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Siam-tulip
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Siam-tulip
Interesting Facts

Siam Tulip (Curcuma alismatifolia 'Carara') is related to the popular ginger species Turmeric.

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Siam Tulip   Carara (Curcuma alismatifolia)

Carara Ginger
Hidden Ginger

Siam Tulip (Curcuma alismatifolia 'Carara') is a deciduous tropical perennial.  Starting around October-November the plant goes dormant and loses it's foliage.  Siam Tulip is Native to Thailand. It is hardy to zones 9-11.  Plants form clumps and reach 18-32 inches in height at maturity.  Siam Tulip blooms mid summer to early fall.  Ranging in color from white, pink, light pink and rose.  Plants do best in a well draining neutral soil type.  Siam Tulip has many uses from containerized flowering house plant, bedding plant to cut flowers.

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Plant Types: Interior Plant, Perennial, Tropical
Light: Partial Shade to Partial Sun
Height: 1 foot 6 inches to 2 feet 8 inches
Width: 1 foot 6 inches to 2 feet
Zones: 9a to 11b
Bloom Color: Light Pink, Pink, Rose, White, Yellow
Bloom Seasons: Mid summer, Late summer, Early fall
Leaf Color: Green
Shape: Clumping, Mounded, Upright or erect
Fertilizer: Miracle-Gro® Shake 'n Feed® Continuous Release All Purpose Plant Food, Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food
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Plant Care
Planting:

When transplanting Siam Tulip (Curcuma alismatifolia 'Carara') as a plant into the landscape be sure to choose a sunny location with moist well draining fertile soil.  The plant likes wet feet but does not prefer them to be saturated.  Be sure to dig the hole twice the size of the root ball and deep enough that it's top sits flush with the soil surface.  Remove any dead or damaged leaves from the base of the plant before filling the remaining space in the hole with loose top soil.

When growing Siam Tulip in a container choose a well draining potting soil that doesn’t stay saturated.  Choose a container one size bigger than the previous until the plants reach a mature size.  Remove any dead or dying leaves from the base and put the plant in a well lit sunny location for optimal bloom. 

Because Siam Tulip has a rhizomatous root system it requires dividing every 2-3 years to achieve it's best growth.  Dig up the rhizomes and carefully remove any soil.  Cut them into 2 inch sections being certain each one has roots attached.  

When planting rhizomes into the outside landscape pick a location with well draining soil the same as if planting a growing plant.  Before planting be sure each 2 inch section has roots.  Plant each section ½ inch below the soil surface and water in well.  Cover the area with a thin 1 inch layer of mulch to control moisture fluctuations.

When planting rhizomes into containers choose a well draining potting soil.  Pick a container one size bigger than the previous until the plants reach a mature size.  Plant each 2 inch section of rhizome with roots ½ inch below the potting soil surface and water in well.

Harvesting:

Siam Tulip (Curcuma alismatifolia 'Carara') is used as a cut flower due to it's large spectacular long lasting blooms.  Flower stems should be cut as low as possible to the foliage just as the bloom begins to open.  If growing in a sunny location plants should produce blooms until dormancy starts in the fall.

Plant Growth:

Siam Tulip (Curcuma alismatifolia 'Carara') is a deciduous tropical perennial.  Starting in October-November it goes dormant and loses its foliage for the winter months.  Plants will resume growth again in early spring.  Plants form clumps with long smooth green leaves 18-32 inches in height at maturity.  Just like ginger the Siam Tulip has a rhizomatous root system. 

Blooming:

Siam Tulip (Curcuma alismatifolia 'Carara') blooms mid summer, late summer and early fall.  Bloom color can be pink, magenta (pink-purple).  One flower bloom comes from a tubular stem extending from the foliage.  When grown in a container indoors it's important to provide enough direct sunlight to achieve optimal blooming.  Plants will grow in low light conditions but the bloom will not be as spectacular compared to when given sufficient light levels.

Soil and Irrigation:

Siam Tulip (Curcuma alismatifolia 'Carara') prefers a well draining moist soil type.  The plant prefers to not completely dry out but doesn't like a saturated root zone either.  When growing in containers choose a well draining potting soil.

Water Siam Tulip regularly enough to keep the soil moist but not overly saturated.  Do not allow to dry out too much between each irrigation.  Foliage will start to turn brown if being kept too dry.

Fertilization:

Choose a well balanced water soluble general purpose plant fertilizer.  During the growing season fertilize about once per month.  Do not fertilize when plants have lost their foliage and gone dormant.  Begin the regular fertilizer schedule once growth resumes in the spring.

Pruning:

Pruning for Siam Tulip (Curcuma alismatifolia 'Carara') is done the same indoors or outside in the landscape.  It basically consists of dead heading old blooms and removing dead or damaged foliage.  Once blooms have died remove the flower stem as low to the foliage as possible to encourage the best flowering.  As leaves die back they should be removed to prevent disease and promote new growth.  When plants go dormant remove all the old foliage down to the soil surface.

Pests:

Siam Tulip (Curcuma alismatifolia 'Carara') typically doesn't suffer too many issues with disease or pests.  The most common disease problems will be rhizome rot or leaf spots.  The most widespread pests tend to be nematodes, sucking or leaf eating insects and shoot borers.