How to Propagate Ginger from Root

Growing Vegetables
Propagate Ginger Root

Ginger is an amazing edible plant that many people use in their kitchen. However, it is also an excellent plant you can grow in your home. There are several popular varieties of ginger you can find in homes. Common, also known as edible ginger, is a culinary plant that is hardy in the US zones 9 to 12. Another popular type is the ornamental ginger plant, which comes in many different varieties. Butterfly ginger and peacock ginger are a common variety of ornamental ginger plants, and these are hardy in the US zones 8 to 11.

Ginger is a tropical plant, but the good news is that it can be easily grown in a home or a garden around the world. Also, it is not as difficult to propagate ginger: all you need is its root.

Keep in mind that ginger plant is a vegetable, even though people often refer to it as an herb or a spice. Dried ginger is generally called a spice while fresh ginger root is referred to as an herb. But it is a vegetable with a rhizome, which is important for understanding how the plant grows. It is also useful to remember if you wish to propagate ginger plants.

These are all rhizome plants, which determines the best and easiest way of propagation. If you wish to propagate your ginger plant, you should do it with rhizomes. This method is straightforward and it doesn't require much skill, although you need to be gentle and to follow a few simple steps.

How to Propagate Ginger Rhizomes

The first step when you wish to propagate ginger is to choose its rhizomes that you wish to divide. If you don't have a ready ginger plant for this purpose, the good news is that you can buy a fresh rhizome in many stores. However, the one used for this purpose has to be one that is strong and not dried out. Also, do not use a frozen rhizome for this purpose. It will not be easy or sometimes even possible, to propagate ginger with frozen rhizomes.

Keep in mind that while it is possible to grow your ginger plant from ginger purchased in store, it might not be the strongest or the healthiest option. It is because the grocery stores sometimes spray their plants with growth inhibitor to prevent the plant from sprouting before it's been purchased. The spray may prevent the plant from sprouting when you decide to propagate ginger. In order to avoid these issues, you should soak the rhizome in water overnight. This should wash out the growth inhibitor.

Ornamental ginger, like other bulbs and rhizome plants, should be divided every few years. The rhizome will only bloom once. Future blooms come from the growth buds on the old rhizome. This is an important information that you should remember when you wish to propagate ginger plants.

The good news is that you can take rhizomes from an ornamental ginger throughout the year. Simply dig it up and you can use it for propagation. First, use a garden fort to loosen the soil around the ginger plant. After this, simply lift the rhizome out of the ground. Make sure to do this gently so you don't damage your ginger. Also, you should clean all the dirt accumulated on the rhizome. While you are there, inspect the rhizome to notice any damages or rot. Remember: you should only use a healthy and strong rhizome for propagation.

How to Propagate Ginger with Root Cuttings

Once you have your rhizomes, you should allow them to sprout. Simply leave them in a sunny area, such as your kitchen counter. Wait until you notice the buds starting to swell. This generally takes a few weeks.

After this, cut the rhizome into smaller pieces. You should use a sterilize knife for this purpose. This prevents any risk of infections to the plant. You can easily sterilize your knife by soaking it in a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water for 30 minutes. Make sure to rinse the knife well before you proceed to cut the rhizome.

You should cut rhizome into equal smaller pieces. Make sure that each individual piece contains and eye and that it is at least an inch and a half long. Once you have cuttings, leave them out overnight.

The next day, plant your rhizome cuttings. You can do it any time of the year if you wish to grow your ginger indoors. In general, it is best to do this in the middle of the spring. Keep this in mind if you wish to plant your ginger in the garden.

Make sure to plant the rhizome cuttings in a well-drained soil. If you wish to plant the cuttings outside, choose a spot where your plant will be able to get a partial shade. It should have about 2 to 5 hours of sun per day. If you are growing common ginger, space the cuttings about 6 to 8 inches apart. Ornamental ginger varieties generally need much more space. For example, butterfly ginger will need anything between 24 and 36 inches apart.

When planting the cuttings, make sure not to do it too deeply. It is best to place rhizomes near the top of the soil so that the cutting has only a thin layer of soil covering it. Water lightly at first, until you notice that your ginger plant is growing. You should avoid overwatering at all costs, since this can cause the rhizome rot. On the other hand, make sure to never allow the rhizome to dry out. This is an important step to remember if you wish to propagate ginger plants with success.

Once you notice the leaves growing, it is fine to increase the watering schedule in order to keep the soil moist. You should also fertilize your new ginger plants with a slow-release or liquid fertilizer. It is also a good idea to add some mulch around the plants, to keep the soil moist and to shield your new ginger plants.

Photo credit: Anna Gregory

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