Growing Ginger

by Greenthumb on June 28, 2011

Ginger Roots

Ginger Roots

Have you tried growing ginger yet?

Ginger, known as Zingiber officinale or official ginger is a very easy herb to grow. Even better? You can probably find a start at the grocery store.

This is not the tropical ginger with flashy blooms that you see in Hawaiian photos, but rather the ginger root you use in gingerbread! If you grow your own you can use it fresh or even dry it.

If you can find an organic piece of ginger root with some eye buds forming (sort of like the eyes on a potato) you will have a ginger plant sooner rather than later.

Gigner roots- eye buds

Ginger Roots-See the Green Eye Buds?

Although it is easy to grow in a container or in the garden, Ginger has a few requirements for growing well.

  • It likes warmth.
  • It likes partial shade.
  • It likes moist, rich soil.

If you can provide these things, you can grow your own ginger root!

Here’s the “Ginger Growing 4-1-1″ :

Find a nice ginger root (known as a rhizome) at the store. Look for eye bud swellings.

If you can get them, an organic rhizome is probably better because non organic roots may be treated with a growth inhibitor, and you may want to eat your root at some point! If you can’t find anything else, grab the non organic anyway and give it a try. Organic or not, I have never had one NOT grow!

If you have a large root with several eye growth buds, you can break the root into several pieces, each with an eye bud and plant them all!

Dig your spot in the garden, or use a good potting mix and fill your container nearly full. Plant the ginger just an inch or two beneath the soil, making sure the eye buds are pointing upward!

planting ginger root

Ginger root with growth buds facing up!

Cover the root and water.

A 12″ pot can probably handle two roots, larger containers can handle another one or two. Plastic is best, roots can get ‘stuck’ in terra cotta and you may shatter pots when digging the roots.

Make sure you keep the rhizomes moist, out of bright direct sun and wind.

Compared to other herbs, Ginger plants are ‘slow pokes’ when it comes to growing. They will eventually reach a height of  2 feet or more in a container and may hit a height of 2 to 3 feet in the garden.

growing ginger in a container

Ginger growing nicely!

You can harvest your rhizomes at any time after the plant has grown for several months, but the longer you can keep the plant growing the larger your harvest will be. You may notice the rhizome has some roots. You can just cut them off and use the ginger root, or save a piece (with a growth bud) for re-planting!

You may also notice new ‘buds’ forming at the top of the rhizome. These can be separated and planted for even more ginger!

New Ginger rhizomes

New Ginger Babies!

 

Since I live where it’s cold in the winter I usually start mine in the greenhouse early in Spring, or in the house in February. Once night temperatures are above 60*F I set them out and let them grow all summer. Roots are harvested when the leaves start to die back in the fall- but before a frost. Frost kills the plant and can harm the roots.

If your ginger has been growing awhile you might find the roots have gotten quite a bit larger by the time you harvest!

If you don’t want to harvest just yet-

You can bring the whole pot inside and store it somewhere dry and cool, but not cold. Remember, it’s a tropical plant! Don’t water it. Don’t even look at. Next year when the weather warms you can add some nice compost, set it out where it’s it will be toasty and watch it begin growing again.

You can also keep it in a warm, well lit area and keep it as a houseplant.

Ginger Plant and Root

Ginger Foliage and Root

Zingiber officinale does not produce a showy blossom like many tropical plants, and the way I usually grow mine does not allow time for the plant to bloom anyway. If you overwinter yours, or you live somewhere warm, humid and tropical you might get a few ‘plain Jane’ blooms from your Ginger plant.

Send me a picture if you do!

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Erick Couts II July 6, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Everytime I try to grow anything like ginger or whatever, it always comes out smelling sour and becoming squishy. I end up with a floating film on the water that I have my container sitting in. Nothing sprouts, it just becomes a liquid goo. The soil is just moist at the top like it should be and I’m using the Miracle Gro with the pellets that absorb water to avoid over-watering. What could I be doing wrong? Even potatoes won’t grow! They come out just as squishy. And don’t get me started on radishes. The only thing I can get to grow are onions. Those green onions you buy from the store in a bundle, I let to plant them and let them get bigger around while providing for more onions from sprouts later on. Even those are starting to wilt. :-/ Doesn’t matter where I grow them, indoors or outdoors; it’s the same results.
Can anyone help?

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Greenthumb July 6, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Hi Erick, If you have standing water in the saucers beneath your plants that means the soil is much too wet! Those saucers should just catch the overflow after watering and should dry up not long after. If there is standing water it means your roots are waterlogged and cannot get any oxygen. Good luck!

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Linda June 26, 2013 at 2:42 pm

I am going to get a ginger root, for sure today! I live in the Midwest though, so I think I’ll sink it into the soil right away. QUESTION: If I bought a nice large root, could I split it and then have two in pots/ground?

