When we think of gingers, we often envision the common ginger (Zingiber officinale) used in cooking and herbal remedies. However, the world of gingers is incredibly diverse, with numerous species and varieties that boast not only culinary uses but also stunning ornamental qualities. In this blog, we’ll take you on a journey through the captivating world of gingers, exploring the various types and their unique characteristics. And for those intrigued by these exotic plants, we’ll also discuss where you can find and buy ginger plants online in Sydney.
The Versatile and Vibrant World of Gingers
Gingers, collectively known as Zingiberaceae, are a family of flowering plants that encompass over 1300 species. While not all of them are ginger in the culinary sense, they share common traits such as vibrant foliage, unique flowers, and a distinct, spicy fragrance.
1. Common Ginger (Zingiber officinale):
Starting with the most well-known, Zingiber officinale, or common ginger, is famous for its culinary uses. Its rhizomes are used fresh or dried to add flavour and aroma to a variety of dishes. Beyond the kitchen, common ginger also has medicinal properties and is known for its anti-inflammatory and digestive benefits.
2. Torch Ginger (Etlingera elatior):
Torch ginger is a tropical beauty known for its striking, torch-like inflorescence. Its vibrant pink or red bracts make it a popular choice in floral arrangements and gardens. While not typically used in cooking, its ornamental value is undeniable.
3. Beehive Ginger (Zingiber spectabile):
The beehive ginger gets its name from its unique inflorescence, which resembles a beehive. Native to Southeast Asia, it’s primarily grown for its stunning appearance and is often used in tropical flower arrangements.
4. Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet):
Shell ginger is prized for its large, glossy leaves and fragrant white flowers. In some cultures, its rhizomes are used medicinally, while in others, it’s grown as an ornamental plant.
5. Blue Ginger (Dichorisandra thyrsiflora):
Despite its name, blue ginger isn’t a true ginger plant. It’s a member of the Commelinaceae family. Blue ginger is loved for its striking blue-purple flowers and lush foliage, making it a favourite among gardeners.
6. Ginger Lily (Hedychium spp.):
Ginger lilies belong to the Hedychium genus and are known for their aromatic and vibrant flowers. You can find them in a myriad of colours, including white, yellow, and orange. Some species, like Hedychium coronarium, are prized for their fragrance and are used in perfumes.
7. Galangal (Alpinia galanga and Alpinia officinarum):
Galangal is a close relative of common ginger but has a distinct, sharper flavour. It’s commonly used in Asian cuisine, especially in Thai and Indonesian dishes. It’s also known for its medicinal properties and is used in traditional herbal medicine.
Finding and Growing Ginger Plants Online in Sydney
Buying ginger plants online in Sydney is a convenient way to explore the various species and varieties. Here’s how you can go about it:
1. Research and Select Your Gingers:
Start by researching the types of ginger plants that thrive in Sydney’s climate. Consider factors like sunlight, soil conditions, and available space in your garden or home.
3. Native and Exotic Gingers:
Sydney’s climate allows for both native and exotic ginger species to thrive. Consider including native gingers in your garden to support local biodiversity.
4. Check Reviews and Ratings:
Before making a purchase, read reviews and check ratings to ensure that you’re buying from a reputable online nursery that offers healthy, well-cared-for plants.
5. Planting and Care:
Once your ginger plants arrive, follow the planting and care instructions provided by the nursery. Gingers generally prefer well-draining soil, regular watering, and partial shade to thrive.
Conclusion: Embracing the Diversity of Gingers
The world of gingers is a lush and vibrant one, encompassing a wide array of species that offer both culinary and ornamental delights. From the pungent common ginger to the striking torch ginger and the fragrant ginger lily, each type of ginger plant adds its unique charm to gardens and homes.