Awapuhi Shampoo Ginger Lily Plant (Zingiber zerumbet) is related to ginger, turmeric, and other members of the Zingiberaceae family of plants. It is tropical wild ginger hailing from Australia and Asia and naturalized in Hawaii.
Shampoo Ginger produces interesting red pine cone-shaped flower heads that eventually bloom with small white flowers. The flower heads are full of a creamy liquid used in natural hair care products. The plant also has many uses in cooking and medicine.
Shampoo Ginger can be grown in the landscape in a tropical setting and can also be kept as a large container plant in cool climates.
This article provides step-by-step instructions to help you successfully plant Shampoo Ginger Lily Seeds, divide and plant rhizomes and care for the plants. Read on to learn more.
How Can You Grow Awapuhi Shampoo Ginger?
If you want to plant Shampoo Ginger seeds successfully, you must provide a humid, warm environment that closely replicates a tropical setting. Even then, you may need more time to be successful.
Growing these plants from seed is not the easiest way to do it, and it can take a lot of work to find Awapuhi seeds for sale.
When purchasing seed, always buy from a genuine merchant with excellent reviews. All too often, seeds purchased online turn out to be surprise plants!
Once you have acquired genuine Shampoo Ginger seeds, follow these seven steps to prepare and plant them:
Soak The Seeds
Place the seeds in warm water and allow them to soak for 8 to 12 hours. When they appear swollen, they have soaked enough.
Prepare A Tray
While waiting for your seeds to soak, fill a seedling tray with good-quality potting soil that has been amended with organic matter, or use a commercial seed starting medium.
TIP: You can also use small, individual pots for your seeds if you wish.
Soak the seed starting medium thoroughly and set it aside to drain until your seeds are ready to plant.
Give Each Seed Plenty Of Room
If you are planting in a seedling tray, space the seeds one or two inches apart. If you’re planting in small pots, give each seed its own pot.
Provide A Jungle-Like Setting
Put your seedling tray or small pots in an area with consistent warmth. Cover the tray or pots lightly with plastic wrap, or place the tray or pots inside a clear plastic bag, to maintain a high humidity level.
TIP: If it would be difficult to maintain warmth around your seed starting set-up, try setting your trays or pots on a waterproof seedling heat mat.
Wait A Couple Of Weeks
Your seeds should germinate within 14 days. When they do, you should start lifting the plastic or opening the plastic bag for a few hours daily to allow good air circulation and prevent fungal growth.
Keep an eye on the growth medium and water as needed. It should stay consistently moist, not soggy.
Your little plants should be ready to move to larger containers or a sheltered outdoor setting in a month or two.
Are There Other Ways To Propagate Shampoo Ginger?
As mentioned above, this plant may be propagated by division.
If you have access to mature plants, you can dig up plants in the landscape, divide the rhizomes and replant them. Potted Shampoo Ginger rhizomes can be divided at the time of repotting.
Follow these 10 steps to propagate Shampoo Ginger by division:
1. Assemble your tools: You will need a sharp, sterilized cutting implement. You should wear gloves to protect your skin against contact with potentially irritating sap.
2. Locate the rhizomes: Dig up or unpot the mature plant to find its rhizomes. They look like ginger roots.
3. Find the buds or eyes: Brush excess soil off the rhizome and examine it. Then, use your cutting implement to divide it in a way that leaves several buds on each section.
4. Season the rhizome: You don’t want to immediately plant cut rhizomes into the soil. Allow a few days for the cut surfaces to heal and callus over. This helps prevent rot.
5. Prepare dry rhizomes for planting: The day before you pot up or transplant your Awapuhi rhizomes, soak them in warm water overnight.
6. Choose your container: If you are planting rhizomes (or plants grown from seed) in a container, be sure that it will provide ample room for growth. These plants can grow 6′ feet high, and the rhizomes spread enthusiastically.
Your container should be made of a natural substance that provides air circulation and weight (to prevent toppling).
Terra cotta or hypertufa planters with a broad base work well. Be sure your planter has plenty of drainage holes.
