Costus spectabilis (Yellow Trumpet)

Scientific Name

Costus spectabilis (Fenzl) K.Schum.

Common Names

Yellow Trumpet

Synonyms

Cadalvena spectabilis (basionym), Cadalvena dalzielii, Cadalvena pistiifolia, Costus pistiifolius, Kaempferia spectabilis

Scientific Classification

Family: Costaceae
Genus: Costus

Flower

Color: Orange
Bloom Time: Late spring to early winter

Description

Costus spectabilis is a herbaceous, perennial plant that produces 4 large, fleshy leaves which lie flat on the ground and form a basal rosette. They are glabrous above and pubescent below, especially along the midrib. The leaf margin is entire, often with an edging of purple-pink. The inflorescence is terminal, growing from the center of the rosette. The flowers are showy, yellow, and open singly and die rapidly, but are immediately followed by another. The species becomes dormant during winter, shrinking to a centipede-like rhizome without roots.

Costus spectabilis - Yellow Trumpet
Photo via centralafricanplants.senckenberg.de

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 8b to 10b: from 15 °F (−9.4 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Costus fall into the tropical category, so if you do well with philodendrons and other tropical plants, you should be able to grow Costus without too much issue. They aren't terribly picky about their light, but the key to successful growth is lots of water and lots of fertilizer to keep up with their heavy demands. If your plant starts to suffer from brown leaf margins, it most likely is being underwatered or exposed to cold drafts. Try to raise the humidity and increase the water. Costus are susceptible to mealybugs and aphids. Keep a careful eye on your plants and inspect them to catch infestations early and treat immediately. Severely infected plants should be discarded.

Depending on the species, you'll probably need to repot your Costus annually, in the beginning of the growing season. If you want to keep it a manageable size, use this as an opportunity to divide the rhizome and refresh your potting soil, but keep it in the same size pot. Some of the larger species can grow to 10 feet (3 m) or more, so be aware of the potential size issue… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Costus.

Origin

It is found from Sierra Leone to Sudan to as far south as Angola and Zimbabwe.

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