Ginger is an amazingly aromatic and potent spice. It’s commonly used in Asian cuisine, but also makes an appearance in teas, smoothies, and more. Plus, it’s said to ease an upset stomach, making it handy to have on-hand. Many people prefer ginger when it’s fresh, so finding a way to grow ginger indoors is ideal.
As with many herbs and spices, having access to a fresh source allows you to experience the best of what ginger has to offer, ensuring you can experience the full flavour and natural texture. Luckily, growing ginger indoors is surprisingly easy. Here are some tips that can help indoor gardeners keep a reliable supply of ginger all year-round.
Start with Live Ginger Root
If you want to grow your own ginger, you need a living root. Usually, you can find ginger at nurseries or garden centres. Select a root that is plump and firm, preferably with tight skin and multiple eye buds. You can cut the root at each eye bud, giving you the ability to get several plants from that initial root.
If you struggle to find it locally, consider heading online and searching for a seed company or nursery that will ship. Just keep in mind that you won’t be able to select your piece, so you might not get as many eye buds this way.
Preparing to Grow Ginger Indoors
Before you plant your ginger root, you need to prep it. If you have several eye buds, you can section the root by cutting it into pieces. Just make sure every piece has at least one eye bud, allowing it to become its own plant. Then, soak the roots in warm water, preferably overnight.
You also want to make sure that you have the right planter available. Since ginger grows horizontally, you need a wide pot that’s a bit on the shallow side (usually around 8 to 12 inches deep is sufficient). Additionally, look for planting soil that is rich and drains easily.
Planting the Ginger Root
After the ginger has soaked, you can start the planting process. Take your pot and put a 4-inch layer of soil in it. Make sure that you have at least 3 to 4 inches of room between the top of the soil and the upper edge of the pot.
Next, place the ginger root onto the soil and make sure that the eye bud faces up. Cover the root with 1 to 2 inches of soil. As you plant, keep each root piece 6 to 8 inches apart. That way, they have room to grow properly.
Once all of the pieces are in place, water the soil well. While you don’t want the soil to be soaking wet or to have visible pools on the surface, it should be moist once you are done.
Then, move the pot to a warm spot that doesn’t get too much direct sunlight. Usually, you’ll need the temperature in the room to remain between 60 and 90 degrees, including overnight, so keep that in mind when choosing a location.
Keeping the Ginger Growing
Now that your ginger is planted, you need to make sure it has everything it needs to grow. Make sure to monitor the soil and only water it when it is no longer moist. Overwatering can be harmful to ginger, so the soil should never be soaked. However, since it thrives in tropical environments, dry soil isn’t great either, so it’s a bit of a balancing act. If you mist the soil with a spray bottle, it’s typically easier to stay in the sweet spot.
Be patient as you wait for your ginger to grow. Ginger is notoriously slow, so it could take two to three weeks for shoots to emerge from the soil. Plus, it will take even longer for it to be harvestable.
As the root grows, ginger rhizomes – the portions of the root that is used as a spice – may emerge through the surface of the oil. When this happens, get a little more potting soil and cover the exposed area to protect it from the sun. Otherwise, that little section may turn green, and it may not be as flavourful.
Every month, it’s also wise to add some compost to the pot. Just sprinkle a few inches on top and mist it with a spray bottle.
Harvesting After You Grow Ginger Indoors
In a few months, once the stems above the soil reach a height of about 3 to 5 inches, you can harvest some of your ginger. Go to the edge of your pot and gently push some of the soil aside. Once you find a rhizome (a piece of the root that will grow indefinitely with proper care) use a small knife to remove some of the ginger.
Alternatively, you can lift an entire section by holding the shoot near its base and pulling it from the soil. Then, trim a piece of the root, put the plant back in the pot, cover the rhizome with soil again, water it heavily, and be gentle with that area for a few days.
By only taking enough ginger to handle your needs at the time, you can maintain a near-endless supply in your indoor garden. Just make sure to keep up with the watering, and add compost monthly to ensure the health of your plants.