In late summer, from the centre of a stout growth of heavily corrugated dark green leaves, arise spikes of large, brilliant purple, orchid-like flowers with a white throat and slightly paler hood. These completely hardy, herbaceous relatives of the tropical gingers grow in the wild at great altitude in the eastern Himalayas, in Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and Sikkim. RHS Trials gave them an AGM, and noted that they were "Good value plants that are vigorous and produce plenty of flowers over a long period."
Seeds can be sown at any time but are best sown in winter or early spring to benefit from a cold spell in the wet compost to break their dormancy. We advise covering seeds very thinly with sand or fine grit to about the depth of the seed size. If the seeds do not come up within 6 to 12 weeks the damp seed tray can be given cold treatment in a fridge for about four weeks. They may still take very many months to appear, so please never discard the pot or tray.