Dichorisandra thyrsiflora

Dichorisandra thyrsiflora


The Blue Ginger.


This must be the most spectacularly blue flowering plant that I know. It flowers in the autumn and Dichorisandra thyrsiflora is its scientific name. There are about 25 species in the genus which come from the tropical Americas and the West Indies with this one coming from South-eastern Brazil. Although called Blue Ginger it is not related to the Gingers (Zingiberaceae). Dichorisandras belong to the Commelinaceae or Spiderwort family to which Tradescantia (Wandering Willie) belong.

A deciduous perennial, the Blue Ginger drops its leaves after flowering in the early winter. Growing in warmer climates than ours or in a glasshouse it can reach a metre or more in height but I find in my place that about 80 cm would be its height. The plant gradually clumps up with generally unbranched, canelike, fleshy stems arising from the base each spring. Generally towards the top of the canes are the dark green, lustrous leave which are purplish on the back. The plant prefers a semi-shady site with moisture over the summer months. Some of my books say that it prefers a drying off in the winter but my plant seems to survive the wet winters we have, though most tropical plants are better able to stand our cold if it is dry during that period.

It is the crowded panicles up to 15cm long of electric blue flowers crowning the top of the stems that make it such a show stopper. Contrasting with the beautiful blue petals are stamens of bright yellow. In its home country the flowers are a good butterfly attractant but I have not seen that happening here.

Only a plant for a good, warm, well drained position outdoors or as an indoor plant the Blue Ginger is well worth a try if you have the right spot.