Ginger plant: Boost your backyard

Ginger is a powerful, anti-inflammatory herb that has been used in the culinary world for centuries. The ginger plant is formed from a rhizome that grows into a delicate, small flowering perennial. If you want to add flavor and beauty to your food garden, growing ginger is a must.

Ginger has numerous health benefits and has been used as a medicinal herb since the 16th century. The plant provides quick relief from indigestion and nausea and can relieve cold and flu symptoms. Ginger is really a versatile all-purpose herb that deserves a place in your garden.

Read on for our detailed instructions on the care and maintenance of ginger plants!

Great products for growing ginger:

Brief instructions on care

Ginger plantThe ginger plant produces delicious rhizomes and beautiful tropical foliage. Source: UnconventionalEmma

Common Name (s) Ordinary ginger, boiling ginger
Scientific name Zingiber officinale
Days to harvest 8-10 months
light Penumbra
Water: Keep the floor moist but not damp
ground Well-drained sandy or loamy soil
fertilizer 5-5-5 according to the manufacturer's recommendation
Pests Chinese rose beetle, root knot nematodes, aphids, scale insects, mealybugs, thrips, red spider mites, cut worms, army worms, caterpillars, fungus mosquitoes
Diseases Wilted bacteria, root rot

All about ginger

Ginger is a spicy and hot tropical plant known under the botanical name "Zingiber officinale". Ginger plants are also known as common ginger and boiling ginger.

Zingiber officinale belongs to the "Zingiberaceae" family – the same family as cardamom and turmeric. The herb is popularly grown in India, Haiti, Nigeria and the United States, particularly Hawaii. But what about ginger? It originally comes from Southeast Asia.

The perennial can grow up to 3 to 4 feet tall and has elegantly sharp and thin leaves, the length of which is between 6 and 12 inches. The roots that extend from the rhizomes are beige and tangled and about 2 to 6 inches long.

The branched rhizomes are thick and warty with a coarse gold to brown outer skin. The skin can be easily peeled off or rubbed off. The flesh of the roots is light yellow and smells of citrus fruits like lemons. Ginger roots are hot and spicy in taste.

Young rhizomes usually have a milder taste, but as they grow and develop, they become more fibrous and aromatic. Edible ginger root contains a number of volatile and non-volatile compounds that result in a spicy fragrance.

Many people ask, "Is ginger a root?" Contrary to popular belief, ginger is actually a rhizome. So when you grow ginger plants, you can expect long, tendril-like roots to sprout from the rhizomes that spread outward.

The shoots of the ginger perennial appear as stems, but are actually leaf sheaths that are wrapped around each other. The leaves of the plant are medium green and long and narrow. They are arranged in pairs on each stem.

Growing ginger can be a lot of fun because the perennial also produces flowers on the tips of the leaves. These flowers come in green and yellow with purple bases. The petals are littered with cream-colored spots that look absolutely beautiful when flowering.

If a piece of sprouted rhizome is planted, it can take up to 8-10 months for the rhizomes to fully grow. After that, it can be harvested successfully. After planting your seed-ginger segments, you will start to sprout within 4-6 weeks.

Many people use fresh ginger to add flavor and aroma to their dishes. Ginger can be used to spice up dishes, prepare teas, and ginger beer and ginger ale. Fresh ginger is used in many ethnic kitchens because of its pungent, pungent taste.

Plant ginger

Budding ginger rootSmaller pieces of ginger root are suitable for planting as long as they have buds. Source: Graibeard

Regardless of whether you want to grow ginger indoors or to greet it in your garden, these plants are extremely easy to care for. But as tropics, they have certain conditions that they prefer!

When to plant

If you grow from seed ginger (also called rhizome segments), you should use your seed early. You want to keep your young plants outdoors from late February to early April. It will take a while for them to germinate and develop.

When you plant ginger, it takes warm soil to develop properly. 50 degrees Fahrenheit is the minimum soil temperature for development.

