Alpinia mutica growing in Cairns

Alpinia mutica growing in Cairns

False Cardamom

Alpinia mutica & Alpinia nutans

Synonyms:  Alpinia speciosa, Amomum compactum, Catimbium nutans, Costus zerumbet, Globba nutans, Languas speciosa, Renealmia nutans, Zerumbet speciosum.

False Cardamom is a great evergreen ginger, fantastic for filling mid-ground spaces in tropical or subtropical gardens. There are two species that share the common name of False Cardamom – Alpinia nutans and Alpinia mutica. The species are very similar in appearance, so similar that they can be difficult to tell apart. As such, this article will treat them as the same, as care is identical.

Like most Alpinia species, this plant is fully evergreen in the subtropics and will remain looking neat and tidy if it’s well cared for. Feed and water regularly during the warmer months but keep much drier over winter to prevent root rot and other fungal diseases. Larger clumps of False Cardamom will produce a white flower. Perhaps the best feature of the plant is the fragrant foliage. It smells somewhere between cinnamon and citrus. False Cardomom is a joy to prune!
Maintenance of False Cardamom is easy. All it will need is a tidy up once for twice a year. Get in and cut older stems back to the ground. Remove dead leaves and spent flowers. Hedging of this plant will be ineffective. Not suitable for shaping.
False Cardamom will adapt to a range of soil types, but will do best in rich free draining soil. Although they will handle full sun, around Brisbane we recommend planting them in part sun. This will help prevent them burning or scorching during hot weather.


  • Tropical gardens
  • Formal gardens
  • Potted specimen
  • Commercial plantings
  • Border plant
  • Fragrant gardens


Easy to grow. Does best in rich, free-draining soil in full sun or part shade. Water regularly in summer, keep an eye out for mealybug. Use quality fertilizer such as Troforte or Organic Link regularly to produce strong and dense growth.


  • Strappy green leaves

  • Fragrant foliage
  • Dense clumping habit.
  • White shell ginger flowers

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    Height: 100-180cm
    Width: 100-200cm (clumping)


    Full sun to part shade


    Moderate watering. Can survive drought periods once established.

    Growth Rate

    Moderate growth rate.
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