Growing ginger at home is easy and a great way to get your own personal supply of ginger (and save money on your grocery bill!).
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Growing ginger at home
Culinary ginger is a great spice. It has a distinctive flavor that goes well with many types of cuisine, from stir-fries, soups, curries, desserts, and even tea.
Also, it may have health benefits. It has been used for medicinal purposes in China for many centuries, and it has recently come into its own in the West. It may not cure the common cold, but it will certainly help to soothe it.
The problem is that ginger can be pricey. Fresh organic ginger can also be difficult to find in supermarkets. I had been wondering how to grow ginger at home, so I tried to grow a ginger plant from a piece of ginger root I bought at the store. It worked!
Yes, the good news is that you can grow ginger from a piece of grocery store ginger root, and harvest it as needed. You can easily grow a ton of ginger at home and never have to buy ginger at the supermarket again!
Growing ginger from root (or rhizome)
Ginger naturally propagates itself via rhizomes. The piece of ginger that you buy at the store is actually a rhizome, even though everyone refers to it as ginger root.
Step 1: Choose the right piece of ginger
The first thing is to buy some organic ginger. Health food or whole food stores usually have it.
Choose a 4- to 6-inch long piece. The ginger you choose should be as plump as possible, not dried out. You want young, healthy ginger, as it is much easier to grow from fresh rhizomes.
Step 2: Preparing the ginger for planting
The ginger rhizome (piece) has growth buds on it. These are like the eyes of a potato and each bump will develop roots and make a new ginger plant.
Cut the fresh ginger root into pieces between the bumps – around 1-2 inch pieces is ideal. You should have several pieces. Each one can be planted. Allow the cut surface of the ginger pieces to dry and heal overnight.
If you bought regular grocery store ginger rather than organic ginger, soak the rhizomes in water overnight. This helps to remove any growth inhibitor that may have been applied.
Step 3: Planting the ginger
You will need a pot with drainage holes. It should be about 12 inches in diameter. You will also need rich soil, so choose a good quality potting mix. I like to use organic potting soil.
Fill your pot with potting soil. Plant one piece of ginger in the pot about 3 inches deep beneath the surface of the soil so it is in complete darkness. The bump should be facing up.
If you like, you can plant multiple containers, as many as you have pieces of ginger. A pot of ginger makes a nice gift. I like to have two ginger plants at home, one that I can harvest from, and one to grow. That way you can have a continuous supply of fresh ginger year-round.
It will take around 6-8 weeks for your ginger to sprout.
Step 4: Care and watering
Water your ginger and remember to water it regularly. Try to keep the soil moist, but not really wet. Overwatering can cause the rhizome to rot, so ensure the pot will drain freely and no water is pooling at the bottom of the pot.
Feed your new ginger plant once per month with a good quality liquid fertilizer during the spring and summer to encourage new growth.
Keep the pot in a bright spot. Ginger does not require direct sun, so it will be happy if you give it a place where it receives partial sunlight.
Step 5: Harvesting your ginger
Ginger root will reach maturity around after 10-12 months after sprouting. Once the plant is mature it can be harvested.
There are two basic ways to harvesting ginger:
- You can dig up the entire plant and harvest all the rhizomes (don’t forget to replant some to regrow for next year!). First cut the leaves and stems back to level with the soil surface, then dig up the rhizomes. Carefully separate them and wash them thoroughly under cool water.
- You can remove some of the rhizomes from the plant, and leave the main part of the plant growing. As long as the stem is still attached to a rhizome it will continue to grow once repotted in the soil.
I repot my 2 ginger plants once or twice a year (at different times), removing as many additional rhizomes as I need to get me through three or four months. This means I can have a continuous harvest of ginger.
Depending on your local climate and where you are keeping your ginger plant, it may die down in the autumn. If this happens then harvest the ginger, and replant some of it in the same pot for next year.
Step 6: Storing your ginger root
Fresh ginger should be stored (unpeeled) in the fridge. It will keep for around 3 months.
If you want to store it for longer than that, you can freeze it. Either mince it and freeze it in ice cube trays or cut it into 1-inch knobs and freeze those in a ziplock bag. It should last up to 6 months in the freezer.
FAQ & Tips
Where can I grow ginger?
Ginger is a tropical plant, naturally suited to climates that are tropical or sub-tropical, it may not grow well outdoors in colder climates. It should grow well outdoors in countries like Australia, South Africa, and the warmer states of the USA.
However, if you are trying to grow ginger in cooler climates then it is probably best grown inside. Or you can keep the ginger indoors when the cold weather comes and the temperatures start to drop, and move it outside again in spring once any risk of frost had passed.
The good news is that ginger is ideally suited to container growing, and can be kept as a house plant. It makes quite an attractive ornamental plant.
Actually, I would recommend everyone to grow it in pots because it can grow several feet tall and grows like a weed in some areas. Growing ginger in pots is a good way to keep it under control. Otherwise, you may be digging it out of your garden for years to come!
Can you grow ginger from scraps?
It depends on what part of the ginger root you have left in your scraps. You can’t grow a new ginger plant from the peeled skin of ginger root, but as long as the piece you have remaining contains an intact rhizome (root nodule), then you should be able to grow a plant from it (as long as it is reasonably fresh).
Can you grow ginger from cuttings?
Yes, you can grow ginger from root cuttings (though not from stem cuttings). See the instruction card below for step-by-step instructions.
How long does ginger take to grow?
Ginger grown in this way from a rhizome will take around 6-8 weeks before you see any growth, and 10-12 months before it is mature enough to harvest.
You can harvest it after a shorter time, at around 4-5 months for baby ginger root, which is softer and milder. This type is often pickled, but has a milder flavor, so can’t be used to add strong flavor to cooking.
How to grow ginger at home instruction card
- 6-inch piece of fresh ginger root (rhizome)
- A large pot (with drainage hole)
- Good quality potting mix
- A sharp knife
- Cut the fresh ginger into 1-2-inch pieces between the growth buds. Set aside and allow the cuts to dry and heal overnight. If using grocery store ginger, soak the ginger pieces overnight to remove any growth retardants that may have been applied.
- Fill your pot with potting soil. Plant one piece of ginger in the pot about 3 inches deep with the growth bud facing up. Cover with loose soil so it is in complete darkness.
- Water your ginger and place it in a bright sheltered spot.
- Remember to water it regularly - keep the soil moist, but not wet.
- During spring and summer feed your new ginger plant once per month with a good quality liquid fertilizer.
- Ginger plant will be mature after 10-12 months and the ginger root can be harvested.
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