How to Plant Ginger
The pungent root can be grown indoors all year round. And yes, you can plant the one you bought from the supermarket.
If you love the taste of ginger and enjoy the presence of house plants, you may want to try your hand at growing ginger indoors.
Ginger can be easily grown in your home and harvested year-round with very little effort. The spicy, potent herb is a popular ingredient in sushi, stir-fry, soups, health drinks and tea; and puts forth a beautiful house plant.
Although ginger can take a while to grow, all you need is a cutting from a healthy root, rich soil and a container. Here’s how to get started.
Choose the Best Ginger Root for Indoor Growing
Start with nothing but the best. The same ginger root you buy at the supermarket for culinary purposes is all you need to grow your own; it just needs to be of great quality.
Similar to garlic and potatoes, conventional ginger is irradiated and treated to stop it from sprouting at the supermarket. Purchasing an organic, untreated ginger root will allow you to take it home and grow all year round. You can also purchase ginger roots at local nurseries, garden centers, farmers or seed companies.
Choose a root that is smooth, not shriveled, and has several nodules; the “nodes” or “eyes” are where the sprouts will emerge. (Similar to the nodes you see on potatoes).
The skin on the nodes should be light-colored and thinner. Forego pieces with darkened nodes. Depending on how much ginger you are looking to plant, you only need to purchase ginger about the size of your thumb. If a smaller size isn’t available, simply cut the healthiest-looking thumb-sized chunk of a larger root.
Plant In a Large Container
Ginger requires a lot of room to grow and grows horizontally. Horizontally growing roots are called rhizomes. Aim to plant in a pot that is at least 12 inches deep and wide. Given the space, planting a chunk of ginger root the size of your thumb will easily grow to fill a 2-gallon pot over the course of about six months. Choose a container that allows for three inches (or more) of soil around the roots and is well-draining.
As the greenery grows from the nodes and out of the soil, sleek and charming leaves will emerge.
Investing in organic, well-draining soil with healthy microbes and fertilizer will benefit your ginger greatly. You can always ask your local greenery which soil and fertilizer are best.
Place the ginger root in the pot with the nodes pointing up; (these shoots will form the aerial foliage of the plant-like stems) and cover the root with about one to two inches of soil. Water lightly.
Your ginger root should be completely under the soil. If the ginger is still visible, it might be left bare after continuous watering; you can add more soil if needed. This is also called hilling the soil.
If you’re planting more than one ginger root in your container, provide a spacing of six to eight inches in between each piece which will require a pot much larger than 12 inches.
Due to the size of the pot needed to grow ginger, you may want to choose one that is decorative and fits the style of your home.
Indoor Ginger Plant Care
Now that you’ve planted your ginger, it gets even easier. Place your newly planted pot in a warm spot that provides filtered sunlight. Bright indirect sunlight serves best. Water regularly, but not too much – don’t water to the point of sogginess. Check the soil moisture level by sticking your finger one inch deep into the soil. If the soil is dry, it’s time to water.
It should take two to three weeks before you see sprouts emerging from the soil, and before you know it, the gorgeous greenery will make its appearance and you’ll be closer to enjoying the warm flavors of ginger.
How to Harvest Your Ginger (And When)
Harvest your ginger when the leaves turn yellow and are dried; this will be about eight to 12 months after planting. Wilting stems is another indicator that your ginger is ready to be picked.
To harvest, hold the greens at their base where they emerge from the soil, and gently lift the entire ginger root from the soil.
If you’re looking to enjoy small pieces of ginger long before full harvesting time, they can be had after a few months. To do this, gently move the soil at the edges or sides of the pot to find ginger. Cut the desired amount off a stem towards the edge of your pot. After harvesting, fill that area with soil to encourage more growth, and you can repeat this cycle to ensure you have ginger at your fingertips all year long.