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Greenthumb July 6, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Sure! As long as each piece has an eye they should be fine ;)

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Pam May 25, 2013 at 10:55 pm

I discovered that I have a huge area of white ginger growing in my yard in South Carolina. (I am a Yankee transplant and have had quite an involved education on the plants that grow here!) I have to a say that my established plants routinely grow to about six feet, but these are very old and have gone undisturbed for over a decade. When I found out what these beautiful plants with their lovely-scented flowers were, I have paid more attention to them and have also removed several smaller plants as they have emerged. I have put those in pots and they now grace my deck for future harvest.

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Norma hidalgo May 25, 2013 at 9:52 pm

A timely post. I was planning to plant ginger today. Now I will plant it. Thanks.

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Mary S May 25, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Going to try this in sunny Scotland– watch this space! Thanks for the tutorial :)

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Glenda May 25, 2013 at 9:15 pm

I live in southwestern oregon at the coast and I don’t think it ever gets above 60 degrees at night. But I am building a snap n grow greenhouse will it help to keep it in the greenhouse?

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Greenthumb July 6, 2013 at 6:55 pm

It might be great- I don’t know how cold your winters are. Ginger is really a tropical and likes the warmth but with that being said I can bring it indoors here in Illinois as a houseplant for the winter and it does perfectly alright!

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Lyn May 20, 2013 at 8:26 am

Brilliant info, and a facinating read from other people. The growing instructions are great, easy to read and follow. Thank you, I am off to the market tomorrow to look for some healthy ginger roots. Love it for all the healing and health properties, and taste of course. I live in New Zealand and we are just coming in to winter, so will try potting it up and keeping it by a sunny window. Fingers crossed. Cheers.

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Greenthumb July 6, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Thanks Lyn, keep us posted!

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Alecia April 12, 2013 at 6:35 pm

I was wondering exactly how often to water the ginger . And how much water, I have my root in a large container indoors until it warms up outside. You stated not too much wind, I live in the windy city of Chicago, should I just keep it inside?

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Greenthumb April 20, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Hi Alecia- We’re downstate and in a windy cornfield :) Water when the soil feels dry on the surface to about 1/2-1″ down. Ginger likes moist soil and does best in light shade. If you have a bright window it will probably to very well for you. Good luck!

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Sue April 11, 2013 at 3:16 am

Hi there, I live in NZ…we have a ginger plant that is a noxious weed….where would I get the ginger root to grow it please?

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Greenthumb April 11, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Hi Sue- here in the states ginger roots (rhizomes) can be purchased at the grocery store. It usually grows beautifully! Can you buy fresh ginger root at the grocers? If so you might want to try it. Best of luck!

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Avril Samuels April 10, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Hi, I ahve grown some ginger doing exactly as you have mentioned and the plants have taken off beautifully.

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Greenthumb April 11, 2013 at 5:22 pm

That’s great Avril, keep me posted, I’d love to see pictures!

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maria March 31, 2013 at 9:35 am

Thanks for the ginger info’, that’s great.I am from HK and also a beginner in gardening,mostly my plants are in containers, they are doing alright except I do not know about the watering,I am afraid of if it’s too much water and it will too wet and will have some white thing on the surface of the soil.
Does a tomato plant has a second life ? or it won’t do any good after the first harvest.
Many Thanks

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Greenthumb April 4, 2013 at 12:46 am

The ginger may have too much water- you could have mold on the soil surface. Tomatoes will grow until frost or cold weather kills the plant. Does that help?

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Dawn May 13, 2013 at 4:19 am

The hydroponics store in my neighborhood has a tomato plant that’s overwintered inside. It’s about a year old and still producing! They’ve got it supported by a net-like thing… it’s a sprawling plant!

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Greenthumb July 6, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Oh what fun, they can get huge!

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SoCalGT May 26, 2013 at 9:10 am

Maria if your climate is mild enough without frosts, your tomatoes will continue to grow and produce. I’m in Southern California and my tomatoes from last year (mine are in containers too) are producing again this year. Tomatoes are tender perennials. You can also cut a branch off of one of your tomato plants, stick it in the ground, keep it moist and it will grow into another plant.

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PHYLLIS March 18, 2013 at 3:18 am

I’D LIKE TO BE ABLE TO PRINT THIS ARTICLE BUT I DON’T SEE ANYWHERE ON THE PAGE TO DO SO. AM I MISSING SOMETHING? I JUST DISCOVERED YOUR WEBSITE AND I AM VERY THRILLED TO HAVE FOUND YOU. THANX FOR THIS FABULOUS GIFT TO HUMANITY. I AM MOST GRATEFUL.

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Greenthumb April 4, 2013 at 12:59 am

Hi Phyllis,
So glad you found us! Lucky you being able to live on St. Thomas for a time. I visited once years ago- it was lovely. As far as copying the article, you can probably just copy all on the page and paste it into a word doc or email. I hope that helps and please let me know if I can help with anything :) ~Rhonda

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Chuck May 26, 2013 at 12:27 am

Hi Phyllis
Just “right click” anywhere on the screen and select “print”. It will be sent to your default printer. Enjoy
Chuck

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Falicia D. March 16, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Can you eat the leaf and stem or just the root? Thanks

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Greenthumb March 17, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Hi Falicia, the rhizome or root is the edible part of the plant :)

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rae July 4, 2013 at 5:36 am

Hey the stems and leaves have a similar taste as the roots with a bit more lemon-y flavor. At least that’s what I read! some folks just clip the tops, as they grow well, and leave the roots in the ground.

