Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Bitter Ginger

Bitter ginger

Bitter ginger

Bitter ginger

Bitter ginger

Botanical name: Zingiber zerumbet

Other names: Pinecone ginger, Pinecone lily, Lempoyang, Awapuhi, Shampoo ginger

This ginger is not especially tasty—much more bitter than its common cousin—but it’s a great ingredient in shampoos and herbal medicines. Take a closer look at the labels on shampoo bottles the next time you need to stock up on hair care. You can use the rhizomes to make a tea to treat coughs and colds. In some cultures, the flower buds are boiled and served as a vegetable side dish. The young shoots and rhizomes of bitter ginger are used as a condiment in much the same way as common ginger; it’s just more bitter. See our Home Remedies & Health Benefits of Ginger section for more uses of bitter ginger and its sweeter cousins.


  • Grows in bright filtered light
  • Fertilize every three months
  • Likes warm soil (mulch helps retain water and heat)

Have you grown Bitter ginger? Is it easy to tend and harvest? Have you used it to make shampoo or home remedies? Please tell us about your experiences growing Bitter ginger.


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