Permaculture Plant: White ginger

This versatile perennial herb from the Zingiberaceae family has many uses – but beware its weedy potential.

Botanically Heychium coranarium, white ginger is also known as Cuban ginger and is the national flower of that country. During Spanish colonial times, women would hide messages for members of the independence movement inside the intricate flowers.


White ginger forms a dense, waist-high clump that spreads slowly and can be cultivated by dividing the rhizomes.

Rarely seen in nurseries, it’s naturally a tropical plant originating in Asia and will tolerate temperatures as low as –5 ºC, but will die back in winter outside tropical and warm subtropical climates.