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More Information About Costus

The genus Costus contains just over 100 species of tropical perennials native to Asia, Africa, Central and South America that are distant cousins to bananas and gingers. The architecture of the costus plant is fascinating, with the large leaves arranged like a spiral staircase curving around the stem. In the wild, a costus stem will grow to 6' tall but in warm temperate climates, 3' is typical. In late summer and fall, Costus stems are topped with a red cone-like structure from which grow crinkled, crepe-paper-like white flowers. Costus flowers fade away shortly, but the attractive red cone made of bracts persists until the plant is killed back to the ground by cold weather.

Costus prefers direct morning sun followed by partial sun in the afternoon. Soils should be well-drained and consistently moist. Since costus is a heavy feeder the soil should also be well-amended with compost. In the perennial garden, combine costus with zingiber, hedychium, canna, alocasia and musa for a nice little tropical paradise garden.

The Kama Sutra provides several recipes for using costus to attract a mate: women can make themselves more attractive to men by either preparing a skin lotion from the plant or burning a powder made from the plant and applying the black ashes to their eyelashes. Men can rub the juices of the plant onto a reed pipe and any women who hears him play it will become his slave. When you are ready to buy costus for your perennial garden or for medicinal use, we hope you'll check out our online list of costus for sale.