curcuma... want to keep as a houseplant

rosebuddy(z5Ont)July 25, 2013

Walking by a Mom and Pop store today and outside was a potted plant that stopped me in my tracks. a Curcuma which I have never seen of heard of. Have brought it home and researching, it seems like a good houseplant which goes dormant in the fall and will grow from rhizomes planted in the spring. I'm in zone 5 Canada and looking at these flowers makes me feel like I'm in some exotic island Get away! Any tips of keeping this going as a houseplant would be greatly appreciated. The flowers (apparently bracts ) are just beautiful.

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teisa(6)

Ive got this from Lowes last year. It totally dies back outside and comes back in spring. I even had it inside. It is a beautiful plant. Blooms all summer!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 10:46PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Hi
There are a gazillion members of the ginger family. Curcuma is winter dormant so maybe not a good choice as a houseplant??. There are many types that are evergreen
Maybe a better choice if looking for winter color?? gary

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 4:45AM
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petrushka

ever heard of turmeric spice? ground yellow root(rhizome), mostly tasteless, used a lot in indian cooking, supposedly a good anti-oxidant. that's curcuma.
but yours is probably an ornamental, not edible?
the edible is curcuma longa.
here are nice pics of various ones
http://www.alohatropicals.com/curcuma.html

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 8:24AM
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rosebuddy(z5Ont)

Sorry, should have been more specific. Mine is a Curcuma alismatiflolia. Didn't realize there were so many different ones!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 11:22AM
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christine1950

read through here and see if this helps you any
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/ginger/msg1022531411730.html

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 1:02PM
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rosebuddy(z5Ont)

So far I'm in love love love with this as a houseplant! Have a new bract coming through the leaves and hopefully will give a good show for a few months. Don't mind putting it to bed for the winter. I have more than enough plant colour to get me thru till the new year. I was hoping to get any advice to get this one going again in the spring. Do I keep it in its pot when it goes dormant or should I lift out the rhizomes and store them out of the soil?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 6:16PM
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rosebuddy(z5Ont)

hope this photo gets thru. How beautiful is this plant?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 6:51PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

It will need a cold winter rest, but needs to be kept above freezing. If you have a wall between your house and an attached garage, it would over-winter well against that wall. Just toss a little snow on top of the pot often enough to keep the soil from drying entirely. Divide in spring as needed to relieve congestion and repot into fresh, fast-draining soil. Miracle-Gro 12-4-8 or 24-8-16 are good fertilizer choices, but if you have it, Foliage-Pro 9-3-6 would be better.

Al

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 7:02PM
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rosebuddy(z5Ont)

Thanks for the advice! My garage will be below freezing but maybe inside the house by the garage wall I will give it a try. You never know what may work! Thanks again,

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 7:20PM
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teisa(6)

I have never seen a white one! That is very pretty. Here is a picture of mine. It is 2 years old. They multiply very quickly!

Thanks Al, for the advice. I was not sure when it was best to divide. I will do that in Spring!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 7:20PM
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tropicbreezent

Definitely don't put snow on top of the pot. That would be the quickest way to kill and rot out your plant. They need a dry dormant period, not cold. They're tropical plants, from a climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. In nature their soil surrounds don't go lower than about 28C during dormancy. You certainly wouldn't want yours to get anywhere near freezing. There's a lot of different species with different colours. Underground they have a bunch of tubers. You can divide them any time they're dormant.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:58PM
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alisonoz_gw

Please believe tropicbreezent. !!
However, I'm in a sub-tropical area where winters are down to only about 6c overnight, no freeze. My winters are dry though so there's no problem about leaving in pots outdoors when dormant - if my climate were wet I would tip the pots on their sides over winter so as to avoid getting wet and rotting.
I've never totally removed the rhizomes but I can't say that it's not OK to do so, and store, maybe in some peat or sawdust, over winter. At least if out of a pot, you will know when they are getting ready to grow again as you'll see small nodes start. Alternatively just leave in pots until spring, un-pot then to check for status, repot with some nice fresh soil and fertilizer, lightly water once if there is any indication of growth.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 2:42AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Guys - I'm zone 5b-6a and I've over-wintered tons of zone 8-10 perennials that regularly die back to the ground in situ - in my unheated garage - against the wall dividing the garage from the house - where the heat radiating through the garage floor ensures the soil won't freeze - and I've never lost a single plant as I recall ----- and I water everything in the garage by tossing a little snow into each pot where it slowly melts and dampens the soil. I've been doing it for years because I don't have room indoors to over-winter them. They appreciate the cold rest - so YES, it can be done with no worry.

You can't plop them in the middle of the garage and leave the door open all night when its 0* outdoors, but with a little reasonable care, it's a viable option.

Al

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 6:41PM
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tropicbreezent

You've never done that with Curcuma, so you're giving out false information.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 10:23AM
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