Etlingera elatior, or Torch Gingers are well known plants in tropical and subtropical Australia. The colorful inflorescences closely resemble waratahs and they are sometimes called tropical waratah. The majority of the more ornamental varieties come from Malaysia. There they are also used medicinally and in cooking.
Red and pink are the most common Torch Gingers planted in Australia. However, there are many other interesting varieties that are gaining popularity with gardeners as they realize how easy they are to grow. Many Torch and Tulip Gingers are crossing the boundary between collector’s plants and the home garden. The flowers of Torch Gingers are suitable to being used in flower displays. They tend to last longer when cut in a slightly opened bud stage.
You'll find in general they prefer a warm, protected position, rich, moist soil and are more tolerant of heavy clay soils than heliconias.
Torch Gingers are not suitable to gardens below Northern New South Wales or inland tropical gardens. They have no cold tolerance and prefer high humidity.