Growing Ginger (Complete Guide with Step by Step Instructions)

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Growing ginger is an easy project – and so rewarding!

A piece of fresh ginger root, soil, water, and the right amount of sun and shade is all the plant needs. You’ll have a continuous supply of this amazing, wonderfully spicy natural anti-inflammatory spice – fresh ginger. Remember to soak the root for several hours in lukewarm water before planting. 

 

Growing Ginger in your Home Garden 

The following guide will discuss growing ginger outdoors, but it is also applicable if you opt to grow ginger indoors in a container or pot.

Most ginger is hardy in USDA zones 9 -12, while some varieties are hardy up to zone 7. Areas in Hawaii, Louisiana, Southern California, Florida, Arizona, and Southern Texas have favorable climates to growing ginger all year-round.

Early Spring is the best time of the year to plant ginger. Plant your ginger roots after the last spring frost if your area is in USDA zone 8 or lower.

You will get all the information about the best time to plant ginger from your local garden store or nursery.

Plant your ginger roots in a pot or container if you live in an area with cooler climates so you can transfer the plant indoors during the cold months.

It takes about 8-10 months for ginger to fully mature, but you can harvest the roots anytime. If you live in cooler climates, you can harvest your ginger after three or four months or opt to transfer the pots indoors for the winter.

Step 1: Choose the Ginger Plant 

You can start growing ginger from a piece of ginger root. There are many species of ginger, the most common of which is the Zingiber Officinale which can easily be bought from the grocery store.

However, the best source of ginger roots is from another grower.

Choose ginger roots free of wrinkles, plump, and light in color. They should also have visible eyes at the end of their “fingers.”

The ideal ginger roots for planting are those with eyes that have turned green because then, your plant will be one step ahead in the growing process.

A piece of ginger with two or more eyes will most likely sprout.

Organic ginger is also highly recommended because it has been treated with a growth inhibitor.

Step 2: Choose the Right Spot 

Choose a spot in your garden that can provide your ginger plant with full to partial shade with direct sunlight of between 2 to 5 hours daily, preferably with morning sun.

The spot should also be able to protect your plant from strong winds.

If you are growing ginger in a pot, choose one at least 12 inches deep. A plastic pot is better than a terra cotta one. Make sure, though, that the pot has holes in the bottom for good drainage.

Step 3: Prepare the Soil

It is highly recommended to use loamy (fertile), loose, well-draining, and soil rich in organic matter. Loamy soils make the water drain freely and prevent your plant from being waterlogged.

Make sure your earth is mildly acidic, too. If you have alkaline soil, use a garden store pH kit and adjust the soil to between 6.1 and 6.5 pH.

Adding mulch to the soil can retain water, provide nutrients, keep the soil warm, and control weeds. Weeds can effortlessly out-compete your slow-growing ginger.

If your soil is lacking, amend it with aged manure or well-rotted compost. If you have poor soil, heavy with clay, add some potting soil.

Before germination, keep the soil temperature at 710F to 770F (warm temperature).

Step 4: Cut Ginger into 1-2-inch Long Pieces 

It is best to pick a piece that is 4-6 inches long. Cut off the fingers of each rhizome with sanitized shears or a knife.

Each piece should be 1-2 inches long and with at least one bud at the end.

If you cut the ginger into 1-2-inch-long pieces, you’ll be able to grow more than one plant with a portion of ginger.

A section of ginger 1-2 inches long with one or more eyes will most likely grow into a plant.

Step 5: Allow the Pieces of Ginger to Dry for 24-48 Hours 

After cutting the pieces of ginger, allow them to dry in a cool and dry place (8 inches apart from each other) for about 24-48 days before planting.

This will allow the portions of the ginger you cut to heal and form a protective callus or skin. It will also prevent potential root rot.

A callus is a soft tissue that forms over the surface of a cut plant, allowing it to heal. This reduces the risk of the pieces of ginger getting infected with bacteria.

Step 6: Plant the Pieces of Ginger 

Your ginger will need some room to grow. Ginger plants can grow to about two to three feet tall.

Plant the cut sections of ginger 12 inches apart and two to four inches deep. However, when growing ginger in pots, plant one piece of ginger in a 14-inch diameter pot.

Make sure the growth buds are pointing upward.

