Plant of the Month for Jun 2023

Roscoea cautleyoides

Description and General Information:

Roscoea are the hardiest members of the Ginger family. This species is native to open pine forests and into open meadows of alpine regions in Sichuan and Yunnan, growing at elevations between 2000-3500m. Each stem has 3-4 upright and narrow 15 cm leaves.  Flowers stems reach 20-50 cm and are topped with a few pale yellow, orchid-like flowers in May to August.  There are many named selections whose flowers range from white, shades of yellow, to magenta-purple.

Roscoea cautleyoides

Blooming Season:

May in milder areas to July at the north end of its range.


Roscoea prefer cool, organic-rich soil that is well-drained.  They are generally intolerant of high heat and humidity. In northern areas, place them in full sun but in warmer areas afternoon shade is required.  In North America they perform best in coastal Pacific NW and along the east coast of Canada and the northern New England States.  Plants arise from a tuberous root which should be planted 15 cm deep. They can be slow to germinate in the spring and may not show themselves until June or July.  Generally Roscoea are considered woodland plants and mix well with other woodlanders.  Roscoea are appreciated for their mid to late summer flowers although Roscoea cautleyoides itself is a relatively early bloomer. Hardy zone 6-8 with the caveat that it dislikes excessive heat.  With a thick winter mulch, this species is known to survive into zone 5.

Roscoea cautleyoides Roscoea cautleyoides, alba form



Larger plants may be dug and divided in spring or early summer just when the plants sprout.  Seed propagation is also quite easy.  Direct sow at 20 C and germination should commence in 3-4 weeks.

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