Growing Ginger

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 ofย  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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  1. Terica, 28 June, 2011

    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

  2. Patti, 19 October, 2011

    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.)

  3. Greenthumb, 20 October, 2011

    Patti, I grew up out there, but didn’t garden much as a kid ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!

  4. Kitsune Nyx, 22 October, 2011

    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:

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

  5. Greenthumb, 22 October, 2011

    Kitsune, thanks for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Shailesh Kanathe, 29 January, 2012

    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”.

  7. Greenthumb, 29 January, 2012

    Shailesh- we just call it dried ginger! You can learn how I dry it here:

  8. amy, 10 September, 2012

    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!

  9. Lesley, 20 October, 2012

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

  10. Maria, 11 March, 2013

    Thanks for sharing this, I’m going to try this. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Eather reynolds, 11 March, 2013

    Can’t wait to trying hand at frowning herbs

  12. helen, 12 March, 2013

    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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Greenthumb, 12 March, 2013

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

  14. Anne, 11 June, 2014

    I also keep ginger in the freezer. My Chinese cooking teacher told us to do that, because when you want some you just scrape the thin skin off the sides and grate it. I have never had the frozen ginger get soggy or go bad in any way, although sometimes it will get a little freezer burn if the wrapping comes loose (just scrape it away and use the rest!)

    I had never tried to grow any, but I would think that once frozen it would have less chance of growing well. You can try it if you like, but the odds are on better results if you get a new, fresh piece to grow. Good Luck!

  15. Amanda, 13 March, 2013

    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 ?

  16. Greenthumb, 17 March, 2013

    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!

  17. PHYLLIS, 18 March, 2013


  18. Dawn, 10 April, 2013

    Post your recipe for Ginger Ale, I would love to have it and I think others as well ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. Maggie, 04 July, 2013

    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.

  20. Lilly, 26 May, 2013

    Dear Phyllis
    I love ginger <3 and would love to know how to make ginger ale, if you don't mind sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Anne, 04 July, 2013

    Can you share your recipe for ginger ale?

  22. Lulu, 09 August, 2014

    Hi Phyllis,
    I just discovered this website & was reading all the questions & replies from Greenthumb when I ran across yours. In your post you talked about making ginger- ale & I see that many asked you if you would share your recipe but I don’t see a post or anything with the recipe. With that being said, I would like to ask you if you would please, please share your recipe with us. If you decide your willing to share, I am sure I am not alone in saying how grateful we all would be. Please consider sharing ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thank you,

  23. Sandra Goodman, 04 July, 2013

    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

  24. Falicia D., 16 March, 2013

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

  25. Greenthumb, 17 March, 2013

    Hi Falicia, the rhizome or root is the edible part of the plant ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. rae, 04 July, 2013

    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.

  27. Marlee, 21 August, 2014

    Hi, Im from the north east of India and we eat ginger leaves as well by adding them to meat curries or stews.. it gives a subtle taste and lovely aroma to the dish!

  28. PHYLLIS, 18 March, 2013


  29. Greenthumb, 04 April, 2013

    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 ๐Ÿ™‚ ~Rhonda

  30. Chuck, 26 May, 2013

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

  31. maria, 31 March, 2013

    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

  32. Greenthumb, 04 April, 2013

    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?

  33. Dawn, 13 May, 2013

    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!

  34. Greenthumb, 06 July, 2013

    Oh what fun, they can get huge!

  35. SoCalGT, 26 May, 2013

    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.

  36. Avril Samuels, 10 April, 2013

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

  37. Greenthumb, 11 April, 2013

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

  38. Sue, 11 April, 2013

    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?

  39. Greenthumb, 11 April, 2013

    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!

  40. Alecia, 12 April, 2013

    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?

  41. Greenthumb, 20 April, 2013

    Hi Alecia- We’re downstate and in a windy cornfield ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!

  42. Lyn, 20 May, 2013

    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.

  43. Greenthumb, 06 July, 2013

    Thanks Lyn, keep us posted!

  44. Glenda, 25 May, 2013

    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?

  45. Greenthumb, 06 July, 2013

    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!

  46. Mary S, 25 May, 2013

    Going to try this in sunny Scotland– watch this space! Thanks for the tutorial ๐Ÿ™‚

  47. Norma hidalgo, 25 May, 2013

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

  48. Pam, 25 May, 2013

    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.

  49. Linda, 26 June, 2013

    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?

  50. Greenthumb, 06 July, 2013

    Sure! As long as each piece has an eye they should be fine ๐Ÿ˜‰

  51. Erick Couts II, 06 July, 2013

    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?

  52. Greenthumb, 06 July, 2013

    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!