Step 7: Water your Ginger Plant 

Ginger thrives best in warm and moist soil, so you need to water it lightly immediately after planting.

Water your plant daily to not dry out during its active growing season. Regularly spray or mist your ginger plants if they are planted in dry areas.

Keeping the soil moist will replicate the plant’s natural habitat (tropical).

Make sure water drains freely. Soggy soil will cause root rot.

Reduce watering or improve the drainage if the soil tends to be soggy or does not drain quickly.

Always make sure you don’t overwater your ginger plants.

Mulching on top of the soil will keep it moist. Reduce your watering frequency toward the end of the growing season (when the weather cools).

This will stimulate your ginger plant to form underground rhizomes.

As temperatures drop during late summer or early fall, the stems of your ginger plant will turn yellow. Reduce the frequency of watering your plant as this happens.

Completely stop watering or let the soil dry when the stems of the plants die.

Ginger tends to grow slowly, especially when grown outside of the tropics. If you are lucky, sprouts will start to appear after a few days.

On average, sprouts will begin to appear between 3 and 14 days. Continue watering your plants after germination.

Step 8: Add Fertilizer to your Ginger Plant 

Fertilizing your ginger plant monthly is optional. It is unnecessary if your ginger is planted in rich soil, and you mix compost into the soil.

If you have poor soil, fertilize your plant with an organic slow-release fertilizer during planting. Henceforth, apply some complete liquid fertilizer monthly.

You can have your soil tested before planting so you can fertilize your plants accordingly.

You will also need to fertilize your soil if you grow ginger in regions with heavy rainfall that make essential nutrients leach out from the soil.

Step 9: Harvest Time 

Ginger roots or Zingiber Officinale Rizoma harvested from organic field

Your ginger plants will develop roots after two months of planting. You can harvest your ginger at any stage of its maturity.

Ginger, though, will have a much stronger flavor if it develops in the ground.

Harvest time is usually during the end of the fall season (planted early Spring or summer).

A blossoming plant means the rhizomes are nearing maturity. They will be ready for harvest after the plant’s flowering cycle. This should be about 10-12 months after sprouting.

At this point, the leaves are dry and yellow. The flowers and stems of the plant will die and fall off.

Allowing the rhizomes to mature before harvesting makes them have firmer skin that won’t easily get bruised during handling and washing.

More importantly, growing ginger for the roots or rhizomes which develop underground has the strongest flavor.

You can also start harvesting some young ginger after about 3 to 6 months from sprouting, especially if you will use them for pickling.

Young ginger will be tender fresh and will have no stringy flavor or skin. It will also just have a mild flavor. Additionally, the rhizomes will be cream with some soft pink scales.

Younger ginger is also thinner and easily bruised, so you must be extra careful when harvesting them.

If you want your ginger to mature fast and have an early harvest, trim the tops of your plants about two weeks before harvesting.

It is easy to spot the rhizome in the soil. It is light brown or sometimes white against the dark color of the earth. The rhizomes are about 2 to 4 inches deep underground.

Ginger rhizomes can rot during the damp, cool winter in zones 7-8 areas so that they can be harvested in the fall. On the other hand, plants in zones 9-12 can be harvested anytime.

There Are Two Ways To Harvest Ginger:   

To Pull Out The Entire Plant.   

Use a hand trowel to dig a circle of around 2 to 4 inches around the side of the sprouts. Continue to dig deeper until you hit the rhizome.

Once you have exposed the root system, pull out the entire plant.  If you break the pieces of the roots while pulling out the plant, use your trowel to dig the broken parts of the roots out of the soil.

To Cut Off A Portion Of A Rhizome:   

Dig 2 to 4 inches away for the shoots. Make a small hole of about 2 to 4 inches down.

Continue to dig slightly from one side to another of the small hole until you find a rhizome.

Once you find the rhizome, cut off an end piece.

Refill the hole with soil so your ginger will continue to grow and mature.

How to Propagate Ginger 

Ginger can be propagated from small pieces of the rhizomes referred to as “sets.” You can produce sets by cutting a small 1.5- inch to 3-inch from a living rhizome.

Each “set” should have one living bud to produce shoots. You can allow the “sets” to sprout in the pot or container by covering them with soil.

The “sets” can also be planted in your permanent planting spot.

Growing Ginger in Colder Regions 

You already know that Spring is the best time to plant ginger. You can, however, also start growing ginger in winter.

