Tropical Plants for Summer Color Lecture

My favorite ginger is the pine cone ginger. I like it because of its relatively large glossy green leaves, which provide a tropical look in the landscape. However, my favorite characteristic of this plant is its inflorescence, or group of flowers, which resembles a bright red pine cone. Even though they resemble pine cones, they are not woody or hard like a true pine cone. They are fleshy, soft and moist. As a matter of fact, when squeezed, they release a clear, fragrant liquid, which some people bottle and use as shampoo. Shampoo ginger is another common name for this plant because of this characteristic. It produces the showy pine cone structures in late summer through fall.

There is a world of different gingers from which to grow and enjoy. All add a tropical look to the landscape. Some are edible and are used for culinary purposes. The unique flavor of gingerbread cookies comes from the edible ginger Zingiber officinale. It does produce flowers but it is the underground stems (rhizomes) that are used to produce the “ginger” spice. It is used for some medicinal purposes, as well.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a member of the ginger family. This plant does produce attractive flowers but is also used in cooking and is a major component of curry recipes. There also has been interest in turmeric’s possible anti-inflammatory properties.

To learn more about the use of gingers and other tropical ornamentals in our North Florida landscapes, you may be interested in an upcoming lecture.

Pink tropical hibiscus in bloom
Pink tropical hibiscus in bloom.
Credit: Larry Williams

On Monday, May 20, 2024, the UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volunteers in Okaloosa County will provide a lecture titled Tropical Plants for Summer Color. Sheila Dunning, UF/IFAS Commercial Horticulture Agent in Okaloosa County, will be the speaker. In addition to the ornamental tropical gingers, Sheila will cover other colorful tropical plants such as hibiscus, mandevilla, allamanda and others.

The approximately one-hour lecture will begin at 10 a.m. and will be held at the Okaloosa County Extension Office, located at 3098 Airport Road in Crestview, Florida.

There is no charge to attend but seating is limited and registration is required. Please use this Eventbrite link to register:

For more information about this event or about the Lecture Series, please call the UF/IFAS Extension Office at 850-689-5850.

The University of Florida is committed to providing universal access to all of our events. For disability accommodations such as alternate formats of written material, please contact Larry Williams,, 850-689-5850 at least one week in advance.


Posted: May 9, 2024

Category: Events, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, HOME LANDSCAPES, Horticulture
Tags: Allamanda, Ginger, Hibiscus, Mandevilla, Summer Landscape Color, Tropical Plants

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