  53. on my Ginger, 13 July, 2014

    Hi Eric, I have never grown Ginger before, I decided I wanted to give it a try. Well I did with this way. I let my store bought ginger set out on my counter until I noticed a few bulbs sprouting from it. While it was on the counter sprouting, I was saving my used coffee grounds to put into my planter with my good soil. When I added the grounds into the soil I mixed it well ( letting it stay dry at this time ). At that time I broke off those three nubs that I seen sprouting but I let the sprout get about 1/2 inch. Then I made sure the soil was moist ( not wet), I put the three numbs into the planter with sprouts upward. I forgot I had wild morning glory seeds in that planter, well they came up with 2 of the ginger sprouts. I just now transferred the ginger into a planter of their own. Used Coffee Grounds are wonderful, they also make your plant much greener. I have had many compliments already! For I normally do not have a green thumb. My wild morning glory I am already needing to transfer it into a very huge planter! Now these were just planted in early June. Hope this helps and good luck.

  54. Laura, 29 August, 2014

    Fyi. Miracle grow is, in my opinion, the worst potting mix to get. Look for baccto, or jungle grow. If you have to use miracle grow get the one in the blue bag that helps the water be maintained. And put small stones in the bottom of your pots. Every so often carefully loosen the soil around your plant’s roots using a butter knife or regular fork that you eat with. That will help with the soil compacting down. Watch your plants – when they start to look dry they are thirsty. A good rule of thumb with indoor plants is to water about once a week. Same for outdoor potted plants unless it is really hot and dry. If the plant looks thirsty it probably is. It doesn’t need water daily. Hope this helps you.

  55. Mary Wikswo, 08 March, 2014

    Quite by accident I grew a ginger plant last year. I usually keep ginger on the counter, where it is a little dark. One day I noticed sprouts on the rhizome. I actually waited until the sprouts were six inches tall before placing in potting mix. All summer they grew, and in the fall moved it into the greenhouse. The foliage did die back, I stuck the pot in a corner behind a bearing tomato plant, so they are warm enough. I anxiously await seeing new growth-the rhizome is firm, so I thing the plant is alive.

  56. Bea, 24 May, 2014

    I’ve been kitchen growing for about 10 years now…I’ve had 6 lemon trees which I’ve given away Two pineapple plants, one Orange tree. It all started with Lemons..had an flower pot sitting on my counter one time…and just cut a lemon removed the seeds and threw them in the pot. Wala, Lemon trees started to grow. I was successful once to get a mango to grow, but a squirrel got to it. It’s soo rewarding. Orange and lemon tree leaves smell like the fruit. and the leaves are soo pretty.

  57. Julian Vaughn, 13 June, 2014

    Im glad I visited this site. Originally I was looking at Yahoo images to find out if I had bought Ginger or Ginseng. While there I saw a photo of a ginger plant in a clay pot that I thought was interesting. When I got to the site here I read about another guys having trouble growing plants and you told him that if he has standing water in the pan that the roots do not get oxygen. That was critical information for me to learn because I have a small tree on my balcony that has standing water in the pan. It wasn’t doing too well and I was beginning to wonder why. Thanks to the visit to your blog I now what is wrong now. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  58. Silly Little Sheep, 05 July, 2014

    My ginger just started growing in a bowl of fruit, where I left it unattended ๐Ÿ™‚ it has a 10cm shoot right now and two more eyes. It makes me feel like this is a really easy plant to grow ๐Ÿ™‚

  59. ISAAC MBAZIIRA, 04 August, 2014

    I am so happy to find this, I am going to plant ginger on one acre in Uganda. But how long do I have to take to start harvesting?. I will be glad to have your response via my E-mail. Thank you very much

  60. Greenthumb, 02 May, 2015

    I hope you have found someone to help you, Isaac! I don’t have any idea how long it would take in Uganda for ginger to reach harvest size.
    Best of luck!

  61. Barb Melrose, 27 August, 2014

    I planted ginger root last October and it is now nearing the end of August. I’ll let it go as it is doing so well. After the lowest temperature got over 50 degrees, I moved it outside to the patio. Even though 100 degree weather it has kept on growing great. I’ll dig it up probably the end of October or a little sooner and then replant one of the babies or more. I plan on dehydrating slices of the ginger and then once totally dry, using my coffee grinder to make into a powder for all those great pumpkin and apple recipes!!! It grew great all winter inside, on a table next to an eastern window that got lots of morning light. I started it out with organic soil and organic fertilizer too. Haven’t had to feed it much but you need a good formula that supports root growth.

  62. Dennis, 12 September, 2014

    I use ginger to stop nausea. Learned it at a class for those receiving chemo therapy. Also noticed they gave it out on the cruise I went on. It really helps as long as you take it early before nausea gets very bad. I really like candied ginger, benefit while like eating candy.

  63. LYNNE M, 24 January, 2015

    i planted my ginger plants the way you said on december 25th
    3 weeks and they are 7and 1/2 inches above ground
    im in Englewood florida and i keep my ginger in water
    i have pictutes and am not sure how to put them on your website

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