The thing to do is to plant your ginger plant indoors to survive the winter weather.

Although growing ginger outdoor is the best option, planting your ginger makes it viable to produce ginger in late winter.

You can plant your ginger in pots or containers outdoors and transfer them indoors when temperatures are below 140F.

 Ginger Grows Well In Containers Or Pots.

Use a wide and flat container. The roots of your ginger plant will grow horizontally, so the container’s width should be able to accommodate the plant’s roots.

The depth of the container is as important as its width. A wide container will ensure a better yield.

The best containers for growing ginger must be movable because you should transfer them from indoors and outdoors quickly.

Garden soil is not viable for use in containers, so you need to use a high-quality potting mix. You will get a more bountiful ginger harvest with potting mix.

The planting process of ginger is like planting in the ground.

As mentioned above, your ginger plant needs a warm environment to grow healthy and produce a good harvest.

You can use a seedling mat to warm the soils to stimulate sprouting.

You can also grow ginger in a greenhouse, so you do not need to worry about the cool climate.

The environment inside a greenhouse can provide warmth to your ginger plants when the weather gets colder.

Planting ginger rhizomes in pots and containers, placing them indoors, and growing them in a greenhouse are the best ways of increasing ginger in freezing weather.

Common Ginger Plants Diseases  

When growing ginger, you need to be ready for some insect pests and diseases that may affect your plant. They can lead to a severe reduction in your harvest. 

Knowing about ginger diseases, their symptoms, and how they spread can eliminate ginger spoilage. This can ensure you will have a flavorful and healthy harvest of ginger rhizomes.

Some diseases that can affect your ginger plant are soil-borne plus water-borne diseases. Others are vector-borne diseases, while insects may cause others.

Bacteria Wilt 

Bacteria wilt, also known as Ginger Blast, can lower the output of singer rhizome because it affects the entire plant.

It is the most severe disease that can affect your ginger. You will usually notice symptoms of bacteria wilt in your plant from July to August.

Symptoms Of Bacterial Wilt Include:

  • The leaf margins of your plant will curl backward and turn into bronze, starting from the lower leaves progressing upwards and downwards.
  • The green leaves will change their color.
  • The rhizomes will rot from the inside and will appear red and discolored.
  • The entire plant will wilt, rot, and die.
  • The rhizome and other infected parts of your plant will also have a foul smell.   

Bacteria wilt spreads through infested soil. To prevent bacteria wilt, plant your ginger in well-draining soil and in a place that promotes good airflow.

The ginger rhizome should also not be grown in soil previously planted with the infected ginger rhizome.

Bacterial Soft Rot 

Ginger is prone to bacterial soft rot because of its fleshy storage organs. Pseudomonas, Erwinia, or Pectobacterium are the bacteria that cause this disease.

This disease will hit the entire plant, including the rhizome. The condition will slowly progress and affect the leaves and stems, causing them to become yellow. They will develop lesions, too.

The plant will likewise lose its structural form.

The bacteria work by expelling special digestive enzymes; thus, the bacteria will dissolve the ginger plant’s cell walls. This will cause the fluid nutrients of the inner cell to be accessible to the bacteria.

Symptoms Of Bacterial Soft Rot Include:

  • Discoloration of the plant.
  • The plants and rhizomes become mushy.
  • The stems and leaves turn yellow.
  • Rhizomes become rotten and give off a foul smell.

Ensure you have not planted infected rhizomes to prevent this disease from hitting your ginger plant and rhizomes.

You can also spray pest control if insects are the carriers of the bacteria.

Crop rotation can reduce or prevent your plant and rhizomes from being affected by this disease.

Ginger Leaf Spot (Phyllosticta Blight) 

The first sign of this disease is visible in younger leaves. This disease is caused by a fungus carried by excess water or rainwater.

Ginger leaf spot is characterized by yellow or white spots that appear on the surface of the leaves.

These sprouts are round or long and have a spindle shape. The main area of these spots becomes papery and thin and turns into lesions or more prominent spots on the leaves.

These spots limit the ability of the leaves for photosynthesis. 

These Are How To Manage And Prevent Ginger Leaf Spot:

  • Plant using disease-free ginger.
  • Be quick to remove infectious debris from your plant.
  • Control the nitrogen levels of the soil.
  • Limit the use of fertilizer.
  • Plant on higher ground or use well-draining soil.
  • Crop rotation.

