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How to grow the ginger plant?

January 15, 2021
grow ginger in my garden

The ginger is an herbaceous perennial plant widely cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical climate. Its edible rhizome ( underground stem ) is one of the most popular spices around the world, not only for its culinary value but also for its health benefits .

In this article you will be able to know everything you want to know about the ginger plant : its characteristics, development, requirements, care and ways of growing it at home, as well as some frequently asked questions of your interest.

What is the ginger plant like?

Family and origin

Scientific name Zingiber officinale, ginger is a member of the large family Zingiberaceae or  Zingiberáceas , like turmeric and cardamom.1 2  Its origin is located in the southeast of the Asian continent, hence its use as a spice and home remedy in China and India dates from ancient times. It is said that it was the traders who brought the ginger plant to the Mediterranean region, from where it spread to countries such as England and Spain. Later, the conquerors of the new continent brought the spice to the West.

Parts and general characteristics

Being a plant native to tropical areas , ginger thrives in humid and partially shady climates. Its leafy stems can reach up to 1 meter in length, developing a cane-like appearance.3

The leaves arise from the pods that surround the stem; they are elongated, 6 to 12 inches (15 – 30 cm) long, and alternately arranged in two vertical rows.4

The ginger flower is absolutely beautiful. Grows from a dense, tapered spike about 1 inch thick and 2-3 inches long; This spike is composed of several superimposed green bracts, which may be bordered with yellow ( see in the lower left quadrant of the photo ). Each bract contains a single small, greenish-yellow and purple flower. Edible ginger flowers are usually sterile and rarely produce seeds.

The plant develops thick, warty and branched rhizomes , covered by a corky outer skin, brown to golden in color. This skin is very thin and easy to wear, hence great care must be taken when handling the rhizomes so as not to deteriorate them. They have a pale yellow interior, with a spicy aroma and flavor. The flesh of the ginger rhizome is usually juicy and soft in intensity when the tuber is young, but becomes hotter, fibrous, and drier as it matures. The characteristic fragrance and flavor of the spice come from its volatile oils and non-volatile phenolic compounds zingerone, shogaol, gingerol, and gingeridione.

Note: Although the edible part of the plant is commonly referred to as ginger root, this is technically a misnomer as it is an underground rhizome or stem, not a root as such. 

Ginger plants develop buds from their rhizomes, which gradually spread outward and become a dense clump if not harvested. These buds are actually pseudo-themes formed from a series of leaf sheaths wrapped around each other.

Can it be grown at home?

Definitely yes. The first thing you should know is that the ginger plant is propagated by planting cuttings . Its cultivation has been doing this for so long, that it is already sown without seed everywhere. In general, these are the main requirements to take into account when growing ginger:5 6

  • Light. Most ginger plants thrive best in filtered light conditions , similar to the light they would receive if they were grown in a rainforest. Ginger that grows in full sun may experience browning at the edges of the foliage.
  • Temperature and humidity. This tropical plant needs a humid environment ; in excessively dry conditions it can become dormant. It is always advisable to grow it in climates with temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Soil conditions. It is important that the terrain conditions resemble your native soil type, that is, moist, fertile and nutrient-rich soil , similar to humus (absorbs water, but does not soak).
  • Rhizomes. Proper selection of the rhizome before planting can make a big difference in the success of your crop. Ideally, you would start by planting a fresh new rhizome from someone who already grows ginger, but if that isn’t possible, just get some good quality chunks from the store. Make sure to select fresh , thick rhizomes that have well-developed buds or growing fingers. Many experts recommend soaking the rhizomes in water before planting, since the ginger we see in supermarkets has almost always been treated with a growth retardant.

How can I grow ginger in my garden?

If you are a beginning gardener and you want to start creating your own small private garden at home, you should know that growing ginger is easier than it seems .

Here we leave you a complete guide so that you can enjoy your own harvest, always fresh and organic.

