How to Grow Ginger: Indoors or in Your Home Garden

Sally Painter
Display of fresh ginger root

You can learn how to grow ginger indoors or in your home garden. When you grow your own ginger plants, you can have this wonderful herb available whenever you wish to use fresh ginger.

How to Grow Ginger: Indoors or in Your Home Garden

You will grow ginger indoors or in your home garden with the same techniques. There are a few things you may need to do if you choose to grow ginger in your home garden that you won't do for indoor growing, such as adding soil amendments.

Growing Conditions and Zones for Home Garden

Ginger grows in a warm, humid and moist environment and needs around 3-5 hours of direct sunlight. You'll need to provide a long and wide growing space so the rhizomes can spread out. A raised bed is ideal since it can contain the underground growth. If you're growing ginger outdoors, you need to live in Zones 7-12 in order to have a long enough growing season. Some varieties can only be grown in Zone 8-12, so be sure you understand the proper Zones for the ginger you plant. If you don't live in a favorable zone, then you'll want to grow your ginger indoors.

Differences in Growing Ginger Indoors or in Your Home Garden

Other than the soil amendments needed for a home garden, you'll prepare and plant ginger the same way for both methods.

Gather Your Tools, Supplies, and Equipment

The first thing you need to do is collect the right tools, supplies, and equipment. Once you've gathered these, you can get started. Keep in mind how ginger grows horizontally. You'll need to provide a big enough container to accommodate this growing pattern.

Start With a Ginger Rhizome

The ginger rhizome is also known as a creeping rootstalk. This is the root system that grows in a horizontal networking. This underground stem then produces shoots that generate a new plant with its own root system. The rhizomes are responsible for nourishing the underground plants (ginger roots) through a system of storage that accumulates various proteins and starches for the plants.

Fresh Ginger with New Sprout

How to Identify a Rhizome

A rhizome is not the root. Instead, it is an underground stem and has nodes along its length. New plants grow out from the rhizome. The areas where the plants emerge are nodes that can be easily identified when looking at the rhizome.

Buying Ginger Rhizome From Garden Supplier

If you have a favorite garden supplier/center or seed catalog, you can browse the available ginger rhizomes. Once you're satisfied you have the ginger you want, you can order it online or go to your local nursery or greenhouse to select one in person.

Choosing a Container to Grow Ginger

When you select your container, keep in mind how many ginger plants you want. The average ginger plant grows between 2'-3' high. You should also select a container that is no less than 12" deep to ensure good growth.

Tools and equipment needed:

  • Potting soil with good drainage properties
  • 12"Wx12"D or larger planting container with drainage holes
  • Tray or pot saucer for container
  • Drainage stones for tray or saucer to keep the container slightly elevated for better drainage.
  • Purchased ginger roots

Soil Amendments

Depending on the potting soil you chose, you may not need to amend the soil. If you make your own compost, you can side dress the plants as they grow with your own compost. Ginger feeds off high levels of phosphorus. You can test the soil before you plant and amend it if necessary.

How to Plant Ginger Buds/Eyes

Once you have everything ready, you need to examine your ginger rhizome for shoots or the beginnings of buds. A healthy rhizome should have more than one bud. You can identify the buds since they appear to be nodes that protrude from the ginger skin. These have a similar appearance as the eyes found on potatoes.

Supplies needed

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Tray

Instructions:

  1. Once you've identified the buds/eyes on the rhizome, you need to cut the rhizome into pieces.
  2. With the knife cut the rhizome so each piece contains a complete bud, around 1" to 1.5" wide to ensure the bud is intact.
  3. Place the cut pieces onto a tray or mat to allow the cut tissue to callus over (2-3 days).
planting ginger in a pot

Soak Ginger Buds/Eyes Before Planting

You need to condition the buds/eyes before planting to encourage the buds/eyes to open up a little to ensure they grow once planted. This requires soaking the buds overnight to remove any possible growth retardant. This is especially true if you're attempting to grow from a ginger root you purchased at a grocery store.

Supplies needed:

  • Bowl: Deep enough to submerge the root under warm water.
  • Warm water: Filtered, distilled, or natural spring, not boiling.

Instructions:

  1. Place the buds/eyes in the bowl.
  2. Fill the bowl with warm water until the ginger buds/eyes are completely submerged.
  3. Allow the pieces of rhizome to soak overnight.
  4. In the morning, carefully remove the buds/eyes so as not to damage them.
  5. Set aside while you prepare the planting container.
  6. Fill the container, leaving about a 5" between the soil and rim of container.
  7. Take each bud/eye and place about 6" apart.
  8. Make sure the buds/eyes are pointing upwards to ensure the plant grows correctly.
  9. Carefully cover the buds/eyes with 3"-4" of potting soil (for a shallow container only cover with 2" of potting soil).
  10. The ideal is for the soil level to be about 1" below the pot/container rim.
  11. Sprinkle with water until the soil is moist, not wet.

Ginger Plant Care and Where to Place Your Ginger Container

Once you are satisfied you've successfully planted the ginger buds/eyes, you need to make sure the pot/container is kept in a warm place. The plants love sunlight. You need to ensure the plants receive at least 3-5 hours of direct sunlight. You may need to use a grow light if the plants only receive indirect sunlight. While you may be able to grow with indirect light, you'll have healthier and more robust plants and ginger with the 3-5 hours of direct sunlight.

watering the sprouting seedling

Propagate Time for Growing Ginger

It may take several weeks for your ginger to propagate (3-8 weeks). With care and constant attendance, you may see quicker sprouting results.

Watering Requirements for Growing Ginger

You want to have even and constant watering, so you don't stress the ginger plants. Never over water. When the 1" top layer of soil is dry, you can safely water the plants.

Tips for Growing Ginger in Your Home Garden

You will follow the soil amendment section for your home garden. Depending on the soil test results, you may need to amend and adjust your soil pH.

Watering Requirements for Your Home Garden

Growing ginger outdoors means you will also need to take into account the amount of rain your garden receives and adjust the watering of your ginger. You should never allow the soil to dry out and your plant droop. This type of irregular watering places stress on your plants and the ginger won't develop underground as well as it should. If the weather is dry, you can mist your plants on a regular basis. You can set up a sprinkler or a drip line timer to ensure the plants have constant moisture.

Knowing When It's Time to Harvest Ginger

Within 8-10 months, your ginger should be ready to harvest, depending whether you grew it indoor or outdoors and under what type of weather conditions. There are a few telltale signs the rhizomes have matured.

  • The plants will blossom.
  • The leaves will turn yellow and dry up.
  • The stems will droop over or fall to the ground.

How to Harvest Ginger

You will harvest the ginger by digging up the whole plant. You will need to select the rhizomes you wish to replant and do so immediately.

Learning How to Grow Ginger Indoors or in Your Home Garden

It is easy to grow ginger indoors or in your home garden. Once you understand the process of planting, caring and harvesting, you can quickly become a ginger growing expert!

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How to Grow Ginger: Indoors or in Your Home Garden