Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a well-known tasty herb that most people associate with Asian cuisine. Ginger is also known for its health benefits – it is loaded with antioxidants, compounds that help your body avoid stress and damage to the body’s DNA. Ginger may help your body fight chronic diseases such as diseases of the lungs, heart disease, or high blood pressure; ginger may even help you age slower! I enjoy a little ginger in my tea to give it a spicy kick. So, why not grow your own? We will share all we know about how to grow ginger.
Where Does Ginger Mostly Grow?
Ginger is mostly cultivated in China, West Africa, Indonesia, and India. In native countries, ginger can grow at home in backyard gardens. It thrives in tropical climates, and it can spread quickly in the garden. If you live in these US regions, such as South Texas and Louisiana, Hawaii, Central Valley, Florida, or Southern and coastal California, you can grow ginger in your garden! If you live in colder climates, don’t worry. We will share a few tips, so you can grow your ginger as well.
First, you need to buy ginger rhizomes, you can purchase them in most grocery stores, or you can even order them online. Choose a big rhizome, at least 4-6 inches, with multiple “branches.” Gingers don’t like direct sun, so plant ginger in a spot with partial shade (behind a tree, for example). Ensure that ginger is planted in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. Plant in early spring; if you live in a very warm climate, you can plant any time you want. Take the purchased rhizome and cut the “branches”; ensure that each piece is 1-2 inches long with a minimum of one bud. Dry the rhizome pieces for 48 hours before planting (doing this prevents rotting). Plant the rhizome pieces at a minimum of 12 inches apart and 1 inch deep. After planting, don’t hold back with water; you should be able to see leaves in one week. After, water once per week, but deeply. Ginger plants grow up to 4 feet in height, and some of the roots will be above ground.
When introduced to temperatures lower than 55 °F or 13 °C, ginger plants will turn yellow and dry, dropping their leaves. Below 32 °F or 0 °C, the plant and the rhizome will, unfortunately, become lifeless. If you live in a climate where the temperature stays around 55-60 °F or 13-15 °C for the winter months, the plant will just be dormant and be back full of life in spring.
How To Grow Ginger in Colder Climates?
You can grow ginger in pots! You can plant ginger in a pot and take the pot outside, in a greenhouse or put it on a porch when temperatures are above 55 °F or 13 °C and bring the plant back inside when it is colder. If you want, you can transplant it into your garden for the growing season, but that requires more work and skill.
How To Harvest Ginger?
Just dig it up! Dig up the plant and wash away the dirt with running cold water. If your plant is thriving, it will multiply on it its own. You’ll have plenty of ginger still growing while you dig some of them up. Another way is to keep the rhizome growing in the soil. Put your hand in the soil, feel where the growing stalk connects to the rhizome, keep 1-2 inches of rhizome that is connected to the stalk, and you can cut away the rest. You now have some ginger to use! Give the plant that was left in the soil some time to recover, about a week.
How To Grow Ginger: A Helpful Table
|Asia, Tropical Africa
|Rich, loamy, well-drained
|Slightly acidic (5.5 to 6.5)
|Year-round in a temperate climate
|Full shade, partial shade
|4 months for partial, 10 months for complete maturity
|At least 12 inches
|About 1 inch or less
|Deeply once per week
Now you know everything about how to grow vibrant ginger! If your plant didn’t sprout, don’t let it stop you; just try a different rhizome with more life in it.