7. Prepare your potting medium: Mixing 50/50 high-quality potting soil and compost is best. A slightly acidic to neutral pH level is preferred.
8. Prepare your container or planting space: Fill your planter with your prepared soil mixture. Water it thoroughly and set it aside until your rhizomes are ready to plant.
If you are planting in the landscape, choose a sheltered area with good drainage and plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. Till the soil deeply and amend it with organic compost. Water it thoroughly.
9. Plant your rhizomes: When your rhizomes have soaked overnight, dig holes for them in your prepared soil. They should be planted, eyes up, at a depth that allows an inch-and-a-half covering of soil mixture.
TIP: If planting in containers, each rhizome should have its own large, roomy pot. In the landscape, place rhizomes 24″ to 36″ inches apart.
10. Protect the rhizomes: Place planters in an area that receives bright, indirect sunlight and consistent warmth.
Rhizomes planted outdoors should be sheltered against high winds and sudden temperature changes.
If you expect temperatures to drop below 55° degrees Fahrenheit, it’s wise to cover the rhizomes/young plants with a clear plastic drop cloth that allows light in and keeps cold out.
You may wish to use a clear row-cover set-up or erect a temporary greenhouse over your plants until they become established or the weather is reliably warm.
Shampoo Ginger Lily Is A Thirsty, Hungry Plant
Whether you start your plants from seed or propagate by division, be sure that the soil stays slightly moist (never soggy) throughout the process.
Once new growth begins, you can begin fertilizing lightly a couple of times a month.
If you want to fertilize each time you water, follow the “weakly-weekly” principle. To do this, you would provide a half or a quarter dose of fertilizer weekly.
To determine which dosage to use, read the product label. For example, if the product is intended to be used monthly, provide a quarter dose weekly. If it is intended to be used two times a month, provide a half dose weekly.
TIP: Look for a fertilizer with a higher phosphorus level to encourage good bloom and rhizome growth. This means that the middle number in the NPK ratio should be the highest.
How Do You Care for Awapuhi Shampoo Ginger?
Here’s what you need to do:
Keep Them Warm And Protected
The key to keeping these plants happy is providing an environment replicating their native tropical environment.
They like warmth and humidity during their active growing season (spring through autumn) and several months of cooler weather when the rhizomes can lie dormant and rest. This makes them ideal for outdoor planting in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 12.
Indoors, your plant will be comfortable if you are comfortable. Outdoors, your plants can tolerate temperatures as low as 20° to 30° degrees Fahrenheit during the dormant season.
In areas where freezing is likely in winter, cut them back to the ground and mulch at the end of the growing season to protect the rhizomes against freezing.
You can also dig up rhizomes and keep them in a cool, dry setting for winter storage.
Provide The Right Amount And Type Of Sunlight
Because they are naturally jungle plants, they like bright, indirect sunlight and can do well with up to six hours a day of direct sunlight. However, they should be protected against excessive direct or harsh, punishing sunlight.
Indoors, a south or west-facing window is best.
Outdoors, a sheltered area under high trees that provide filtered or dappled sunlight is ideal.
During the growing season, be careful to keep the soil moist at all times. During the plants’ dormant period (in winter), do not water.
Never overwater because this will cause rhizome rot. Avoid overhead watering, as this can cause fungal infection on the plants’ leaves.
TIP: Use distilled, filtered, or rainwater to avoid salt buildup in container plants.
Maintain High Humidity Levels
These plants like 50% percent humidity. The use of a humidifier or pebble tray is recommended for houseplants.
Trim, Divide & Harvest Your Shampoo Ginger
When you provide the right environment, Awapuhi grows quickly and spreads easily. Control its height and keep it tidy by pruning away dead and damaged leaves as needed.
Divide and harvest the rhizomes annually in the springtime, starting when your plant is about a year old. This will help prevent container plants from becoming root-bound and outdoor plants from trampling over other plants.
To harvest the liquid, wait until your plant is producing flower heads. You can simply squeeze the liquid into jars when they transition from green to deep red.
You can use the liquid as-is for an all-natural shampoo and conditioner. If you have more that you can use quickly, you can freeze the extra.