620 Globba winitiiCommon Names: dancing ladies ginger, dancing girls ginger Family: Zingiberaceae (ginger Family)
The foliage of dancing ladies grows to about 2 ft (0.6 m) high with long, lance shaped leaves on short stems. The plants slowly increase to form open clumps of greenery, but the real attraction is the unusual flowers. The inflorescence hangs down from the stem and is comprised of showy bracts in purple or white with tiny yellow flowers. The common name "dancing ladies" is derived from the way the flowers seem to dance in the air suspended from the bracts. The flowers will appear sporadically from July until dormancy in the fall.
The species Globba winitii has mauve-purple bracts, but there are several popular cultivars in other colors. 'White Dragon' has, as the name implies, pure white bracts with the same yellow flowers. 'Red Leaf' has pinkish purple bracts and a reddish tint on the undersides of the leaves. A grower in Hawaii has patented a series of cultivars called the "Dancing Jewels" that have been marketed in national retail chains. These include 'Ruby Queen', 'Pristina Pink', 'Purest Angel' (white) and 'Blushing Maiden' (pink and white). 'Ruby Queen' was chosen as the Best New Flowering Plant at the 1999 Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition in Florida.
Globba winitii is native to Thailand and Viet Nam.
CulturePlant dancing ladies in fertile, organic, well-drained soil. They will go dormant in winter, so be sure to mark their spots, as they are among the last of the plants to reappear in spring. In colder climates, the rhizomes may be lifted in winter and stored in a cool garage or basement in slightly damp peat. These plants are virtually pest free and very easy to grow if given suitable conditions. Light: Provide full shade. Will tolerate a little sun if kept moist. Moisture: Needs regular moisture in well drained soil during the growing season. Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 11. Propagation: Dancing ladies ginger is propagated by division of clumps during growing season or by cutting pieces of dormant rhizome.
Dancing ladies are ideal for the front of a shady border. Plant them close to a path where the unusual flowers can be viewed up close. They can be used as container plants in warm summer areas, but will not bloom well in cool climates since they require night-time temperatures of 65ºF (18.3ºC) or higher.
Globba winitii's unusual and showy flowers add color and excitement to the shade garden. As a bonus, these beauties are excellent for cutting and arranging.
Dave Skinner 1/18/00; updated 1/22/04