Flowers & Blooms

How to Grow Ginger

Ginger is very healthy and tasty, so it’s not surprising it’s a staple in Asian cuisine. It’s often grown in other parts of the world, too. It’s very popular and used in many recipes. Numerous studies show that ginger offers many health benefits.

Ginger is a tropical plant but the good news is that it can easily adapt to container planting and indoor planting, so it’s possible to grow it all around the world, regardless of your climate. This way, you can enjoy fresh ginger throughout the year. It’s really not difficult to grow so you can do it in your home.

Before Planting

There are some things you need to know before you plant your ginger. The first thing you should do is to choose the right type of ginger you wish to grow in your home. The most popular variety is basic ginger root (Zingiber officinale). Asian cuisine includes ginger in savory dishes, while in America, it’s mostly used for breads, cookies and Ginger ales.

Keep in mind that not all ginger varieties are considered edible. This is why you have some types that are grown for the plants and flowers.

Most commonly, ginger is home-grown from tubers. Check with your local grocery store to find ginger root to propagate. When purchasing tubers, make sure to choose the ones that look plump and healthy. They should be firm, with several fingers of growing buds. Don’t buy damaged or dry tubers; it’s important that you plant the strongest, healthier ones.

Before you plant your ginger, you need to find a suitable place to grow it. Unless you live in a hot climate, it’s best to grow your ginger indoors. Those who live in US hardiness zone 10 or higher can grow ginger outdoors.

Whatever location you may choose, make sure that your ginger has enough room to grow. If you grow them in containers, keep in mind that each container should be at least twice the size of the tuber. If you want to plant more than one tuber per container, your container has to be at least 14 to 16 inches in diameter and 12 inches deep.

If climate conditions allow you to grow your ginger outdoors, make sure to choose a place with light shade. Ginger has to be planted in well-drained soil. It’s also important to protect your ginger from high winds.

Before you plant your ginger, make sure to prepare the soil adequately. Mix organic material or compost into soil to fill the container. If you choose to grow your ginger outdoors, make sure to amend the garden soil. You may also use commercially prepared potting soil: ginger can thrive in this type of medium.

Planting and Maintenance

Once you have prepared your containers and soil, it’s time to plant your ginger. You will need ginger root and your soil ready.

The best way to plant is to prepare the tubers. Soak them in water overnight before planting. To plant, fill containers with prepared soil or loosen the dirt in your garden. Carefully, place ginger in the soil and make sure that the buds are facing up. Cover with a thin layer of soil. Some people even choose to leave them uncovered.

You should water your ginger lightly until the plant becomes established. Other than this, ginger requires very little maintenance. You should keep young ginger plants in the shade and water regularly to preserve moisture. However, keep in mind that soil should be moist but not wet.

It’s also important to know how to harvest ginger in the most efficient way. You will need garden clippers or scissors and a small garden trowel. Wait until the plant matures to start harvesting. When your ginger is mature, you can clip tender new shoots and use them for cooking. If you want to harvest ginger roots, simply dig up new tubers that appear at the base.

Keep in mind that ginger is dormant during winter months. You should allow your plant to dry during this period.

Additional Tips

  • Generally speaking, ginger takes about 10 months to mature. Mature plants are about 2 to 4 inches high.
  • To get the best, tasty ginger, you need to know when to harvest the roots. Roots reach the optimum flavor at 265 days.
  • Remember: you should not place your ginger outdoors unless the daytime temperature exceeds 75 degrees F. You should move your plants indoors when the temperatures drop below 50 degrees F.
  • To store ginger properly, wash tubers but don’t peel them. Place them in a bag and freeze them. When you want to use them, simply remove them from the freezer and use a vegetable peeler to pare off portions and use them for your recipes.

Photo credit: janine berben via photopin cc