My cornukaempferia has finally flowered. Everything happened really fast and I have to admit I took things for granted for not fishing out my camera to snap the necessary pictures to document the process. I vaguely remembered that I saw the flower bud appearing in the morning. Thinking that it will only bloom a few days later, I did not rush to take emerging flower bud. By late afternoon, when I passed by my plants, I cannot help to notice a strange golden colour that I have never noticed in my plants. I took a closer look and I realised one of my cornukaempferia plants has flowered. The flower only lasted a day. It faded by the following day morning.
This ginger is endemic to Thailand and there are only two species in this genus. The genus was already well known and before it was coined Cornukaempferia, the two species have been classified under other ginger genera like Kaempferia and Boesenbergia. The genus name, Cornukaempferia, is derived from the Greek word for horn, as in “cornu” and the word “kaempferia” at the back is to indicate the similarity of the plant’s aerial parts to plants belonging to the Kaempferia genus.
The species I have grown is C. aurantiflora, which is a day-blooming species. The other species, C. longipetiola, blooms at night. The specific name of the former species, aurantiflora, refers to the golden colour of the flower that it produces. The flowers are decorative enough but we should also not forget about the leaves which are also highly ornamental. The markings on the leaves have a silver iridescence.
I chose to grow my plants indoors under artificial lights which are turned on for 12 hours daily because I have encountered bad experiences of growing similar gingers outdoors as the snails and slugs will make a delicious meal of out of them. The plants are growing fine – the foliage colour came out nicely and the leaves grew quite large. In the plants I have, I am now seeing more new shoots arising from the rhizomes below. I situated them right in the middle of two daylight fluorescent tubes where the light intensity is the highest.
I allow the plants to dry out a little before watering as related gingers tend to have a tendency to rot if the substrate is overly wet. However, I also do not let the plants to experience prolonged drought and hence they never go limp. Plants that have undergone prolonged dryness may instead go dormant. I have placed a reservoir of slow-release fertiliser at the base of the pot.
So far, I have not experienced any problems growing this rewarding and beautiful species of ginger except that I noticed the margin of the leaves tend to become a little brownish and dry. I thought that may have been caused by the relatively low air humidity as well as the heat that has been emitted from the light tubes. My friend, on the other hand, thinks it may be due to overfeeding.