Ginger is a strong, potent herb that can be used either fresh and dried to complement food dishes. Commonly used in sushi recipes, health drinks and tea, ginger is said to help reduce pain and ease stomach aches and to boost metabolism. Ever wonder how to grow ginger indoors? Ginger can easily be grown inside and harvested year-round. Read on to learn tips for growing ginger indoors.
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.
If you follow these steps for how to grow ginger indoors, your supply can be grown and harvested endlessly.
Are you a fan of fresh ginger? Now that you know how to grow ginger indoors, you never have to be without it again!
This post was first published in 2016 and has been updated.
FAVORITE FRESH GINGER RECIPES:
Gingered Sugar CookiesOne-Week Homemade Ginger BeerPumpkin Ginger SoupPeach, Ginger, and Blueberry StrudelCod with Ginger-Basil Butter on Fragrant RiceGinger LimeadeTriple-Ginger Gingerbread
How to Grow Ginger
Why can’t you take that rhizome and grow grocery store ginger? Well, it turns out that you can. With just a little bit of advance preparation, you can have ginger growing in your yard or windowsill within a month.
Choose the Right Rhizome
If you are purchasing ginger just for re-growing, then choose an organic rhizome. Rhizomes are similar to rootstalks. Why not start with the best? It turns out that it’s not entirely necessary to have organic to get yours started, the grocery store variety does not have anti-sprout chemicals on it like potatoes. Any rhizome from the store will begin to sprout. You need to give it the right conditions.
These tips will help you begin to grow your own grocery store ginger in no time from the right rhizomes.
Tip #1: Pick the best one at the grocery. Your rhizome should be plump and well hydrated. Look for ones that have nodes that may sprout. The ones in the picture have already begun. Get it ready to plant by placing it on the counter until the “nodes or eyes” start to grow. This could take a couple of weeks. You’ll know when they are ready because they begin to swell and turn a light yellow/green color. It looks much different from the root you’ve purchased. Keep it on the kitchen counter with plenty of sunlight. This works best in the spring when plants are naturally beginning to grow. The rhizome on your counter may start to shrivel, that’s okay. No need to give it water at this point.
Tip #2: Once the sprouting begins, cut your root into pieces with an “eye.” Just like planting potatoes, each piece needs to have at least one growing node that will sprout. Let each cut end heal for a few hours before planting.
Tip #3: Ginger is a rhizome, not a root. Therefore it needs to be planted close to the surface. Please make sure that the sides of the rhizome are covered with potting soil, but do not put it entirely under the soil or cover the top.
Tip #4: Planting ginger works exceptionally well in pots, be sure that if you are going to keep it in a pot, you give it plenty of room to grow. You should use potting soil for the pot and once transplanted into outside soil, and the plant will benefit from the addition of compost or aged manure.
Tip #5: Ginger needs consistent water. I’ve heard that it likes to be planted at the end of downspouts or in wet areas, but I have not tried it yet. I have mine in a makeshift double waterer so it can draw what it needs. You can make your own relatively easy.
Cut the bottom four inches off two plastic milk jugs. Use one as the planting pot and make several slits in the bottom for water drainage. Place this planter inside the other milk jug bottom. When you water, the excess will be collected in the bottom container, and the plant will take what it needs for water requirements. This makes watering easy because you only have to do it once or twice a week.
Tip #6: Remember ginger comes from the tropics and likes a humid environment. It grows best in zones 8-10. Create your ideal environment by making a plastic tent to go over the pot until the plant has begun sprouting and is established. If you have a greenhouse you have the ideal conditions, try to mimic that environment. You can also grow ginger in the kitchen or even a bathroom windowsill (humid area) if there is enough light.
Tip #7: Fertilize with compost or aged manure once a month. It is reasonably carefree once it gets established.
Tip #8: You can harvest your ginger at any time. However the longer you leave it to grow, the more you will have. Each fall digs up the roots and set aside a few to replant in containers. Be sure and protect it from the cold. The above-ground part of the plant will die back in the winter. Don’t let it sit in water during the cold season or the rhizome will rot. Unless you live in zone 8 or above, it’s probably best to dig them up at harvest time.
It requires to cut off a finger and ensure that the section is at least 2 inches in length. Then the cut pieces are dried for a couple of days in a warm place before putting them in ground.
Ginger requires soil that is rich in organic matter, you can top the pot with compost or well-rotted manure. Additionally, you can apply all-purpose fertilizer during the growing season.
Pests and Diseases
Pests including white grub, shoot borer, shoot boring weevil attack the ginger plant. It is also attacked by bacterial wilt, soft rot, dry rot and leaf spot viruses. It is highly recommended to keep the plant safe from these diseases and pests.
Your ginger roots are going to get ready for harvest within 8-10 months, once the leaves start to become yellow.
Ginger Pests and Diseases
Ginger has insect, fungus and bacterial concerns everywhere it grows.
A few pathogens to know include:
- root-knot nematodes, which affect ginger while it’s growing as well as in storage
- burrowing nematodes, which actually burrow into the ginger rhizome while it’s in the ground
- bacterial wilt, which has been researched extensively by The University of Hawaii at Manoa
- bacterial soft rot, which is caused by overwatering
- Chinese rose beetle, which will go after your ginger plants at night
- alligator skin, which causes similar issues that you’d expect from a name like this, including cracking and discolored skin
Your local cooperative extension can be a resource for recognizing and dealing with plant-disease issues that are common in your area.
When Does Ginger Flower?
Ginger rhizomes send up tropical-looking foliage that grows up to 3 feet tall. Culinary ginger will flower when it is 2 years old, but this doesn’t help its culinary value. If you’re looking for a flowering ginger for your garden, go for an ornamental variety. Still, ginger does not grow as a perennial in climates that experience freezing weather, so if you’re growing ginger with the hope of flowers and you’re not in a tropical place, you need a means of bringing the ginger indoors in the winter.