How To Grow and Care For Ginger: Planting, Harvesting and Caring

Learn how to grow ginger in containers at home and its care regarding watering, soil, fertilization and harvesting. Follow the ginger care tips given below, you can actually grow a ton of ginger, year after year.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a beautiful scented plant. It is known as Adrak, keong; khing, gung, halia, jahe, luya, shooga, etc.

Ginger is grown mostly in Asia, India the highest grower, followed by China and Indonesia. It is the best herb to grow indoors in partial to full shade, a situation suited for homes where full sun is not available all day long.
Picture of Ginger Rhizomes with Growth Buds
Ginger Rhizomes with Growth Buds
Ginger is a powerful medicinal plant. I have been growing ginger in a container for many years now. I plant ginger root from grocery store bought ginger rhizomes. The ginger plant does not need any special attention except regular watering. You plant it now and forget until you wish to harvest fresh ginger, when the plants grow to about 2-3 feet high.

Growing Ginger In Containers At Home

Ginger is a tropical plant, grows in warm weather, but can be grown anywhere, outdoors or even indoors in cooler or too hotter climates.

Ginger root can be grown in almost all the USDA zones. Grow ginger root in pots if you live in zone zone 6 or lower, so that you can bring your ginger plant indoors during the winter.

The question is how to grow an endless supply of ginger even indoors. Growing organic ginger root is not difficult provided you follow some basic steps for growing ginger as discussed below.

Planting Ginger in Containers or Garden Beds?

Gingers do not need much space. The ginger roots grow horizontally and not deep so choose a shallow, wide pot.

Ginger Planting Time

The best ginger planting time is late winter or early spring when the soil temperature and ambient temperature is between 20°C and 30°C.

Position: Where to Plant Ginger?

  1. The ginger plant does not like direct hot sun, strong winds and frost. Select a sheltered place where no direct sun light goes, filtered sunlight is OK. The morning sun will be alright, but not the strong afternoon sun that will burn the leaves.
  2. Ginger can be grown in indoors in bright light. 
  3. If you have no shade area in your garden, then you can wrap a cloth around the leaves to protect them from direct sun, that will also help keeping the humidity in.
  4. During chilly winter, you can move the pot indoors and bring back outside in the summer.

Best Soil For Ginger Cultivation

Ginger likes rich, free draining (preparing garden soil) fertile, but mildly acidic clean soil. Mix some river sand, compost and cow manure into the garden soil to make it suitable and best for healthy ginger growth. The compost (making compost at home) and cow manure supply nutrition and retain moisture and river sand makes the soil free draining. Soil rich in nutrient rich organic matter is essential to produce healthy rhizomes. Keep the soil moist at all times, but not water logged.

The soil pH should be between 5.5 to 6.5. If the soil pH is too high, lower it by applying composted manure, or if it is too low increase tit with dolomite.

How To Plant Ginger

  1. You can plant a store bought ginger root that has 2-3 eyes (growing buds).You can also plant the ginger root that has sprouted lying in your kitchen. It is pointed out that freshly harvested ginger roots will not grow into a new plant, even if they have growing buds. Always choose an old ginger root to plant.
  2. Select ginger rhizomes with tight skin, with well developed "eyes" or growth buds.
  3. You can cut the ginger rhizomes in little pieces with at least one growing bud. Plant your ginger root 3-4 cm deep, with the growing buds facing up.
  4. In a 12 inch pot, you can plant 3 rhizomes. In a rectangular Styrofoam fruit box, I plant 10-12 rhizomes.
  5. If a ginger root has sprouted in your kitchen, plant it in the soil.
  6. In the ground, plant them on ridges about 30 cm apart and with 15 cm between plants. However, the rhizomes underground can tolerate a bit crowding.
  7. If the ground is moist and warm they will root very easily.
  8. Water lightly at first, then more heavily when shoots appear.

Watering Ginger Plant

  1. Ginger plants love moisture for growing, so the soil should never dry out. Mulching your ginger plats will help contain humidity in the soil . I use sugarcane mulch to contain the moisture, which also keeps down the weeds.
  2. If air is dry and hot, then spray water regularly.
  3. As the weather starts cooling down, reduce the water, even let the ground dry out. This encourages the ginger to form rhizomes.
  4. Keep the soil dry in winter when they are dormant.
Picture of Ginger Growing in a Container
Ginger Growing in a Container

Fertilizing Ginger Plants

  1. If you are growing ginger in good, rich soil it should not need anything extra. However, it will benefit from the addition of a complete fertilizer prior to planting.
  2. A side dressing of fertilizer may be made every third week during the growing season. Apply fertilizer 25 cm away from the plant to prevent damage.
  3. I give liquid fertilizer like seaweed extract or fish fertilizer every third week.

Ginger Diseases, Pests and Problems

  1. Dry air can cause problems with spider mites.
  2. Water logged soil can cause bacteria resulting in bacterial soft rot and bacterial wilt.
  3. The bacterial rot causes yellowing of whole leaves or their tips or even drooping of leaves.
  4. The bacterial wilt makes infected leaves roll and curl, yellow leaves, even the plant may die in severe infection. 
  5. Well drained bacteria free soil can avoid these problems.
  6. There are many Companion plants for garlic to effectively repel the harmful insects while retaining beneficial ones.

Ginger Growing Tips and Care

Any exposed rhizomes should be covered with soil. As ginger grow horizontally, the soil can be raised around the growing stems to force a more vertical growth habit.

Harvesting Ginger

Read below the details on how and when to harvest ginger.
Picture of Freshly Harvested Ginger roots
Freshly Harvested Ginger
  1. The best time to harvest ginger is any time after the leaves have died down, approximately 25 weeks from planting. Reduce water at this stage to encourage rhizome growth.

  2. When the ginger plant is about four months old, I usually cut out a small piece of root by carefully removing the soil from the side of the growing clump. 

  3. You can dig up the whole plant when the leaves dry up.

  4. Break up the ginger rhizomes and leave aside or in the soil a few ones with good growing buds for replanting, and eat the rest ones. 

  5. Do not water the replanted rhizomes until they sprout in the next season.

How To Store Ginger After Harvesting

Note that ginger stays fresh and crisp for only a few days after harvesting. The question of how best to store the rhizomes after harvest is often come to mind.
  1. Put the unpeeled whole ginger root in a zip-lock plastic bag (push inside air out) and store it the freezer drawer of the refrigerator to use later in place of fresh ginger.
  2. Cut ginger pieces should be first dried with a paper towel before storing.
  3. Put the ginger pieces in sherry or vodka and store.

Ginger Flowers

When does ginger flower?
  1. A ginger plant flowers after 2-3 years of planting.
  2. The flowers of culinary ginger are green and insignificant anyway.
  3. The ornament ginger which are evergreen in the tropics, produces spectacular flowers.
Picture of Ginger Flower
Ginger Flower

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