How To Grow & Care For Shampoo Ginger

Shampoo Ginger, known for its extraordinary conical flowers filled with a fragrant, clear jelly-like substance, is an exotic and fascinating plant. The substance, often referred to as ‘ginger shampoo,’ was traditionally used in Asia as a hair treatment and is known for its sweet and refreshing fragrance. The plant itself adds an exotic touch to gardens, especially in tropical or subtropical regions.

A member of the ginger family, Shampoo Ginger (Zingiber zerumbet) has bright green, lance-shaped leaves that grow in an attractive clump. But it’s the remarkable flowers that steal the show, emerging as green cones that turn a deep red color as they mature. The flowers are known to contain compounds that have medicinal properties and have been used in traditional medicine for various ailments.

The growth of Shampoo Ginger is best suited for regions with warm, humid climates. The plant goes dormant in the winter, with the leaves dying back, only to regrow vigorously with the return of warm weather. It’s a plant that offers both aesthetic beauty and practical uses, making it a unique addition to any garden.

Common NamesShampoo Ginger, Pinecone Ginger, Bitter Ginger
Botanical NameZingiber zerumbet
Plant TypeHerbaceous perennial
Mature Size3-7 feet
Sun ExposurePartial shade
Soil TypeRich, well-drained soil
Hardiness Zones8-11
Native AreaSoutheast Asia

Shampoo Ginger Care

Caring for Shampoo Ginger is relatively simple, especially if the right growing conditions are provided. The plant needs a location with partial shade and requires a rich, well-draining soil that is kept consistently moist.

During the growing season, Shampoo Ginger requires regular watering and appreciates a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to encourage vigorous growth. In winter, when the plant goes dormant, watering can be reduced, and the dead foliage can be removed to keep the area tidy.

Light Requirement for Shampoo Ginger

Shampoo Ginger prefers partial shade, especially in hot climates. While it can tolerate some sun, too much direct sunlight can cause leaf scorching. A location with filtered sunlight or dappled shade is ideal for this plant.

Soil Requirements for Shampoo Ginger

Rich, well-drained soil is essential for Shampoo Ginger. The addition of organic matter or compost can enhance soil quality, providing the nutrients the plant needs to thrive. The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged.

Water Requirements for Shampoo Ginger

Shampoo Ginger requires consistent moisture, especially during the growing season. Regular, deep watering helps the plant produce lush growth and vibrant flowers. In winter, when the plant is dormant, watering can be reduced.

Temperature and Humidity

Shampoo Ginger thrives in warm, humid conditions. It is not frost-tolerant and requires protection or indoor placement in regions where frost may occur. A humid environment is ideal, but the plant can adapt to average household humidity levels if grown indoors.


A balanced, slow-release fertilizer applied in the spring can support healthy growth. Shampoo Ginger will appreciate regular feeding during the growing season but does not require excessive fertilization.

Pruning Shampoo Ginger

Pruning is generally limited to removing dead or yellowing leaves to maintain the plant’s appearance. In winter, the foliage may die back, and it can be cut back to ground level.

Propagating Shampoo Ginger

Propagation is most commonly done through division of the rhizomes. This can be performed in early spring before new growth starts.

How To Grow Shampoo Ginger From Seed

Growing Shampoo Ginger from seed is rare and typically done by professionals. For most gardeners, propagation through division is the preferred method.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases


Aphids may attack the plant. Insecticidal soap can be used for control.

Fungal Diseases

Proper spacing and avoiding water on leaves can prevent fungal problems.

Common Problems With Shampoo Ginger

Leaf Scorch

Occurs with too much sunlight. Provide shade or filter the light.

Root Rot

Caused by waterlogged soil. Ensure proper drainage.

Winter Damage

Protect from frost or move indoors if necessary.

Pro Tips

  1. Plant Shampoo Ginger in groups for a more dramatic visual effect.
  2. Consider planting near water features to take advantage of the plant’s love for humidity.
  3. Use the fragrant jelly from the flowers for natural hair care.
  4. In colder regions, consider growing Shampoo Ginger in containers to easily move indoors during winter.