How to plant ginger, step by step

  1. Find a piece of land where the soil drains well. To help you in this regard, it is advisable that you observe the place after a heavy rain; if after 5 or 6 hours there are still puddles of water, you better explore another site. Remember that the ginger plant prefers moderately moist soils , but will not thrive in areas that are soggy. A solution to improve drainage may be the addition of organic material, so that the ground level rises 2-3 inches. Compost, ground bark, and decomposed manure work well for this purpose. Note: It does not tend to do well in salty soils, for example in areas near the ocean.
  2. It is advisable to grow ginger where it receives sunlight (not direct) or partial shade, much better if it is in the field or a foggy area protected from the wind. When the water supply is limited, the ideal is that the plant receives one third to half a day of shade. 65 degrees Fahrenheit is an optimal temperature .
  3. The best time to plant is late winter / early spring (late dry season / early wet season). Plant your ginger rhizome with the roots pointing downward and the “eyes” or growth points just below the surface of the soil. If the rhizomes have cut leaf stalks, allow these to stick out above the soil line. You can cut them into small pieces ( with at least a couple of buds each ), or simply plant the entire tuber. If you are planting multiple rhizomes, be sure to allow 30 to 36 inches of space between them. After planting them, pat the soil to eliminate air pockets.
  4. After sowing, it is important to water generously to settle the soil around the root. The growth will begin in a few weeks, always depending on the temperature of the soil and the air. It is recommended to maintain regular watering throughout the growing season , as needed; Keep in mind that weekly waterings are better than light waterings every 1 or 2 days. Ginger plants appreciate the monthly administration of any balanced fertilizer (10-10-10), but if you are trying to grow organic ginger , then go for 100% natural fertilizers only. Note: if the soil is very fertile, the addition of fertilizers may not be necessary.
  5. When gardening, it is possible to start harvesting small pieces of ginger after about 4 months have passed. You just need to dig very carefully around the plant. Keep in mind that this “green ginger” will have less flavor than the ripe tubers. The best time to harvest ginger begins after the leaves have died out. It usually takes 8-10 months to get to that point. Plants can also be stacked periodically to stimulate larger rhizomes, but this is not really necessary.

If the ginger is blooming, feel free to cut the flowers to use as an ornament; this will not harm the plants. After flowering has finished, leave the foliage in place, do not cut it. Keep in mind that the leaves absorb sunlight, create food through photosynthesis, and strengthen the plant for the future.

As the weather cools, ginger grows at a slower rate and needs less fertilizer. Water infrequently in the fall and lightly in the winter (at this point the foliage may freeze, but the roots will sprout in the spring). Your ginger plant will rest for a few months before starting the next growth cycle in the spring.

Is it possible to sow ginger in pots?

Yes. Ginger plants can thrive in pots, tubs and similar containers, which is why it is also an indoor growing option for those who live in very cold climates.

Take into account the following recommendations: 7

  1. Choose a large container and fill it with a type of fertile soil that drains well. Remember that ginger prefers moisture, but will not thrive if the pot is soggy. A 14-inch pot can easily support 3 average-sized rhizomes; A rectangular box of polyethylene foam can hold 9 to 1 dozen. Make sure the pot is wider than it is deep , as ginger grows horizontally.
  2. Select a rhizome with “eyes” and plant it so that the eyes are facing the surface. Cover well with soil and water sparingly.
  3. In order for your ginger plant to thrive, it is important that the pot is in a warm place, but does not receive direct sunlight , whether it is inside the house or if it is indoors in the open air.
  4. Ginger is slow growing; be patient. After 2-3 weeks, you should see the first sprouts. Once the plant has sprouted, you should maintain a light watering and be careful to prevent the soil from drying out.
  5. 3 or 4 months later you can already harvest small pieces of ginger. Move the soil around the edges of the pot until you find some rhizomes below the surface. Cut the desired amount and replace the soil to allow the root to continue growing.
  6. Once the cold winter temperatures have set in, you need to keep the plants indoors and place them near a window so they can get some light . Take them back outside when spring weather reaches 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher at night. Plants grown in pots should not be watered at all when they are leafless and dormant; Resume watering when new shoots appear.

