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Publication #FPS-622

Zingiber zerumbet Pine Cone Lily, Pine Cone Ginger1

Edward F. Gilman2


The multiple stems with lush, ginger-like foliage appear in springtime, eventually forming large clumps and providing a tropical effect in the landscape (Fig. 1). Short, bracted inflorescences, resembling red pine cones, appear from the ground on 10-inch-tall stalks in autumn and are much favored for use in floral arrangements.

Figure 1. 

Pine cone lily.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Zingiber zerumbet

Pronunciation: ZIN-jib-ber ZAIR-rum-bet

Common name(s): pine cone lily, pine cone ginger

Family: Zingiberaceae

Plant type: herbaceous

USDA hardiness zones: 9 through 11 (Fig. 2)

Planting month for zone 9: year round

Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round

Origin: not native to North America

Uses: specimen; container or above-ground planter; border; naturalizing; accent

Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Figure 2. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Height: 4 to 7 feet
Spread: 4 to 6 feet
Plant habit: upright; spreading
Plant density: open
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: coarse


Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: lanceolate
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: semi-evergreen
Leaf blade length: 8 to 12 inches
Leaf color: variegated
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy


Flower color: red
Flower characteristic: summer flowering


Fruit shape: unknown
Fruit length: unknown
Fruit cover: dry or hard
Fruit color: red
Fruit characteristic: persists on the plant

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: typically multi-trunked or clumping stems
Current year stem/twig color: green
Current year stem/twig thickness: very thick


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: occasionally wet; slightly alkaline; clay; sand; acidic; loam
Drought tolerance: moderate
Soil salt tolerances: poor
Plant spacing: 24 to 36 inches


Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

Pine cone lily grows best on fertile, moist soil in full sun or partial shade. Plants are moderately salt-tolerant.
The cultivar 'Darceyi' has glistening, green and white foliage.
Plants are propagated by division of the matted clumps.

Pests and Diseases

Mites are the only pest problem of note.

No diseases are of major concern.



This document is FPS-622, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at


Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.