Ginger leaf spots can reduce the output of rhizomes.

Dry Rot  

Pratylenchus and Fusarium Complex cause dry rot. The disease is caused by a fungus or nematodes (a type of worm) or, in some instances, both.

A ginger plant infected with dry rot will have yellow tips in its lower leaves, and eventually, there will be complete yellowing of the leaves.

The upper leaves will also turn yellow as the disease progresses in your plant.

Then the leaves will become dry, and your whole plant will be stunted. The rhizome will also have brownish rings in the cortical region. There will also be dry rotting.

This disease will hinder the growth of your ginger plant. It will also limit ginger output.

How to Control Ginger Diseases 

Unsanitary conditions in your garden often cause Ginger plant diseases. However, even the most favorable conditions may still cause your plants to develop diseases.

The application of chemicals is often the go-to solution for these diseases.

However, Precautions and Preventative Measures Will Help Avert Your Ginger Plants From Developing Diseases.

Crop Rotation 

Crop rotation creates a disease-free harvest.

Crop rotation is the process of growing susceptible plants alternately with unsusceptible plants on the same spot.

Depending on how severe the disease or diseases affect your ginger plants, you can do crop rotation in gaps of one, three, or even five years.

The best way to do crop rotation is to grow non-host alternately with host plants to reduce the influx of pathogenic soil bacteria.

Soil Sanitation 

It is vital to keep your soil free of any waste material. Plant debris and animal waste products quickly initiate ginger diseases.

Safely remove and dispose of the remaining plants, stems, roots, and leaves in the area after cultivation and harvest.

Good sanitation also eliminates and reduces the presence of birds, insects, and mice in your garden.

Good Drainage 

Well-draining soil is not only the best for the growth of your ginger plant, but it also helps prevent water from spreading diseases to your plant.

Humidity, high temperatures, and flooded areas often lead to an increase in fungi and bacteria populations.

Use Sterilized Equipment 

Diseases are often carried to your ginger plant by infected equipment and tools. Your infected equipment and tools can transmit diseases from other infected plants to your ginger plants.

Plant Genetically Modified Ginger Variants 

Ginger variants are far better because they are resistant to some diseases. Organic ginger may have weaker DNA making it more susceptible to many diseases.

Storing Ginger after Harvest 

You can harvest three main types of ginger. The storage techniques depend on the kind of ginger you are harvesting.

Fresh Ginger 

This is the most common type of ginger. You can store fresh ginger unpeeled or uncut and place them into a plastic bag.

Before sealing it, you need to keep the plastic bag free from as much air as possible. 

Tightly seal the plastic bag and store it in the vegetable bin in the refrigerator. Your fresh ginger root will remain in top shape in the fridge for about 4-6 weeks. 

You can also store fresh ginger at room temperature for about a week, unpeeled and uncut.

You can leave fresh ginger at room temperature (in a cool, dry location) if you plan to use it within a few days.

 Tender Ginger 

Tender ginger is what you can harvest before it reaches full maturity. Tender ginger has high water content. Its tissue is more delicate, and it does not have much fiber. It is also less pungent.

Tender ginger is mainly used for sugared ginger slices and pickling. Tender ginger is used immediately after harvest and is typically not stored.

If you need to store tender ginger for a few days before pickling, use the same approach as with fresh ginger.

Seed Ginger 

You can harvest seed ginger when it sprouts because, at this point, it will no longer grow any further. The plant will, however, remain good after harvesting.

You can store seed ginger in the same manner as fresh ginger.

Ginger in General  

Whether you are using the whole ginger, powdered form, or ginger paste, it is a spice you will always need, especially when adding a tinge of Asian flavor to your dish.

There are no ginger farms across the countryside of America and Europe. This is because ginger is a tropical plant that is generally difficult to grow in colder regions.

What is Ginger? 

Ginger is an edible rhizome (underground stem). It comes from the rhizome or underground stem of Zingiber Officinale, a tropical plant from the same family as turmeric and cardamom. It is more commonly known as ginger roots.

This perennial plant grows underground. Ginger does not produce seeds; thus, you will need to plant fresh rhizomes with “eyes.”

