You might think growing ginger is confined to humid countries in Asia, but the great thing is that you can cultivate ginger almost anywhere, even indoors! Ginger makes an excellent addition to any garden, especially those grown by cooks or drink lovers. Ginger is packed with flavor, and versatile enough for a huge variety of recipes. If you’ve been thinking about growing the flavorful root, then this is the sign for you.
How To Grow Ginger Indoors
We love ginger for its culinary uses, bringing a touch of brightness to any dish. Today, we’ll walk you through the essential aspects of successfully growing ginger indoors. This way, you get to control the growing conditions, as well as enjoy the plant in your home garden!
Great soil is your foundation for gardening success. Ginger roots love to grow in loose, well-draining soil. Pick a high-quality potting mix from garden stores. You can also make your own by mixing your garden soil with some compost. Just make sure that your potting mix drains really well as waterlogged soils can quickly result in root rot.
If you have a soil tester with you, check to make sure that the pH level is around 6.0 to 6.8, which is on the slightly acidic side. If not, then most potting soils should be fine as is. There are some products that can be used to increase soil acidity; just be careful to not make them too acidic.
Soil can compact over time, especially in potted plants. Your ginger can be exposed to this risk, so when planting them, avoid excess patting down on the soil. This way, you get to have good soil-to-root contact without soil compaction. You should also look to repot and replace your soil every 2-3 years to prevent compaction.
Ginger roots and rhizomes tend to spread horizontally, so when picking a container for them, pick one with future growth in mind. This means picking a pot that’s at least 12 inches deep and wide, enough for the roots to expand. Check to make sure that there are enough drainage holes to keep water from sitting inside the pot.
Material choice is another matter. Terracotta and clay pots are excellent choices as they allow for better air circulation and moisture evaporation. Both materials help maintain optimal soil conditions. Outside of that, most other containers like plastic will also work.
Just keep in mind that if your indoor condition tends to be drier, your ginger may require more watering. This is because terracotta and clay pots wick away excess water in the soil. Ceramic pots offer more moisture retention but may need more monitoring for soil moisture levels.
Finally, think about how often you’ll need to move your container, if at all. If you plan to move your indoor ginger to different spots to optimize light conditions, then pick a container that you can easily lift and relocate.
Unlike many other plants, ginger isn’t grown from seeds but from rhizomes. Rhizomes are basically a large piece of root, and take the place of seed for ginger. You’ll plant these rhizomes instead of traditional seeds, but the process is almost identical.
You can plant the ginger as is, but we’ve found that soaking the rhizomes overnight in warm water really perks them up. You can plant the whole thing or you can cut it into sections, making sure that each section has at least one to two buds or “eyes”.
Plant the ginger sections about two to four inches deep in the soil or container, ensuring the buds face upward. Then, space ginger sections about eight to ten inches apart if planting multiple pieces. Water the soil thoroughly to help it settle around the rhizome. Finally, place a layer of mulch to help retain moisture.
Be patient during the initial stages of growth, as ginger can take a few weeks to sprout. Once it begins to grow, continue to care for it. Prune dead or yellowing leaves regularly. Watch out for pests like aphids and spider mites, and treat them promptly if detected. By maintaining the right conditions, you’ll be on your way to enjoying your homegrown ginger in no time.
Just remember that if your ginger plant has been growing for several years and seems less productive, consider repotting it into fresh soil to revitalize its growth. For larger plants, you may also need to upgrade them to a larger container.
Ginger is often found in tropical countries, soaking up the sunlight. Naturally, when you bring it indoors, you have to make sure that your ginger has enough sunlight for it to grow well. Try looking for a spot that receives at least four to six hours of sunlight. A window facing east or south works really well.
Ginger does best in an area that gets bright, but indirect light. Very intense afternoon sun can burn out the plant, so try to avoid these areas. Turn the pot with your ginger plant every few weeks to ensure even exposure to light. This prevents the plant from leaning toward the light source.
But, if you don’t have these lighting conditions, don’t worry. You can use grow lights to supplement the light levels that your ginger needs. Run these for about 6-8 hours per day to offset the difference in intensity between natural and artificial light.
