How to Grow Ginger Indoors
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What is Ginger (And Can I Grow It Indoors)? | Ginger Basics
Not all of us may be familiar with ginger.
When I say ginger, I mean the actual living plant and source of the famed culinary Asian root, whether fresh or powdered (and which is correctly known as a “rhizome”).
Plenty of us who eat Asian food are familiar with ginger, of course.
But when thinking of growing the plant for oneself, it’s easy to make the mistake thinking it can only grow in some far-off, exotic place.
You couldn’t be further from the truth.
Ginger is a perennial that does grow natively in tropical regions of Asia. What’s surprising is that it’s incredibly hardy, adaptable, and versatile enough to be grown in other places.
Even in cold temperate regions. And yes—even indoors in your house or apartment in the city.
Why Grow Ginger? | Growing Ginger Indoors
Why should you grow ginger?
There’s lots more to it beyond loving Asian food.
For one, ginger matches well with far more recipes than just Asian ones.
The culinary rhizome pairs well with plenty of dishes, including those involving chicken, fish, or sweet desserts. If you love smoothies or juicing, ginger is a standout ingredient in these.
Another reason: ginger has amazing healing properties.
You don’t just have to use it for food—it can also be used for certain ailments.
It makes a tasty tea for digestive complaints, nausea, cramps, headaches, even colds and flu.
Last but not least: ginger is an exceptionally beautiful plant.
Growing it in pots indoors gives you a moderately tall, handsome plant that adds a touch of the tropics to your living space.
But unlike similar-looking paradise plants, it will be nowhere near as finnicky. In fact, ginger is surprisingly easy to grow—and is even easier to grow indoors, no less.
What Do I Need to Grow Ginger? | Ginger Growing Tools
Ready to grow ginger? Before you get started, here’s what you need to equip yourself.
- Live ginger rhizome(s) for planting
Green, above-ground foliage will sprout from the very same rhizome that people cook and eat.
It may surprise you, but you can even purchase a rhizome straightaway from the grocery store and use that to propagate your very first ginger plant.
Buying from a grocery store doesn’t always work, however. You may be better off buying a guaranteed-live ginger rhizome for planting online.
Whether obtaining it from a store or online, make sure it is an organically-grown rhizome if pesticide residue is an issue for you.
Ginger is native to forest habitats that get plenty of rain. It’s also used to growing under the canopy of trees, mostly in the shade.
Because of this, your ginger will prefer soil that is always moist—but not sopping wet, either. It may also prefer slightly more acid soils, too.
Your ginger rhizome may start out small, unless you purchase a very large one.
But once you pot it up and watch it grow, you can bet your rhizome will grow bigger very quickly!
Though it’s tempting to start out with a small, cute pot, make sure to get one that allows your rhizome to stretch its legs and get bigger. At least a foot in diameter is recommended.
- A window (doesn’t have to be sunny or south-facing)
Despite tropical origins, ginger is an understory forest plant. It’s used to growing in the thick shade of trees.
So, it doesn’t need a whole lot of sun. In fact, giving it too much may be more harm than help.
All you really need is a window that gives some light. East-facing or west-facing is great, though north-facing is okay in a pinch, too.
- Temperatures constantly above 55°F (60-70°F ideal)
Though ginger is adaptable to colder, temperate climates, that doesn’t mean it’s invincible.
If you want it to stay evergreen, make sure to keep temperatures in your home above 55°F, which isn’t the hardest task indoors.
Below these temperatures—especially during colder seasons where there’s less light—ginger plants may die back and wilt.
This doesn’t mean your ginger is dead forever. It’s just going dormant and will sprout up again when it’s warmer and more light is available.
Still, if you want your beautiful ginger plant to look its best all year round, keep it warm and near the light. This means avoiding putting it in places where there may be unexpected cold drafts and such.
If ginger experiences temps below 32°F or a frost, you risk killing your ginger plant. Sometimes, though, they’re known to toughen up and bounce back.
Getting Started Growing Ginger | Ginger Growing Indoors
If you’re fully equipped to start growing your own ginger, getting around to it is an easy task.
- Step 1: Fill Pot(s) with Soil
Fill your pot (or pots) with soil.
I recommend filling the pot up only about ¾ of the way full to start. You’ll be resting your rhizome atop this, and then covering that with soil.
- Step 2: Place, Plant, and Pot Ginger Rhizome
Take your rhizome and place it flat right atop the soil surface. Then, cover it completely with soil, leaving the rhizome just below the surface.
Make sure the rhizome is both facing and laying the right way. It should lie horizontally the long way, perpendicular to the soil.
Also, if your rhizome is already sprouting little green shoots, make sure these are facing upwards towards the soil surface.
These will grow into the above-ground green parts of your plant, and it’ll give them the easiest journey possible.
- Step 3: Water Deeply and Thoroughly
You’ll want all soil in the pot to be consistently damp every day. Getting that rhizome thoroughly wet will be what ultimately triggers it to start growing, too.
Remember: you don’t want soil to be sopping wet or pooling water. Just thoroughly moist, a lot like a wet sponge. Don’t water excessively.
If the ginger rhizome doesn’t respond to heavy watering, try removing the rhizome and soaking it in water instead. Once it starts to grow shoots, replant it and pot it.
If the rhizome doesn’t produce shoots, try growing ginger from a different rhizome.
- Step 4: Place in Its New Home
Once all planted and watered, your ginger is ready to grow.
Place it on its ideal windowsill and let it grow in peace, while watering daily to keep soil consistently moist.
Ginger may establish slowly at first. But within a few weeks to a month, green spears should poke up above the soil, signaling that the plant is establishing successfully.
Remember: ginger plants can get quite tall and spindly. Make sure there is plenty of room above the pot so it can stretch its fronds.
You can also prune back its fronds if you like, too, without harming the plant.
Harvest and Care for Ginger | Caring for and Harvesting Ginger
Once your ginger is established, there’s not a whole lot more to it.
Water it daily, making sure that soil stays moist all the time, and that rhizomes get a really good, deep dose of water every day. Ginger plants are thirsty plants!
As for harvesting the root, you can choose to dig up your entire ginger plant if you desire, though you know what that means: no more ginger.
But there’s another way to harvest ginger root without killing the entire plant.
With one hand, feel your way down the stem of your ginger plant. Then, feel along the rhizome 2-3 inches away from where the base of the stem grows from the rhizome, just under the soil.
Leaving the stem attached to at least 2 to 3 inches of rhizome rooted and intact in the soil, cut all the remaining rhizome away.
Take this portion, wash it, and use it fresh—or store it in a dry, dark place.
Expand Your Ginger Patch | Growing More Ginger from Rhizomes
Harvesting ginger root straight from your plant AND still keeping your plant alive is pretty nifty.
Even better: in the same way that ginger is harvested, ginger can also be propagated indoors to make for even more ginger plants.
This is especially possible if your ginger plant has more than one stem or shoot rising out of it.
Instead of harvesting by cutting away large rhizome sections, instead you can cut away whole stems and replant them, just as long as they are still attached to 2-3 inches of rhizome.
Take the stem, rhizome, and all, and replant in a whole new pot by following the directions above.
Before you know it, your home or apartment could start filling up with delicious ginger—plenty to harvest, plenty to replant, and plenty to eat!