Close this search box.

Zingiber Zerumbet: All You Need To Know About The Shampoo Ginger Lily

Zingiber zerumbet is an aromatic, clump-forming, herbaceous, and perennial plant, cultivated mainly for its medicinal, ornamental, and culinary uses. 

Zerumbone, a sesquiterpene, is the principal bioactive compound of Z. zerumbet and it is widely studied for its medicinal properties, said a research conducted by Adriana Y. Koga, Flávio L. Beltrame, Airton V. Pereira from Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa, Ponta Grossa, PR, Brazil.

Zingiber Zerumbet: All You Need To Know About The Shampoo Ginger Lily

The Zingiber Zerumbet is known by many as the “Shampoo Ginger Lily” as a result of its pinecone-shaped inflorescence, which when squeezed, produces a fragrant milky-white transparent substance. This substance can be used as shampoo or hair conditioner. 

Mature inflorescences have an average length of between 2 and 4 inches and can refill themselves over time after being squeezed.

Other nicknames include Bitter ginger, Pinecone ginger, Awapuhi Kuahiwi (in Hawaii), etc.

Zingiber Zerumbet is native to the tropical lands of the Asian continent. They are part of the Zingiberaceae family (ginger family) and are tuberous. They bear green foliage and can grow to a height of 3 to 5 feet, with a width of 4 inches.

The rhizomes of shampoo ginger lily are similar to those of ginger and turmeric. They are edible but have a bitter taste and are traditionally used to treat diarrhea, intestinal worms, and other digestive issues.

Scientific nameZingiber Zerumbet (L.) Smith.
Common nameShampoo ginger, Bitter ginger, Pinecone ginger, Awapuhi Kuahiwi (In Hawaii).
OriginTropical lands of Asia.
Size3 to 5 feet high and 4 inches wide.
LightingFull sun to partial shade.
SoilMoist but also well-draining soil.
Temperature71 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit ( 21 to 25 degrees Celsius). 
FertilizerOrganic or well-balanced fertilizer diluted to half its strength.
PropagationThrough seed and rhizome division.
BenefitsWith anti-inflammatory properties ( chapter 4.3. Anti-Inflammatory Activity), the Zingiber zerumbet is used for toothache, ringworm, headaches, and other skin diseases.

Zingiber Zerumbet Care

Zingiber zerumbet can be grown both indoors and outdoors. Caring for the shampoo ginger lily is not hard, provided the right growing conditions are made available.

Zingiber Zerumbet Care
Flora of Sri Lanka

Light Requirements

As a tropical plant, the Zingiber zerumbet needs a daily dose of bright light to flourish. They perform well under full sunlight and also in partially shaded areas. 

An east-facing window is a good location for your shampoo ginger lily plant, as it exposes the plant to early morning sunlight. South and west-facing windows are also great options.

Soil Requirements

A nutrient-rich soil, with good water drainage capabilities, is ideal for growing the shampoo ginger lily. The shampoo plant requires moist, airy, soil that supports air, water, and nutrient circulation.

A potting mix containing perlite, coco peat, and orchid bark as part of its ingredients will help increase the drainage of the soil. Also, ensure the pot used has drainage holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging.

Water Requirements

Shampoo ginger lily loves soil that’s constantly moist, not soggy or overly wet. Water the plant whenever you notice the top 5 to 10 cm of the soil is dry.

When watering, avoid pouring water on the plant itself. Instead, spray the soil to prevent fungal infections.

Fertilizer Requirements

During the summer and spring seasons, fertilize the plant once a month. While in the winter season, stop fertilizing the plant as this might cause root burn.

When fertilizing, make use of diluted organic manure or a well-balanced fertilizer, diluted to half its strength.

Temperature And Humidity

Temperature And Humidity

The shampoo ginger lily needs a warm and humid environment to grow, but can also withstand low temperatures. Always ensure that the temperature is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Maintain a 50% humidity level when growing indoors. A humidifier can be employed to provide that extra humidity.


Pruning can be carried out once or twice a year, depending on the needs of the plant. Prune off old, diseased, and dead leaves from the plant to enable the plant to channel its energy towards growing more healthy leaves.


The best method for propagating the shampoo ginger lily is through rhizome division. 

This should be done when repotting your plant. Gently remove the plant from the pot, and shake off all soil residues left on the roots of the plant.

Using a disinfected knife, cut off the parent rhizome into individual pieces. Keep the rhizomes in a dark, dry place for a couple of days. 

After the rhizomes have formed calluses, soak them overnight in clean water. Put each rhizome in a new pot filled with a well-draining potting mix.

Place in a well-lit area with easy access to water.

Common Health Problems/Pests And Diseases

Common Health Problems/Pests And Diseases

Common pests that often attack the shampoo ginger lily are mealybugs and spider mites. To handle this, spray the plant with fast-running water. Also, use Neem oil or insecticidal soap to wash the leaves of the plant.

Root rot is common with most ginger plants. This is a fungal infection caused by overwatering (waterlogging).


Is Zingiber Zerumbet toxic to pets and humans?

No Zingiber zerumbet is an edible plant with nutritional value.

What causes root rot in shampoo ginger lily?

Root rot occurs as a result of overwatering of the soil. This causes water logging, which in turn causes root rot.

What health benefits does the shampoo ginger lily rhizome have?

They are traditionally used to treat diarrhea, intestinal worms, and other digestive issues.

How much sunlight does the Zingiber Zerumbet need?

About 4 to 6 hours of bright indirect sunlight.

What kind of fertilizer should I use for my shampoo ginger lily?

Use a well-balanced fertilizer diluted to half its strength.