Ginger roots love to grow in moist soils, but will die when the soil has too much water. This means you have to balance the soil moisture content perfectly, and here’s how you can do it.
Water the soil only when it’s about to dry out. You can determine the level by sticking your index finger into the potting mix, about an inch in. If it feels dry, then it’s time to water the soil. If it feels moist then the soil still has enough water.
You may need to water more frequently during the spring and summer months. In the winter months, water your ginger sparingly as this is the period when growth is slower as the plant enters its dormant stage.
Gingers are not heavy feeders, so you can leave them as is, especially if you’ve added compost or dried manure to your potting mix. However, they can also benefit from occasional feeding from a balanced water-soluble organic or inorganic fertilizer. Dilute it to half- or quarter-strength.
You can apply the fertilizer every two to three months during the spring or summer growing seasons. Just don’t over fertilize though, as this could result in too much foliage at the expense of ginger rhizome growth. You’re growing them for the rhizomes, not for their leaves after all.
Since ginger is a tropical plant, make sure that it’s grown in temperatures that range from 70 to 85 F. It can be sensitive to frost, so avoid exposing it to cooler temperatures.
Keep the plant from windows and doors where cold drafts can be felt. While it can tolerate temperatures down to 55 F, going below can result in the plant getting stressed from the cold. You might end up with stunted growth at best and plant death at worst.
Aside from temperature, humidity is important when keeping your ginger indoors. To mimic its natural environments, think about keeping the humidity levels at least 60 percent. Misting frequently, placing a tray filled with water and pebbles, or just using a humidifier around the plant are all easy ways to increase humidity.
Sudden fluctuations in temperature and humidity can stress out the ginger, so make sure it grows in the most conducive environment possible. If you want to monitor both factors, try using a thermometer and hygrometer to monitor these conditions accurately.
Just because you have high humidity doesn’t mean that the air has to be stagnant. Promote proper ventilation to prevent fungal diseases. Use a small fan at low speed to ensure gentle air circulation around your ginger plant.
Now comes the most thrilling part: harvesting your ginger. Ginger is typically ready for harvest eight to ten months after planting. Signs that it’s ready include yellowing leaves and thinning stems. To harvest, carefully dig up the rhizomes gently without damaging them. You can use a trowel or fork to carefully dig around the edges of the pot, gradually exposing the rhizomes.
As you uncover the rhizomes, check their size and appearance. Mature ginger rhizomes will be plump and firm, with well-developed branches. You can choose to harvest the entire plant or just a portion, depending on your needs. If you’re going for a partial harvest, remove the outer rhizomes while leaving some in the soil to continue growing.
Remember that ginger is a resilient plant, and even after harvesting, you can replant a portion of the rhizome to continue growing more ginger indoors, ensuring a constant supply of this wonderful spice in your home garden.
Once you’ve harvested the ginger, gently shake off excess soil and rinse it under cool water. Allow the ginger to dry and then you can store your freshly harvested ginger in a cool, dry place or use it immediately to add a burst of flavor to your culinary creations.
Before we say our ginger goodbye, remember that growing ginger indoors is a learning process. Pay attention to how your ginger responds to different conditions and adjust your care routine accordingly. Ginger is a perennial plant, so with proper care, it can provide a continuous harvest for several years. Don’t forget to add some ginger delight to your day!
Ginger Frequently Asked Questions
Can I grow ginger from store-bought ginger roots?
Yes, you can grow ginger from store-bought ginger roots. Select a fresh, plump ginger root from the grocery store and follow our planting instructions. Be sure to choose organic ginger roots if possible, as non-organic ones may have been treated to inhibit sprouting.
What do I do during the dormant season for my indoor ginger plant?
During the dormant season of fall and winter, reduce both watering and fertilization. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering, and withhold fertilization until the plant begins active growth in spring. You can also trim back any yellowing or dead foliage during this time to encourage healthy growth when the growing season resumes.
How often should I repot my indoor ginger plant?
You should consider repotting your ginger plant every one to two years, especially if it becomes root-bound or if the plant's growth seems stunted. Repotting provides fresh soil and space for the root system to expand.