Ginger is the go-to spice for everything from Indian curry to Asian stir-fry, and it’s easy to spot at just about any local grocery store. While ginger root is not the easiest to grow since it is a tropical plant, it is possible if you provide it with the right conditions. We’ll show you how to plant ginger at home, give it proper care, and how to harvest and store this flavorful root.
Most ginger is cultivated in Indonesia, India, and West Africa before it arrives on the store shelf. However, there are tropical or subtropical areas in the United States where it is possible to grow ginger root, including Florida, Southern Texas, and Louisiana.
However, if you live in a cold temperate region, there are still ways to grow ginger at home. While it is a bit of a learning curve for a beginning gardener, the result is worth the time and effort, and you’re rewarded with your very own ginger root.
- How to Grow Your Own Ginger
How to Grow Your Own Ginger
While you can always substitute ginger powder for fresh ginger, growing your own is quite satisfying. Planting ginger is not as straightforward as garden veggies such as tomatoes or peppers, though, since it grows ideally in warm climates. However, there are ways to grow ginger indoors as a houseplant or in the garden if you live in the right area.
Some Helpful Tips Before Planting Ginger Root
Before you begin planting ginger root in the garden or your home, like when planting turmeric in containers, it’s a good idea to understand what this plant is and what it needs to grow. Here are some useful bits of information to help you on your way to growing your own ginger.
Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale)
This plant belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, is closely related to turmeric, and is native to Southeast Asia.
Ginger rhizomes grow underground and are the common part used for spices and considered one of the healthiest. This root is prepared fresh, dried, powdered, and juiced, and useful in a wide variety of herbal remedies.
This warm climate plant is suitable for growing outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 7 and higher. It grows best in loamy or sandy dirt with good drainage, enjoys moist but not soggy soil, and prefers partial shade.
Note that there is a difference between planting ginseng and ginger. Ginseng takes way longer to grow to maturity than ginger and is used a little differently in the kitchen.
How to Plant Ginger Root Indoors
If you do not live in the right climate for growing ginger from root outside in a garden setting, it is still possible to grow it in your home. Here is how to plant ginger root indoors and grow it as a houseplant.
Planting ginger in a pot is simple, but it’s essential to choose a container with drainage holes that is easy to move in and out of the house as needed. Start by purchasing a healthy root from your local nursery.
Grocery store ginger is sometimes treated with a growth inhibitor to keep it from sprouting. Choose one that is plump with smooth skin and avoid those that are shriveled and skinny.
Place the root in a glass of warm water to soak overnight and then cut it into smaller pieces, allowing a few bumps per section. When growing ginger in pots, fill a container with potting mix, and bury each piece two to five inches beneath the dirt so that they are just barely covered.
Water the soil, so it’s wet but not soggy, and place it in a sunny window where the temperature is a consistent 75°F. Move the plant outdoors on warm summer days, bring it back inside by evening, and watch as the plant sprouts in about six to eight weeks.
How to Plant Ginger Root in the Garden
These plants love warm temperatures and thrive in southern regions of the United States. If you are fortunate enough to live in a tropical-like climate, then growing ginger root in your garden is the way to go. Here is how and when to plant ginger outside.
In the early spring, choose a planting site where the ginger receives two to five hours of full sun every day and make sure the soil is loamy with rich, organic material. Cut the tubers into one-inch pieces, making sure that each piece has growth buds.
Put them aside for a couple of days to allow them to heal and callus. If you decide to grow ginger from the grocery store, make sure it is organic and not treated with a growth retardant.
Dig holes in the garden that are two to four inches deep and six to eight inches apart. Place a rhizome into each hole with the buds facing upward and cover them with soil. Give them a drink of water and mist them regularly as needed.
Caring for Ginger While it Grows
Planting ginger root indoors or outside is only the beginning of the growing process. These plants require the right amount of sunshine, warmth, and water to grow healthy and produce delicious ginger roots.
If you have poor garden soil, add a slow-release organic fertilizer right after planting and apply a liquid fertilizer once every few weeks. Make sure to use a fertilizer that is high in phosphorous.
Spread mulch over the garden bed to keep the soil moist and stop weeds from taking nutrients out of the ground.
Whether you plant ginger indoors or outside, do not allow the ginger plants to dry out while actively growing, but avoid overwatering them. Reduce watering as the weather cools to encourage them to grow underground rhizomes
Common Difficulties when Growing Ginger
Unfortunately, all types of plants encounter problems at one time or another as they grow. Ginger plants deal with a range of garden pests and diseases, mainly when grown outdoors. Here are signs to look for and ways to remedy the issue.
Overwatering is one of the biggest issues that occur with ginger plants. Giving them too much water causes the roots to rot and increases the chance of disease.
Another problem is bacterial wilt. This disease causes the leaves to curl and get water-soaked spots, and it’s vital to remove the damaged foliage right away and apply an organic fungicide.
Insects are another problem ginger deals with, and Chinese rose beetles are one of them. These large brown beetles eat all of the leaves, and you only notice them at dusk.
Aphids, mites, and thrips are also common pests, and spraying the foliage with neem oil keeps them in check.
When Can You Harvest Ginger?
Every gardener agrees that harvest time is the best part of growing a vegetable or herb garden. After all the work you put into planting and caring for your ginger, it’s time to reap the benefits.
Similar to how long do turmeric roots take to grow, ginger grows roughly eight to ten months before harvesting and reaches about two to three feet tall once mature. Once they are ready for harvesting, use a hand shovel to dig up the entire plant.
To harvest only a small portion of the root, use your hand to feel beneath the soil around the plant and cut a section that is two inches away from where the stalk meets the rhizome.
Ways to Store Ginger Root after Harvesting
All of your ginger roots are harvested and awaiting the next step. But, what is the ideal way to save these roots for optimal freshness? Does ginger root go bad? Here are a few simple ways to store ginger short and long term.
After harvesting the ginger root, brush off excess dirt but do not wash it. Leave it dry with the skin in place and store it in a dark and cool area of your home.
For long-term storage, peel the skin from the roots and cut them into slices or grate them. What is ginger root shelf life in the freezer? Place the prepared ginger in a freezer bag, push out the air, seal it shut, and set it in the freezer for up to six months.
How to Propagate Your Own Ginger
Your local nursery or an online seed company is not the only place to find ginger tubers for planting. It’s easy to grow more ginger from your existing roots and replant them in your garden.
Ginger Root Propagation
Set aside a good rhizome with plenty of nodes for replanting while you harvest your ginger from a pot or garden. Slice the rhizome into smaller pieces, making sure each section has two to three nodes each.
Put them aside to dry out for a couple of days, and then plant them in a new pot in a partial shade spot in the garden.
While growers agree that growing a ginger plant requires the right climate and conditions, it is possible no matter where you live. All it takes is a little know-how and some tender loving care to grow these root spices for you to enjoy fresh ginger all year-round.
We hope that you enjoyed learning how to plant ginger in your garden or home, and we’d love it if you’d share our ginger root growing guide and tips with the gardeners in your life on Facebook and Pinterest.