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Shampoo Ginger Lily Care: Planting, Growing and Maintenance Guide

Learn how to plant, grow and care for Shampoo Ginger Lily with our comprehensive guide. Discover essential tips for successful Shampoo Plant care, from planting to maintenance and ensure your garden thrives with this tropical beauty.

If you’re looking to add a fragrant and low-maintenance plant to your garden, the shampoo plant or shampoo ginger lily might be just what you need. With its unique aroma and attractive foliage, this tropical perennial is sure to become a standout in your landscaping.

Here’s a detailed and verified chart for the Shampoo Plant (Zingiber zerumbet), also known as the Shampoo Ginger or Awapuhi:

CategoryDetails
Botanical NameZingiber zerumbet
Common NameShampoo Plant, Shampoo Ginger, Awapuhi
Plant NameShampoo Ginger
ZoneTypically zones 8-11
Sun ExposurePartial shade to full sun
Soil TypeWell-draining, loamy soil
WateringRegular; prefers moist soil
Growth HabitHerbaceous perennial
Height/Spread4-7 feet tall, clumping habit
Special FeaturesProduces cone-shaped bracts filled with a fragrant, soapy liquid used as a natural shampoo; attractive foliage and flowers, used in landscaping and personal care products

What is a Shampoo Plant?

What-is-a-Shampoo-Plant-819x1024 Shampoo Ginger Lily Care: Planting, Growing and Maintenance Guide

The shampoo plant, scientifically known as Zingiber zerumbet, is a type of ginger lily native to Southeast Asia. It gets its common name from the fact that its rhizomes (underground stems) were once used as a natural hair cleanser, similar to shampoo.

This herbaceous perennial can grow up to 3-4 feet tall and features lance-shaped leaves arranged in an attractive spiral pattern on thick stems. In late spring or early summer, it produces conical spikes of small, yellow-red bracts (modified leaves) that resemble pinecones. While not particularly showy, these flower spikes add an interesting textural element to the garden.

But it’s the intense ginger fragrance that really sets this plant apart. When you brush against the leaves or stems, they release a powerful, spicy-citrusy aroma that many people find delightful. This scent is what made the shampoo ginger lily so valuable for hair care centuries ago.

Benefits of Growing Shampoo Plants

Benefits-of-Growing-Shampoo-Plants-1024x1024 Shampoo Ginger Lily Care: Planting, Growing and Maintenance Guide
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Beyond its ornamental appeal and intoxicating fragrance, the shampoo ginger lily offers several benefits for the home gardener:

  • Low Maintenance – Once established, this plant is remarkably drought-tolerant and requires minimal care.
  • Deer Resistant – The strong aroma deters deer and other herbivores from munching on the foliage.
  • Container Friendly – With its compact size, the shampoo plant can be easily grown in containers or planters.
  • Medicinal Uses – The rhizomes contain compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties used in traditional medicine.

Ideal Growing Conditions

Ideal-Growing-Conditions-2 Shampoo Ginger Lily Care: Planting, Growing and Maintenance Guide

For best results, provide your shampoo ginger lily with the following growing conditions:

Sun Exposure

This plant performs well in partial shade to filtered sun, making it perfect for slightly shaded areas of the garden or patio. Avoid full, direct sunlight which can scorch the leaves.

Soil

The shampoo plant prefers a rich, well-draining soil high in organic matter. A slightly acidic to neutral soil pH between 6.0-7.0 is ideal. Amend heavy clay soils with compost or manure to improve drainage.

Water

Maintain consistently moist soil, but don’t let the plant sit in waterlogged conditions which can lead to root rot. Once established, it has moderate drought tolerance.

Temperature

As a tropical plant, the shampoo ginger lily thrives in warm temperatures between 65-90°F. It cannot tolerate freezing and should be grown as an annual in cooler climates.

USDA Hardiness Zones

This ginger lily is best grown as a perennial in USDA Zones 8-11. In colder regions, it can be overwintered indoors as a houseplant or dug up and stored dormant until spring.

How to Plant Shampoo Ginger Lilies

How-to-Plant-Shampoo-Ginger-Lilies Shampoo Ginger Lily Care: Planting, Growing and Maintenance Guide

Planting Time

The best time to plant shampoo plants is in late spring once the soil has warmed up and danger of frost has passed. You can also plant container-grown specimens year-round.

Spacing

Space shampoo ginger lilies 2-3 feet apart to allow for spread. They can be planted closer (1-2 feet) if you plan to divide them every few years.

Planting Depth

Plant the rhizomes 3-4 inches deep, with the growth buds pointing upwards. Firmly pack soil around the rhizomes.

Containers

Choose a container at least 12-18 inches wide and deep with drainage holes in the bottom. Use a well-draining potting mix.

Mulching

Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch like bark chips or leaves around the plants to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Replenish annually.

Propagation

You can easily propagate new shampoo plants by dividing the rhizomes in spring or fall when the plant is dormant. Each division should have 2-3 buds.

Care and Maintenance

Care-and-Maintenance Shampoo Ginger Lily Care: Planting, Growing and Maintenance Guide

Once your shampoo ginger lilies are in the ground, they require minimal care to thrive:

Watering

During the first season, water plants regularly to keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. Established plants are fairly drought-tolerant but may need supplemental water during dry spells.

Fertilizing

For best growth, feed monthly during the growing season with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength. Alternatively, top-dress with compost or manure in spring.

Pruning

Shampoo plants do not require heavy pruning. Simply remove any dead or damaged stems as needed to keep the plant tidy. Cut back frost-damaged growth in spring.

Winter Care

In regions below Zone 8, the shampoo ginger lily will need to be lifted and overwintered indoors or grown as an annual. Dig up the rhizomes after the first frost and store in a cool, dry place.

Pest/Disease Control

This durable plant has no serious pest or disease issues when grown in the right conditions. Potential problems include rhizome rot from over-watering, leaf spots and spider mites in dry conditions.

Companion Plants

With its tropical flair, the shampoo plant combines nicely with other heat-lovers like hibiscus, cannas, elephant ears and caladiums. It also works well in shade gardens alongside hostas, ferns, and impatiens.

Where to Buy Shampoo Ginger Lilies

While not as common as some other gingers, shampoo plants are becoming more popular for home landscaping. Here are some sources to find Zingiber zerumbet:

  • Mail-Order Nurseries – Many tropical plant specialists like Logee’s Plants and Plant Delights Nursery offer shampoo ginger lilies.
  • Online Retailers – You can find rhizomes and potted plants on sites like Amazon and Etsy from various sellers.
  • Local Nurseries – Check your local independent garden centers, especially in warm climates where they may carry this ginger.

With its captivating fragrance, lush foliage and easy care requirements, the shampoo ginger lily makes an excellent addition to gardens and landscapes. Give this unique tropical beauty a try for an eye-catching yet low-maintenance planting!

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