Ginger rhizomes, more commonly known as ginger roots, come from the flowering plant Zingiber officinale. Ginger has been used in cultures around the world in both cooking and alternative medicine and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as for aiding in digestion. This fragrant ingredient is a staple in Indian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese cuisine and is used to make tea, and season stir fries, curries, and soups.
Since ginger is a tropical plant, it can be difficult to grow outdoors in many regions of North America. While it’s true that it can only tolerate temperatures higher than 50 degrees, it’s still possible for ginger to thrive in a nontropical setting. Read on to learn more about how to grow ginger—no matter where you live.
Growing ginger at home is not that hard. Sure we have to wait and be patient to get our first harvest of ginger. We can grow ginger in the ground in a raised bed and in containers.
It has an impressive nutritional profile, and 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) of raw ginger provides:
- 80 calories
- 17.8 grams carbohydrates
- 1.8 grams protein
- 0.7 grams fat
- 2 grams dietary fiber
- 415 milligrams potassium (12 percent DV)
- 0.2 milligrams copper (11 percent DV)
- 0.2 milligrams manganese (11 percent DV)
- 43 milligrams magnesium (11 percent DV)
- 5 milligrams vitamin C (8 percent DV)
- 0.2 milligrams vitamin B6 (8 percent DV)
- 0.7 milligrams niacin (4 percent DV)
- 34 milligrams phosphorus (3 percent DV)
- 0.6 milligrams iron (3 percent DV)
Instructions for How to Grow Ginger Indoors:
- Start with a living ginger root. These are available from nurseries, garden centers or seed companies. If you have a friend with a ginger plant, a root cutting from that may work as well. Choose a root that is firm, plump and has tight skin with several eye buds on it (like the bumps you find on a potato). Roots can be cut and sectioned at the buds and planted so that each will grow into an individual plant.
- Soak the ginger root in warm water overnight to prepare for planting.
- Fill a shallow, wide plant pot (ginger roots grow horizontally) with rich, well-draining potting soil.
- Place the ginger root with the eye bud pointing up and cover it with 1-2 inches more of soil. Water lightly.
- Place the pot in a spot that stays warm and doesn’t get a lot of bright light.
- Keep the soil moist, being careful not to over-water.
- Ginger is slow to grow. Be patient. After 2-3 weeks, you should see some shoots coming up.
- A few months after growth begins, small pieces of ginger can be harvested. Move the soil at the edges of the pot to find some ginger rhizomes (the term for an underground, continuously growing stem) beneath the surface. Cut the desired amount off a stem toward the edge of the pot and then replace the soil to allow it to continue to grow.
Care of your ginger plant
Pieces of ginger root take about 1-2 weeks to start growing leaves. This means the roots are starting to form under the soil. Gently water until you see more growth and then keep consistently moist after the growth starts.
Your ginger plant will eventually grow up to 4 feet tall. Some of the roots will appear above the ground, which is normal for plants grown from rhizomes.
The plant has narrow, glossy bright green leaves and yellowish green summer flowers that are rarely seen.
Growing ginger root needs about 8-10 months for the plants to reach maturity but the roots can be harvested after about 2 months.
Feed ginger plants once a month during the growing season.
Pest and diseases for ginger
Ginger is considered relatively free of pests and diseases.
Some diseases that may affect ginger are leaf damage from pests, bacterial wilt, fusarium fungus and nematodes that affect the roots.
Root rot is also possible if you water too much.
Bugs that are could be attracted to ginger are ants, aphids, mealy bugs, cut worms and spider mites. Slugs and snails also have a fondness for the plant.
Harvest anytime and enjoy!
There are two ways to harvest ginger. You can dig up the entire rhizome and harvest the root at any stage of maturity. Rinse the rhizome under cool water, and cut off a section with a bud to replant if you choose.
One thing that makes ginger unique is that it causes the plant no harm to harvest a section while it’s still in the soil, keeping the rhizome alive. As long as a 2-inch piece of rhizome remains attached to the stalk, it will continue to grow.
Fresh ginger can be kept in the fridge or freezer. Unpeeled, it will last 3 weeks in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer.
Use this method to grow ginger—no matter where you live. As long as it’s not exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees, you’ll have a fragrant addition for stir fry, soups, curries, and more.