Siam Tulip
 
 

Siam Tulip - Tuber

Curcuma alismatifolia  

A gorgeous tropical surprise!

This tropical plant, Siam Tulip (Curcuma alismatifolia) is not a tulip but a member of the ginger family. It is an easy to grow plant indoors. It is a particularly attractive plant with beautiful foliage! Firstly you will notice the leaves appear, followed by the striking flowers. They are real eye-catchers so give them a prominent place in your living room. When it is nice and warm outside, it can be stood in a sheltered spot on your patio. Do bring indoors again before the first frost.
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The Siam Tulip should be planted in a large, deep pot with a layer of pot shards on the bottom, filled with fresh, humus rich, well-drained, potting compost. Stand it in a sunny spot indoors. The rhizome should be planted about 8 cm deep. Curcuma prefers a moist soil that dries out between watering. It is possible to put Curcuma alismatifolia in a sheltered spot outdoors come late spring as long as the temperature stays above 15°C.

The Siam Tulip in the garden

The Siam Tulip can be planted in the garden in humus-rich, well-drained soil in a sunny spot. Improve the soil with a mix of compost if necessary. Plant the rhizomes 8 cm deep. Siam Tulips rhizomes cannot survive the winter outdoors so dig them up and store them in a wooden box covered with compost or sand, in a dark, frost-free place. To stimulate new growth in the spring it is a good idea to start them off indoors before planting outdoors again.

The flower of the Siam Tulip is mostly a large number of bracts – did you know that? The pink 'flower' is therefore not really a flower. The real flowers are very, very small and hide deeper inside the bracts on a cob, which is practically totally surrounded by the elegant bracts. The Curcuma alismatifolia is very much loved as a cut flower because the bracts stay lovely for a long time. Would you like to use it as a cut flower from your garden? Carefully snip the complete stem from the plant and, as soon as possible, put it into a vase of luke-warm water containing cut flower food.

Curcuma is known as the Siam Tulip or Siamese Tulip so as you would expect, comes originally from Thailand (that used to be called Siam). Curcuma is a relative of various ginger species so belongs in the Zingiberaceae family.

Water your Curcuma alismatifolia well in the summer but allow the potting compost to dry out between watering. We advise using plant food in the watering can when watering to encourage profuse flowering. Do not allow to stand in a saucer full of water. Snip off all overblown flowers, not forgetting the stems to encourage reflowering. Curcuma alismatifolia does well outdoors in a sheltered spot from late spring, as long as the temperature is never below 15°C.

What to do with your Siam Tulip in the winter

The Siam Tulip will not withstand frost so it is best to grow them in pots that can be moved to a cool, frost-free area to survive the winter. Keep the potting compost on the dry side during the winter but do not allow the root ball to dry out. Pot up in the spring, water more and fertilise, then bring into the living room. If the plant has been indoors all year round, a cool room is sufficient to survive the winter.


Preferences

Full sun
Suitable for cutting
Growth height: 75 cm