If you are growing ginger in a container, keep it in a warm place until the frost is over. This allows the ginger roots to quickly establish themselves as soon as they move outdoors. A growing light can provide both light and warmth.

Where to plant

The ginger rhizome is surprisingly delicate. Deciding where to plant is extremely important. Keep in mind that if the weather seems too cold for these tropics, you can always use containers and move them indoors.

In its natural environment, ginger grows well in a warm and humid jungle-like place with sunlight falling through the trees. Try to imitate the natural environment as much as possible. Choose a location where you can prepare and loosen the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches and with room to spread out.

How to plant

Start by soaking your seed rhizomes in room temperature water overnight. This activates the ginger rhizomes and brings them back to life. Supermarket ginger is often sprayed with a growth retardant. However, if you have an older piece that starts to sprout, it can be planted.

Plant your rhizomes at least 3 inches deep and about 8 inches apart. If there are green buds, make sure they are aligned with the ground surface. If you start them in a container, you can place them on a seedling heating mat set to 70 degrees for good sprout development. Those that are placed directly in the ground should be planted once the ground is constantly above 50 degrees.

Growing ginger plants

Ginger plant shows growthYou can easily see how the plant forms from its rhizome. Source: Zak Greant

Now it's time to discuss how to grow ginger! Let us talk about ideal conditions for growing this delicious plant. It's not too difficult to get life out of your ginger root.

Sun and temperature

Young ginger thrives best in filtered sunlight. Make sure that it receives 2-5 hours of spotted or indirect light a day. If possible, avoid constant hot and direct sunlight.

Their ginger rhizomes are somewhat more tolerant of cooler conditions. As soon as the ground freezes, your ginger rhizome is in danger. If you overwinter them, carefully plant them in a pot and take them indoors, where the weather stays warmer.

Ginger plants grown in containers still need access to light in the winter months. It doesn't take much, but it provides growth light when needed.

Water & moisture

Water is an absolute necessity for growing ginger. Always keep the floor evenly and evenly moist and do not let it dry out. Watering slowly, evenly is the best option as the soil can hold more water than if you just soaked it. A drinking hose system is usually perfect.

Ginger prefers moist environments. Ideally, the environment has a humidity of approx. 50-60% at all times. When it is outdoors, applying moist wood chips around the plants increases the ambient moisture until the moisture evaporates. Fogging the plants also helps. Plants grown in containers can have a pebble shell with water underneath to increase humidity.


Ginger needs slightly acidic soils to grow and fully develop the rhizomes. The ideal pH of the soil is between 5.5 and 6.5. The best soil types are loamy and sandy. Both loamy and sandy soils are loose and allow faster drainage while maintaining moisture so the roots can properly establish themselves. A mix of the two will work just fine.

The most important thing for the soil mix is ​​that it can hold moisture to keep it available for the rhizomes. Add compost before planting as it can also absorb and hold moisture for your rhizome.

If your garden contains a lot of hard clay, it may be too difficult for the ginger root to penetrate as it grows. Add more organic material to loosen it up so it's good for your plants.


A balanced 5: 5: 5 NPK fertilizer is perfect for your ginger. Add fertilizer to your soil a few days before planting and follow the manufacturer's instructions on when more needs to be added. It is usually every few months for a slow release fertilizer.

Although you can occasionally use liquid fertilizers, these are usually not as good as a granular organic fertilizer for your ginger. If you choose a liquid fertilizer, apply it every 2-4 weeks.


As with most perennials, ginger should be pruned in spring. This is a good time as there is a lot of warmth and moisture so the stems can recover quickly. Make sure you cut off dead and dying stems before new growth occurs.

The best way to prune ginger is to prune the stems that bloomed the previous year. Most ginger blooms only on two-year sticks. Use clean and sterile pruning shears and cut off the stem at the base of the plant. Since the stems of this perennial produce flowers only once before they die, your plants will become more attractive if you cut out these old sticks.


Ginger is propagated by dividing rhizomes. When harvesting ginger, choose a nice rhizome with lots of knots. The stems sprout from these knots.

