingers are on my radar. The red-hot torches of fiery flower petals caught my eye as I walked by one day! When I noticed buds in several colors and plants with different-sized red flowers throughout the summer during visits, I decided it was time to learn more about this intriguing plant.
Torch Flower Plant Care Torch ginger is an exotic-looking flowering tropical plant that has become very popular in recent years. This native of Madagascar is believed to be the national flower of Uganda but grows naturally on other tropical islands across the world from Asia to Australia.
It’s not surprising that they’re easy to grow indoors since their native environment is warm and humid year-round. The bright red, tube-shaped flowers of this nearly stemless plant command attention with their bold color which appears in the summertime.
They’re also known as the torch ginger since they resemble a burning red flame when in bloom! This tropical shrub grows best at temperatures 65 – 85F with high humidity. It can be placed outdoors on a sheltered porch or patio for its summer bloom cycle, although it may require some protection from frost if you live in an area that gets chilly.
Many gardeners grow these plants indoors all year long so they can enjoy them both during their flowering time and also as beautiful foliage plants.
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Torch Ginger Care & Maintenance:
Growing torch ginger is easy. They require little care and their bright red flowers look great in a variety of settings. When I first saw the showy flowers, I was curious if they would smell as well since many tropical plants have beautiful but often overpowering scents.
I was surprised to learn that not only did the flame-like flower petals not have much of a scent, but that torch gingers also had attractive dark leaves! Torch ginger can be grown indoors or outdoors depending on your climate and preference.
They’re simple to grow with up to moderate light (a south-facing window is ideal) and warm temperatures though you should avoid putting them in direct sun for long periods of time during the summertime because it may burn the leaves.
You’ll need a pot that is large enough to accommodate the plant as it grows which can range from 3 – 6 feet tall and even taller if you prune it regularly!
They’re also tolerant of low humidity, so they don’t require misting or other special care for indoor growing. They prefer soil that drains well since stagnant water will collect in their roots causing root rot.
Torch ginger requires bright, indirect sunlight or light shade, and should not be placed in direct sun for long periods of time.
When they’re grown indoors on a windowsill near a south-facing window, the plant can receive either morning or afternoon light depending on your preference.
The shadier the location in which you’re growing it, the more water it will require since its roots won’t have access to as much natural humidity from outside. The reverse is true for plants that are receiving extra sunlight; they may need less water than an indoor plant with low light exposure if their roots aren’t able to absorb enough moisture from high humidity levels in the air.
It is best to allow the top inch or two of the torch ginger’s soil to dry out between waterings throughout the rest of its growing season. The soil should be kept moist until it begins growth in spring when you may begin using a minimal amount of water during warm weather days.
If your plant sits outdoors during this time, make sure it has access to occasional summer showers; water from above will help keep its leaves clean and free of dust. Don’t soak or over-water outdoor plants because they may grow moldy.
The soil of torch ginger must drain well so that the plant’s roots are not sitting in water.
It prefers slightly acidic soil and can be grown in a variety of different soils, including those containing peat moss and even sand. As long as the pipes drain freely, the soil should work for your tropical plant!
Temperature and Humidity Requirements:
Torch ginger goes into automatic dormancy in winter. It can be kept outdoors year-round in temperatures that don’t fall below about 50 degrees, but you will need to protect it from freezing temperatures if you plan to leave it outside during the winter months. It should not be brought inside for at least three days after being exposed to outdoor cold weather or else it may get shocked and die.
If you’re growing your torch ginger indoors, it’s not necessary to fertilize it. However, if the plant is properly located outside in a place that receives natural sunlight, it can be given a small dose of fertilizer every three or four months during warmer seasons.
The plant should only be fertilized when its soil has dried out completely between waterings. This will ensure the fertilizer gets absorbed into the root system and doesn’t run off and collect at the top of the soil which may cause mildew.
Torch plants are propagated from seedlings once they are several years old, but cuttings can also be used for propagation though they tend to produce less flowers than seedlings.
Tropical plants that receive regular pruning produce the most flowers so keep this in mind when deciding if a seedling or cutting is right for you.
An adult torch ginger plant can be divided into individual “pups” which are cut off from the parent plant and planted separately to create new plants. Alternately, pups may be left attached to parent plants as long as they’re situated at least 12 inches away from their base, or else the roots of both plants will get entangled and possibly die.
The best time to divide any type of torch ginger is during mid-spring before it begins growth. Be sure to use clean tools for dividing and don’t pull too hard on the main stem because it can cause the plant to develop unsightly scars.
Potting and repotting Requirements:
Torch ginger should only be transplanted once or twice before it reaches a mature age since moving the plant multiple times can cause stress and weaken its root system. Repotting torch plants requires special attention to ensure the plant’s roots don’t get tangled up in their new sleeve of soil.
Pruning Requirements: As with all tropical houseplants, pruning is necessary during spring to keep torch ginger from becoming overgrown and prevent its leaves from touching each other which may result in mildew or rot.
Also, remember that any low-lying growth on your torch ginger will require periodic pruning as well so that it doesn’t touch growing mediums above it like roofs or ceilings.
Propagating by division requires a keen eye so that the root system of each plant is kept intact. The best time to divide torch plants is during the mid-spring months before they begin growth for the new year.
Torch Ginger Problems:
If your torch ginger gets sick, the best way to find a cure is to look for the signs it leaves behind. You may notice small holes in its leaves which are caused by aphids or mealy bugs. These pests can be controlled by using an insecticidal soap spray and also hosing off affected plants will help remove any leftover pests from their bodies.
If any part of your plant looks like it’s dying, try pruning that section away and leaving the rest of the plant alone so that it doesn’t get infected with whatever might be causing its decline.
Gently rubbing a soft cloth over sickly areas of growth can also help spread natural healing properties onto those areas; however, this should only be done if your plant isn’t showing any signs of mold or rot.
Torch ginger can be affected by root rot fungus which will usually start slow, with some parts of its stem starting to brown and shrivel before the entire thing eventually dies. You should begin pruning off infected areas immediately after you notice them in order to stop the spread of this disease.
If the regular root rot is never properly stopped, it can ultimately lead to death of your torch ginger at the end of its growing season; however, once one year’s growth has died off, a new one will grow back from the base and continue as usual unless you severely damage roots by waiting too long to treat infections.