The ginger flowers grown in pots rather rare , and if they do, the flowers will not be particularly beautiful.

How is ginger grown in water?

This plant is generally grown on land, but did you know that you can also grow ginger in water? In fact, growing in water has advantages over traditional growing, as hydroponic ginger plants require less care and space.

5 Steps to plant ginger in a glass

  1. Although most of the life of the plant will be spent in water, it is best to first root a piece of the rhizome in compost and then transfer it to the hydroponic system ( in this case a glass of water ). Choose a good rhizome and cut it into several pieces, so that you get a growing finger on each. It’s a good idea to plant several cuttings to ensure germination.
  2. Fill a pot or pot with compost, plant the ginger pieces about an inch deep, and water to get enough moisture.
  3. While you wait for the first shoots to emerge, prepare the hydroponic culture container; Make sure to choose a large glass or pitcher that is at least 10-15 cm deep.
  4. When the plants have sprouted, that is, when they already have stems and some leaves, remove the strongest ones from the ground and rinse their roots. Place 2 inches (5 cm) of the growing medium in the hydroponic container, place the new ginger seedlings above the water and spread their roots well. It is advisable to nourish them every few days with a standard hydroponic nutrient solution, keeping the pH of the water between 5.5 and 8.0 ( if necessary, renew part of the water as time goes by ). It is also important to provide them with approximately 18 hours of light a day, allowing them to be in the shade for 8 hours.
  5. Within about 4 months, the ginger plants should have already produced rhizomes large enough to harvest.

Quick answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Can I grow pre-chilled pieces of ginger?

It is not recommended. If you want to get a good ginger crop , it is best to use fresh rhizomes. Never refrigerate pieces of ginger to re-plant.

Why haven’t I had a good ginger crop?

Ginger is usually grown relatively easy, as long as the basic requirements and care of the plant are guaranteed. In general, these are the factors that can harm your harvest: frost , direct sunlight , strong winds and excess humidity in the land.

Are all types of ginger edible?

No. Edible ginger , Zingiber officinale, is just one of approximately 1,300 species within the Zingiberaceae family. The vast majority of the other varieties are only grown as ornamental plants. It is important to note that edible ginger is not related to wild ginger (Asarum spp.), Whose roots have similar aromatic properties, but should not be consumed due to their content of aristolochic acid, a compound associated with the development of cancer and damage. permanent kidney.8 9 10

It may interest you: Ginger Contraindications – Side Effects and Correct Dose

What are the diseases that affect the cultivation of this plant?

Some of the most common diseases that affect the ginger plant are bacterial wilt ( Ralstonia solanacearum ), soft rot ( Pythium aphanidrematum ), dry rot ( Fusarium, Pratylenchus complex ) and leaf spot ( Phyllostricta zingiberi ). Furthermore, it can be attacked by pests such as the cutter ant ( Atta sp. ), The white worm ( Holotrichia spp. ), The yellow bud moth ( Conogethes punctiferalis ) and the boring weevil ( Prodioctes haematicus ).11

Many of these diseases cannot be cured, they can only be prevented. It is very important that you plan well how to grow ginger in your garden or garden. It is not a good idea to combine it with the planting of tomatoes, peppers, aubergines or tomatillo plants.

Should ginger be sown in the sun or in the shade?

Being a plant of tropical origin, ginger prefers humid conditions, which means that it does well in the shade; however, it is also important to get sunlight. The filtered light, sun and shade , is ideal.

Where can I buy a ginger plant?

If instead of planting the rhizomes from scratch, you prefer to buy the already sprouted ginger plant , you can head to a local garden or nursery store, as well as look for reputable specialty retailers online.


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My name is Louise Hammond, and I am the creator of this website, a place to find information about tubers, bulbs and medicinal roots. In I show the properties, benefits, characteristics, photos and images, ways of growing and how to make delicious meals from starchy vegetables.