Insulin Plant (Costus igneus)

Insulin Plant (Costus igneus)

Regular price $22.95

Live Insulin Plant
Ships in 100% Biodegradable Coconut 4" Fiber Planter

Costus igneus, also scientifically known as Chamaecostus cuspidatus, is the name for the so called 'Insulin Plant'. The Insulin Plant is also known by the common names of 'Fiery Costus' or 'Spiral Flag'.  This plant is a member of the Costus family of plants, Costaceae, which are close cousins to the ginger family of plants. 

Insulin Plant is a herbaceous, perennial flowering plant that hardly grows past 2 feet in height. It is native to South America, particularly the country of Brazil. It thrives in sunny areas with a little shade.  It is a rapid growing plant, that spreads from rhizomes that form attractive foliage around the original root stock.  It has large, smooth turmeric-like spiral leaves that are dark green on top with light purple undersides.

The plant features beautiful, orange flowers that are produced in the Summer and the Fall. These flowers appear on cone-like heads at the tips of branches. The flower petals are edible! Costus igneus does well planted in the ground year round in USDA zones 9-11, but is also very suitable for a container garden or above-ground planter. The plant is moderately tolerant of drought. The Insulin Plant makes a beautiful indoor or house plant, perfect for cascading down a wall! 

Studies suggest that Insulin Plant has antimicrobial, antidiabetic, antiproliferative, hepatoprotective properties. The plant is also traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of diabetes. Recent research indicates that compounds within the Insulin plant help regulate blood sugar levels, supporting these traditional uses and claims. The plant does not actually contain insulin, which is a misnomer, and can lead to confusion. The blood sugar regulating effects of the plant are it's prominent medicinal value, and are currently being assessed by pharmaceutical companies for use in over the counter and prescription based diabetes treatments. 

Growing & Managing 
Grow Costus igneus in either full sun or partial shade. Costus igneus needs fertile soil, with plenty of moisture. Due to these requirements, it is often planted near water. It makes a nice aesthetic accent in landscaped shrub borders, where the orange flowers will contrast the greens of the shrub border. Planted on two to three foot centers, Costus igneus can act as a tall ground cover, and can help brighten a partially shaded location.  Propagation is by division of the clumps, cuttings, or by separating the offsets or plantlets that form below the flower heads.

Order Processing & Shipping Schedule
Orders are processed and shipped at the beginning of each week via 1-3 Day USPS Priority Mail.  Average order processing time before shipment ranges from 1-14 days.

Tracking information
A confirmation email with tracking information will be sent immediately upon shipment. You can track the progress of your order online anytime by logging in to your account. Delivery confirmation will be emailed when your plants have reached their destination, so you never miss a beat!

Shipping Cost
Shipping will be calculated at checkout and varies based on order weight and your distance from the nursery.  Shipping is combined for multiple plants. The more you grow, the more you save!

Can I pick up my order at the nursery?
Yes, just select Store Pickup at checkout and schedule your pickup date/time. A member of our team will reach out if the time you have chosen needs to be rescheduled.  There are no same day pickups. 

For more frequently asked questions visit our FAQ's page.

Weather Holds
Orders placed in colder climate zones during the winter months will automatically be placed on hold until Spring or when temperatures in your area are above freezing on the expected date of delivery.  

Heat Packs
Heat packs can be purchased separately to avoid cold weather delays.
If you live in a colder climate and do not want to wait until Spring to get your new plants, we recommend adding a heat pack to your order. Your plants will ship as scheduled and arrive safely, with no risk of freezing on the way to your front door.

Plant Care

Plant Type: Perennial Herb

Harvest Season: Leaves can be harvested year round.  Blooms Summer to Fall.

Size: About 1 to 3 ft tall and wide

Soil & Moisture: Rich, moist, well-draining soil

Exposure: Part Shade, Shade


Climate Zones: USDA plant hardiness Zones 9-11

Patio Planting Zones: 4+

All of our tropical fruiting plants can be grown in small or large containers in northern zones or planted outside in warmer climates.