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Amanda March 13, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Hi i live in puerto rico and i have red peppers and some red beans but i wold like to know what other plants i can put in my balcony that take some sun and shade thanks for the tip of the ginger but how wold i use it is there other uses for ginger ?

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Greenthumb March 17, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Amanda, you could probably grow most things there! What sort of flavors do you like? Basil does well in pots and Mints will grow well in containers if you repot them regularly as will most other herbs. Lemon flavors might include Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, or Lemon Basil.Ginger can be used in teas, baking and all sorts of recipes (try a google search for that) and you can dry it or use it fresh. Have fun!

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PHYLLIS March 18, 2013 at 3:22 am

WE, OUR FAMILY USES GINGER IN EVERYTHING; GRATED, DICED, SLICED, YOU NAME IT. I ESPECIALLY LIKE TO MAKE GINGER ALE, WHICH I LEARNED HOW TO DO WHEN I LIVED ON ST THOMAS FROM A WOMAN FROM ANTIGUA. IT IS REALLY REALLY HEALTHY FOR US; ANTIOXIDANT, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT ALL. ENJOY

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Dawn April 10, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Phyllis,
Post your recipe for Ginger Ale, I would love to have it and I think others as well ;-)

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Maggie July 4, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Yes! Phyllis! Please post your recipe for Ginger Ale. I love it and I need the health benefits too. Anti-inflammatory especially. So glad I found this site.

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Lilly May 26, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Dear Phyllis
I love ginger <3 and would love to know how to make ginger ale, if you don't mind sharing :-)

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Anne July 4, 2013 at 12:58 am

Can you share your recipe for ginger ale?

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Sandra Goodman July 4, 2013 at 2:17 am

hi Amanda, I have recently discovered ginger and all it’s wonderful health benefits. I am trying to grow my own (just potted about 3 weeks ago and have 2 shoots!!). I gave up soda because of the horrible ingredients and started making what I call ginger mint tea with lemons. it is delicious and healthy and helping me lose weight! I add raw local honey for flavor and health benefits (a tbsp. a day keeps the allergies away).

boil ginger and mint for 5 to 10 mins then steep for at least half hour. add honey then pour over sliced lemons

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helen March 12, 2013 at 2:57 am

thank you for growing ginger advice..i have wanted to grow ginger for a while but just didnt get started as yet, so this is excellent for me to get going n growing !!… my question is that i have several roots that i keep in the freezer for later use, they have perfect eye buds on them…can i use these to grow even if they have been frozen ??..thanks again :)

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Greenthumb March 12, 2013 at 5:04 pm

You could try the roots you have but ginger is not freeze hardy. They may just rot and turn to mush! ;P

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Eather reynolds March 11, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Can’t wait to trying hand at frowning herbs

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Maria March 11, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Thanks for sharing this, I’m going to try this. ;-)

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Lesley October 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Thanks for the clear instructions, I have some ginger with some eye growth on them and wondered if I could plant them.

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amy September 10, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Thanks you for the excellent, clearly written instructions! This was exactly what I was looking for. I’m going to look for a nice ginger root at the market today!

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Shailesh Kanathe January 29, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I want to know that how to dry ginger at home…… and what is English name of dried ginger. The Hindi name of dried ginger is “SOTH”.

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Greenthumb January 29, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Shailesh- we just call it dried ginger! You can learn how I dry it here: http://www.growingherbsforbeginners.com/how-to-dry-ginger/

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Kitsune Nyx October 22, 2011 at 4:32 pm

We always had Ginger around the garden & it always blooms. The fragrance is still amazing, even in edible Ginger.
Oh & if you’d like to see one of the blooms:
http://www.exot-nutz-zier.de/images/prod_images/Zingiber_officinal.jpg

They’re not too show stopping, but still lovely.
:)

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Greenthumb October 22, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Kitsune, thanks for sharing! :)

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Patti October 19, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Can you provide any advice on when to plant in warmer (but not especially humid) climates, and also whether I’d have to bring indoors for the winter? I’d love to plant this now if I could find a piece with eyes but not sure if I should wait. We don’t typically get frosts but it *can* happen (I’m in Southern California, slightly inland in a low valley; overnight temps are typically no lower than high 30s/low 40s in winter and sometimes much warmer than that.)

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Greenthumb October 20, 2011 at 12:55 am

Patti, I grew up out there, but didn’t garden much as a kid :-) I honestly can’t tell you when the best time is to plant- but I can tell you that growth would be slow in cooler temps and if it’s damp and cool for any length of time the rhizomes may even rot. Having said that, if you have a warm spot that is protected they may do beautifully for you! You may want to check for a university extension website in your area- they usually have gardening/planting help online and sometimes Master Gardeners are on hand in the office to field calls. Good luck!

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Terica June 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I am so glad to find this , I was supposed to go to a seminar to learn this but was unable to make it ! Thanks so much , I am putting Ginger root on my grocery list . Peace and happy planting

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