A ginger rhizome’s skin may be thin or thick and cream or light brown, depending on the plant’s maturity at harvest.  It comes with a firm, rough, knotty, and striated texture.

Ginger leaves appear alternately on the stem. Its leaves can be 2.75 inches long and 0.7 inches wide.

The flowering shoots of your ginger plant are on the shorter stem. Ginger plants produce pale and cone-shaped flowers. Its above-ground shoot is slender and upright.

Your ginger plant can grow to be 2 to 4 feet tall.

The sharp bite of fresh ginger is due to its gingerol compound content, an aromatic compound that turns into a sweeter zingerone when dried or heated.

The Culinary Delights and Health Benefits of Ginger  

Ginger is used around the world for cooking and as alternative medicine. It’s a close relative of Turmeric and is a staple in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Indian cuisine.

You can get the fullest flavor of ginger when it is diced, minced, or shredded.

The gingerols in ginger are responsible for giving it its distinct flavor and fragrance.

There are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds in this popular spice that helps ease the pain of arthritis.

Ginger can also help boost your immune system, stimulate the death of cells in ovarian cancer, and, after more research ginger could prove to be a safe form of treatment for cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

It’s a good remedy for nausea, inflammation, muscle and general pain, flu, relieving gasses and bloating in the intestinal tract, constipation, and other uses as alternative medicine.

This unassuming root has been used for thousands of years as a healing plant. It was used in those days by the Nuns in the convents, the Monks in their monasteries, the self-proclaimed healers, and physicians.

Most of the ginger you buy in grocery stores was grown in Indonesia, India, southern China, or West Africa.

You can grow ginger in your home garden in trenches on the ground, in flower beds, or in containers and pots. Growing ginger in water is also possible.

Best Varieties of Ginger to Grow 

Ginger can be grown as an edible rhizome. It can also be grown as an ornamental plant because it has colored flowers that can add beauty to your growing area.

Ginger comes in many varieties, the most common of which are easy to grow.

Grocery Store Ginger 

This ginger variety comes with large rhizomes and a subtle flavor. A grocery store ginger plant can grow 3 feet wide and 4 feet tall. You will not get an attractive plant with this ginger variety because it will not have ornamental flowers.

Common Ginger 

Common ginger grows well. This ginger variety is often used in stews, curries, and soups.

It is also used for medicinal purposes such as nausea, muscle pain, cold, flu, and indigestion.

Small Rhizome Ginger 

This ginger variety, also called Japanese ginger, may grow small rhizomes with an intense flavor.

Kaempferia Ginger 

This ginger variety, also called peacock ginger, comes with oval-shaped leaves that grow to be 6 inches wide and 8 inches long.

It has green leaves and purple flowers with four petals. It needs moist and well-drained soil to grow and thrive.

Globba Ginger 

Globba ginger or dancing ladies can grow up to 2 feet tall. Its long leaves have seeds and its flowers come in a whitish-yellow color. It needs well-drained soil to grow into a healthy plant.

Hedychium Ginger 

This ornamental ginger or white butterfly ginger can grow up to 7 feet. 

This ginger plant comes with white butterfly-like flowers and pointed leaves. It loves full sun but can also thrive in partial shade. It also prefers moist soil.

You can choose from any of the varieties of ginger to grow, but seasoned gardeners recommend organic ginger because it is natural and safer for your health.  

 Final Thoughts Growing Ginger 

Ginger is one of the most beneficial spices in the world.

You can use Ginger rhizomes in most Asian dishes.

They also have many medicinal benefits. You can, therefore, save money by growing ginger in your home.

It is easy to grow ginger. The key is to pick the correct ginger root to plant. To ensure the ginger you planted will sprout, choose a piece of ginger root that has at least two or more “eyes.”

The nicest part about growing ginger is you do not need to wait for it to mature before harvesting.

After harvesting, you can allow the plant to grow anew unless you’re harvesting by pulling out the entire plant.

Such a lot of information here for one small plant, but mighty, plant. 

We hope you enjoy growing it, eating some delicious dishes enriched by adding ginger, and finally trying out its healing properties when you have a cold or indigestion or are nauseous and/or etc.

Genius Ginger – who knew? What a clever little plant! Treat yourself and grow some.

 

Jenny Marie

Tribal Writer

 

Edited By

Patricia Godwin

Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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