Examine your rhizome closely. Cut smaller pieces with 2-3 knots with a clean, sharp knife. Place them in a cool, dry place to dry them out for at least two days. Over time, the cut edge dries out and forms a cornea, which reduces the risk of rotting.

After drying, choose a spot with partial to full shade in your garden and plant the pieces of ginger root. Water in your rhizomes well. Watering should be done frequently until the ginger sprouts.

Ginger cannot be grown with seeds. It only develops through rhizome pieces.

Harvest and store

Fresh gingerFreshly picked ginger plants with stems still attached. Source: Sengai Podhuvan

If you're wondering when to harvest ginger, here's a quick guide. We help you collect and store your aromatic ginger roots!


Your fresh ginger should be ready in the fall if you planted in the spring. Carefully loosen the soil around your edible ginger plant and lift it up. You may see slender roots growing between rhizomes. Either harvest the fresh ginger you need and let the other roots continue to grow, or remove all the rhizomes at once.

Your ginger should feel firm. If it is mushy, it may have rotted or pests and should not be eaten or stored.


A large piece of ginger can be kept as a "hand" in a dry, cool place as long as it has its skin. Make sure you keep it completely dry for best storage. This way it will last a few weeks as long as it is kept dry and in the dark. A paper bag is very suitable for this.

For longer storage, pull the skin off the roots and either rub or cut into thin slices. These can be kept in the freezer. I like rubbing teaspoon-sized amounts into a small ice cube tray to freeze them with just a tiny piece of water to bind them together, so I can use them in recipes. Once they're completely frozen, put these ginger cubes in a freezer bag.


Colorful flowering ginger leafSome ginger is grown for its flowers and leaves rather than for its roots. Source: Moccasin landing

Growing ginger is fairly easy, but there are some issues you want to avoid. You should know the following:

Growing problems

Avoid Pour over your ginger. Excess water can lead to root rot. Even if it doesn't rot, the roots aren't as aromatic if they have too much water.

Those who live in colder climates should bring their plants indoors or harvest them before the weather drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This type is just not tolerant of it frozen floors at all.


We find ginger delicious. Unfortunately, pests too.

One of the most worried are Root node nematodes. These pests can seriously damage your rhizomes. Add useful nematodes to your soil to get rid of the bad ones.

Chinese rose beetle are large, brown beetles that eat all the leaves of your plant. They are nocturnal, so you don't see them until dusk. You can pick them from your plants with a spotlight or spray them with neem oil to reduce the attractiveness of the leaves.

Mealybugs and soft scales settles on stems and under the leaves. Use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to remove them.

Army worms, Cutworms, and yellow woolly caterpillars Leaf damage causes, much like the Chinese rose beetles do. A Bacillus Thurigiensis spray eliminates this.

Also sucking pests like Aphids, red spider mites, for sure Thrips, and Fungus mosquitoes can penetrate the leaves or soil around plants. Neem seems to be the preferred treatment for these too. If they persist, use an insecticidal soap with pyrethrin to get rid of these pests.


Ginger is also prone to withered wilt and root rot. Bacteria wither causes water-soaked stains and rolled up leaves. The only way to treat is to remove damaged leaves and stems and carefully examine the entire plant for signs or symptoms. Apply an organic fungicide or bactericide as needed.

once Root rot begins, there is no salvation of the rotten part of the rhizome. This rot caused by fungi often occurs in soils that are too damp. Cut off lazy spots, let the rhizome dry and plant it like a new one. Watch if you get new sprouts.

frequently asked Questions

Budding ginger rhizomeThe budding knots of this rhizome are colored light green. Source: Graibeard

Q: How long does it take to grow ginger?

A: After planting your rhizome segments, it can take 8-10 months for the plant to grow and mature.

Q: How big is ginger?

A: It can reach 3 feet tall on its cane-like flower stems.

The green thumbs behind this article:
Lorin Nielsen
Lifetime gardener

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