Light Up Shady Corners with Variegated Hardy Ginger Plants

White Feather Hardy Ginger in July

One of the advantages of belonging to a garden club is that you are introduced to new plants, as well as new friends. Last fall, in one of my garden clubs’ plant swaps, I came home with White Feather ginger (Zingiber mioga ‘White Feather’). My friends told me that it was a hardy ginger plant that would survive our winters. They also mentioned that its cousin ‘Dancing Crane’ was astounding with beautiful white and green variegation.

I planted White Feather in a shady location in my Virginia garden, inserted a label, and forgot about it until this year. I had noticed that something was emerging in April. In July, the plant was about 2 feet tall and wide and I could clearly see the pretty variegation.  White Feather is a rhizomatous perennial that will spread over time in a nice, divide-and-share-with-your-friends way.

This is such a pretty plant I do not know why more people do not grow this. Despite the tropical appearance of the leaves, it is hardy to zone 6, which means I do not have to dig it up and bring it inside in the fall. The variegated leaves light up a shady area and favor an oriental appearance. So far, there have been no pests or diseases.

White Feather Hardy Ginger in October

According to Tony Avent, owner of Plant Delights Nursery in North Carolina, there are three variegated forms. The most striking is Dancing Crane, which has white color in the middle of the leaves. White Feather has white color along the edge of the green leaves, and Silver Arrow is more subdued with lightly flecked leaves.

This is not the plant that produces the ginger root you buy in a store and grate for culinary use (Zingiber officinalis). This particular type is called Japanese ginger, mioga, or myoga ginger, and is grown for young spring shoots that are eaten like asparagus and for flower buds that are used in soups, tofu, sushi, and pickled vegetables.

Close Up of White Feather Flower

I have been looking for the flowers since September. Today, in October, I finally found several flowers which are only visible if you know to look down and under the foliage. They are ephemeral, a ghostly shade of yellow, certainly not something you would pick for a vase. They are only an inch off the ground and about 3 inches wide. They dissipate quickly; they seem to dissolve back into the ground after a few days. Still they add to White Feather’s intrigue, and by now my plant has grown to about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide.

I recommend White Feather and I can see why others raved about Dancing Crane. Dancing Crane has more striking variegation and if it performs as well as White Feather, it would be a great addition to a garden. Next year, plant these hardy gingers in your garden to light up a shady corner.

Several White Feather Flowers

 

 

7 responses to “Light Up Shady Corners with Variegated Hardy Ginger Plants

  1. I think I just got “dancing crane” at the Green Springs Garden Day Sale. Where did you get “White Feather”?

    • From the same garden club that we are members of, at the fall plant exchange last year at someone’s house. That is where I heard about Dancing Crane, that some members already had, but the only plant available at that particular plant swap was White Feather. Am very pleased with it.

  2. I bought one Dancing Crane from Plant Delights a few years ago, and now have loads of them. They seem to be happy in any bed, shade, sun, wet, dry. Almost invasive, but I love them, and it’s pretty easy to pull out the underground runners.

  3. Doesn’t ‘Dancing Crane’ have a bit of yellow in it? I happen to prefer the white, but it is uncommon. Other gingers are grown more for their fragrant flowers than foliage. They can get a bit wild! My colleague down south just recently acquired a blue ginger that he had been wanting since we were kids, only to find out that it is not a ginger at all. Duh; I could have told him that!

  4. Hi Peg, thanks for sharing the ‘Dancing Crane’ with our table at Dan and Jim’s yesterday. I’m glad to connect with your website.

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