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Alpinia Zerumbet Variegata

The Variegated Ginger plant or Alpinia Zerumbet is an eye-catching perennial plant that is native to the tropical regions of East Asia. 

It is known for its numerous uses which include being used as an ornamental plant, a medicinal plant, and a nice tasting spice for cuisines. 

Variegated shell plant features lance-shaped leaves that offer a slight, pleasing fragrance. They are long and dark green in color, with streaks of yellow variegation distributed all over the leaves. 

It also possesses fleshy rhizomes and produces pinkish-whitish flowers that fall instead of rising as most ginger plants do. 

Botanical NameAlpinia Zerumbet Variegata
Common NamesShell Ginger, Variegated Shell Ginger, Butterfly Ginger
OriginEast Asia
Plant TypeFlowering perennial plant
Full SizeFrom 6 feet to 10 feet
Sun ExposureRanges From Full to Shaded sunlight
Soil TypeWell-draining, organic-rich soil 
ToxicityNon-toxic, Medicinal plant

Variegated Ginger Plant Care

Alpinia Zerumbet Variegata is a low-maintenance plant that flourishes under the right Temperature, Lighting, water, and soil. 

Variegated Ginger Plant Care

Variegated Ginger Light Requirement

The Ginger plant leaves require sufficient exposure to both direct and indirect sunlight, so knowing how to alternate between both is key to proper growth.

A great practice would be to start the day by providing a maximum of 5 hours of exposure to direct morning sunlight. Then at noon, provide adequate shelter from the harsh rays of the sun. 

You could make use of a light curtain to shield the sun’s rays at noon. Keep everything in moderation as too little sunlight and too much sunlight would harm the plant’s growth.

Variegated Ginger Water Requirement

Do not water the variegated ginger houseplant too often so as to avoid soggy soil. Keep it moist always by watering once a week during the summer and spring seasons and once in 3 weeks during the winter and fall seasons. 

The soil should be a little dry before watering so make use of a moisture meter to check the level of water in the soil or use your finger to feel the soil texture. 

Avoid direct contact with the leaves when watering and use dechlorinated water at room temperature so as not to stress the plant’s roots.

Variegated Ginger Soil Requirement 

Any soil type would be okay for the Variegated ginger shell plant. What matters the most is that the soil is well-draining, rich in organic compost, and should possess little moisture retaining capability.

For a perfect indoor mix, use one part peat moss, one part mulch, or perlite, and add a little organic compost to keep it fertile. 

The pH value of the soil should be between neutral and a little acidic, so aim for a value between 6.5 and 7.0

Variegated Ginger Humidity and Temperature Requirement

Variegated Ginger Humidity and Temperature Requirement

The Alpinia ginger plant is a tropical plant that does well in a humid environment. Replicate this in your indoor space by using a humidifier filling a tray with pebbles and water and keeping it beside the potted plant. 

The temperature should be kept between 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 82 degrees Fahrenheit as the exotic plant has USDA hardiness zones that range from 8 to 10 but can survive a zone of 7.

Variegated Ginger Fertilizer Requirement  

Fertilizing should be done once a month in its growing seasons and avoided during the winter season. Ensure the fertilizer used is a liquid fertilizer that has been diluted to half its initial strength.

Variegated Ginger Propagation  

Propagating the Variegated plant should be done through the division method. 

Variegated Ginger Pruning Requirement

Pruning should be done once a month for the variegated ginger lily. Ensure all tools to be used for pruning are well sterilized before use.

Prune dead leaves at the base of the leaf to encourage the proper growth of new plants and promote a flourishing look. 


The Alpinia Zeumbet is non-toxic and is used as a spice for Okinawan cuisines as well as used as a medicinal plant for the treatment of fever, stomach upset, and diarrhea.

Common Health Problems of the Variegated Ginger

Common Health Problems of the Variegated Ginger

  • Root rot
  • Brown leaves
  • Bacterial wilt
  • Aphids
  • Mealybugs
  • Scales
  • Chinese Rose beetles

Frequently Asked Questions

Is variegated ginger invasive?

Variegated Ginger plants are blessed with non-invasive roots 

What is the lifespan of Variegated ginger?

Variegated Shell Ginger can grow for as long as 2 years before needing division

Does the ginger plant spread?

Yes, the Ginger shell plant is a perennial that loves to spread. 

Is shell ginger indoor or outdoor?

The shell ginger plant can be grown both indoors and outdoors.

Can variegated ginger take full sun?

Yes, the shell plant can take in a maximum of 5 hours of full morning sun a day.