If you enjoy cooking with ginger, why not try growing ginger at home? Our 10 simple steps and gardening tips tell you exactly what to do.
Scientifically known as Zingiber officinale, ginger is a flowering plant that belongs to the Zingiberaceae family. It is native to tropical regions of Southeast Asia, particularly India and China, and has a long history of both culinary and medicinal use. The plant is prized for its flavorful rhizome, which is the underground stem of the ginger plant and is commonly referred to as “ginger root.”
To grow ginger at home, all you need is a ginger root that you can buy from your local supermarket or farmers market. The caveat is that ginger is a tropical plant that prefers warm, humid conditions. If you live in a colder climate, you may need to grow ginger indoors or in a greenhouse to provide the right environment for successful growth.
But ultimately, this is a relatively easy exercise in gardening for beginners. So, why not give it a go?
How to Grow Ginger From a Root Cutting
Growing ginger at home from a root cutting can be a fun and rewarding gardening experience. It’s a lengthy process, but if you get it right, you’ll have fresh garlic available at a snip of the price you normally pay when buying it commercially.
Let’s get started with our foolproof ginger planting guide.
#1 Select a fresh ginger root
Fresh ginger is widely available worldwide from grocery stores and local markets.
Whether you are buying ginger to cook with or to try your hand at ginger cultivation, always choose a plump, healthy ginger root. But if you’re going to be growing ginger at home, it’s essential to look for a piece with well-developed “fingers” or small, rounded growth buds that look like bumps. These bumps are where the buds will emerge from the ginger rhizomes when the growing process starts.
#2 Prepare the root cutting
Cut your ginger root into sections, making sure each piece has at least one or two growth buds. Each section will give rise to a new ginger plant. Be guided by the space you have for planting your bits of ginger. You don’t want to crowd your veggie patch or indoor gardening facility.
If you are limited because of climate, and therefore opting for container gardening, make sure your pot is deep enough for growing ginger at home.
#3 Soak the ginger
You don’t have to do this, but it helps speed up germination and doesn’t take much time. All you do is soak the ginger pieces in water overnight to promote sprouting and activation of the growth buds.
#4 Choose a planting container
Whether you are container gardening or just starting your ginger plants out in a container, you’re going to have to select a suitable receptacle. Either way, choose a wide and shallow pot or container with good drainage holes. Ginger roots like to spread horizontally, so a wider container works best. It will need to be large if you are going to keep the ginger in the pot.
If you live in an area with a warm climate, you can skip this step and plant directly into your vegetable garden
#5 Use good quality soil
Fill the container with well-draining, nutrient-rich potting soil. A mix of potting soil and compost works well.
If you are planting directly into your garden, make sure to turn the soil and add compost before you plant. Also, make sure your garden bed is in a bright spot where it gets indirect sunlight (see #8 below).
#6 Plant the ginger
Place your ginger root sections in the soil with the growth buds facing up. Cover them with about 1-2 inches of soil.
Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Like all tropical plants, ginger prefers humid conditions, so once your ginger plants produce leaves, misting them occasionally can be beneficial.
#8 Warmth and indirect sunlight
Place the container in a warm spot that receives bright, indirect sunlight. Avoid exposing ginger to direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves.
#9 Patience and growth
Ginger takes some time to sprout and grow. Be patient and continue to water and care for the plant. There’s not much maintenance involved, but ginger care is important.
Ginger is typically ready for harvesting 8-10 months after planting. The leaves turn yellow and start to die back.
Carefully dig up the ginger rhizomes, cut off what you need, and replant the remaining ginger roots for continuous growth.
Where Does the Ginger Plant Grow Best?
If you’re considering growing ginger at home, do your best to make sure you have the right growing conditions.
Ginger thrives in warm, tropical climates with plenty of rainfall and well-draining soil. It prefers high humidity and temperatures between 70°F to 90°F (20°C to 32°C). It is best suited for USDA plant hardiness zones 9 and above.
If you live in a colder climate outside these zones, you can still grow ginger successfully, but it will require extra care. In colder areas, consider growing ginger in containers or pots indoors or in a protected greenhouse. This allows you to control the growing environment, providing the warmth and humidity that ginger requires for optimal growth.
Remember that ginger is a perennial plant, and in warmer zones, it can be grown as a perennial, meaning it will come back year after year. In colder zones, it can be grown as an annual, where you plant and harvest it within a single growing season. Whether you grow ginger outdoors or indoors, it’s essential to provide it with the right conditions to ensure a successful and rewarding harvest.
The Best USDA Plant Zones for Growing Ginger
These are the USDA plant zones that are considered best for growing ginger at home in the U.S.:
- USDA Zone 9: This zone includes regions with minimum average winter temperatures of 20 to 30°F (-6.7 to -1.1°C). Areas with milder winters are ideal for growing ginger outdoors year-round.
- USDA Zone 10: In this zone, the minimum average winter temperatures range from 30 to 40°F (-1.1 to 4.4°C). Ginger will flourish in these regions with relatively mild winters.
- USDA Zone 11: This zone covers areas with minimum average winter temperatures above 40°F (4.4°C). Ginger will thrive in these tropical and subtropical regions with very mild winters.
How to Use Your Homegrown Ginger
Ginger is not only a versatile and delicious ingredient in the kitchen but also a valuable medicinal herb. Its unique flavor and numerous health benefits have made it a cherished and widely used plant around the world.
Ginger has a long history of use in traditional medicine, particularly in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. It is well-known for its various health benefits:
- Ginger can help soothe digestive discomfort, reduce bloating, and alleviate nausea and motion sickness.
- The compounds in ginger, particularly gingerol, have anti-inflammatory effects that may help with conditions like osteoarthritis and muscle soreness.
- Ginger’s immune-boosting properties may help enhance the body’s defense against infections.
- Ginger is often used as a natural remedy for morning sickness during pregnancy and can help alleviate nausea caused by other factors.
Ginger has been used as a spice for thousands of years. Whether you have a backyard vegetable garden or prefer indoor gardening, the ginger plant is one of the easiest homegrown spices to produce.
Ginger root is a staple in many cuisines around the world. The warm, spicy, and slightly sweet flavor of these edible plants adds depth and complexity to various dishes. Fresh ginger is commonly used to add zest to savory dishes, soups, stir-fries, marinades, and desserts. Dried and ground ginger is often used in baking and spice blends.