Shampoo ginger lily (Zingiber zerumbet) is a common plant in Hawaii with leafy stems growing to about 1.2 meters tall. It is native to Asia but can be found in other tropical regions. The plant is also known as Awapuhi Kuahiwi, bitter ginger, or pinecone ginger. Awapuhi is used as food flavoring or as an appetizer in some cuisines, and rhizome extract has found uses in medicine.
One extraordinary feature of this plant is its’ red pinecone-shaped flower, which releases fragrant juice when squeezed. That juice can be used as a hair conditioner, which is why it has this funky name – Shampoo ginger lily (even though the juice is not used as shampoo). If you want to make your own natural cosmetics, such as a hair conditioner, you should probably learn how to grow this plant!
Shampoo ginger lily is a perennial with thick ginger-like roots since it is closely related to ginger. Awapuhi can be invasive in your garden, so make sure to prune and maintain the plant unless you want it to spread around, or you can grow it in a container. Bitter ginger takes 10 months to mature.
Shampoo ginger lily prefers to grow in a humid and warm environment. You can grow pinecone ginger in USDA zones 8b to 10a, and it thrives in locations with full sun to partial shade with 6 hours of sunlight per day. Ideally, the plant wants 70-78 °F or 21,5 to 25 °C, but not lower than 55 °F (12,8 °C). Awapuhi can also be grown indoors in a container if you live in a colder climate.
Awapuhi needs to be in moist soil during the growth period; make sure to water it at least 1 inch per week. Check on your shampoo ginger lily’s soil often; if the top inch of the soil is dried out, you should give it water. During the dormant winter season, water less frequently.
Fertilizing and Soil
Fertilizing is not advised for shampoo ginger lily; instead, change, or add fresh nutrient-rich soil as the growing season starts. As mentioned previously, this plant really needs nutrient-rich soil; you can amend your soil with compost or cow manure. Pinecone ginger prefers slightly acidic soil but can grow in 6-8 pH.
How To Grow Awapuhi From Seed
- Soak the seeds for 8 hours; seeds should become enlarged
- Put nutrient-rich soil in the seeding tray
- Place the seeds 1-2 inches apart from each other into the soil.
- Find a warm and humid area; you can also wrap the tray in plastic, preventing water evaporation.
- Germination can take a long time; allow the seedlings to grow at least 2 months before transplanting.
- Dig up the plant
- Cut off a rhizome, which contains several buds
- Dry the rhizome for a few days, allowing it to heal
- Soak the root for 8 hours and plant your Shampoo ginger lily
- Plant it in nutrient-rich soil, buds facing up, and add a little compost if necessary.
- Water the plant regularly
Common Problems and Diseases
It is usually caused by watering too much. Leaves start yellowing quickly, and the base of the plant will turn brown. You may still be able to save the Shampoo ginger plant. Once this happens, dig up the plant and examine the root; if you see brownish color and mushy texture, clean the roots with water. Snip the brown parts of the root and replant the healthy part.
Tiny yellow, orange or red bugs enjoy feeding on this plant. Your plant can be destroyed in a matter of weeks. Use soap or neem oil or if you prefer to do it completely naturally, find ladybugs and release them on the plants.
Mealybugs leave a white substance on the plant. The first step would be to quarantine the plants to make sure other plants in the house (if you are growing indoors) are not influenced. Make a solution of one part alcohol and three parts water, and add some dish soap. Wash the entire plant, and continue this process until mealybugs are not present.
You can harvest the plant during the growing season; just squeeze the flower gently with a container below it, so you collect all the juice. Another way is at the end of the growing season, just remove flowers from the plant, and you can squeeze the flowers anywhere. Keep in mind that the juice does go “bad”; you can prevent it by freezing the juice.
That’s all! Now you know how to grow pinecone ginger and make your own natural hair conditioner at home!
Frequently Asked Questions
Shampoo ginger lily usually blooms during summer to early fall.