Ginger, the popular pungent spice with anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties, is a superfood that’s best suited for growing in warm climates. If you live in a subtropical region, or you are challenged for space outdoors and would like to grow this all-purpose plant, you can easily cultivate it indoors in containers all year round.
To get the most desirable results it’s important to use ginger obtained from a garden center or catalog and not from your local grocery. Very often the ginger you find in groceries has been treated to inhibit sprouts from growing in order to extend the shelf life. If the grocery is your only source, then you should soak the ginger overnight in lukewarm water to get rid of any toxins and pesticides. This will significantly improve the chance of a healthy harvest.
It Begins With the Cut. Start with a plump cutting of ginger root about the size of your thumb or around 2-3 inches long. Look for a firm, light-colored chunk that has several bumpy eye buds at the tips. The skin on these buds should be thin and green. The greener the better.
Plant in Wide Shallow Containers. Ginger is a root that grows horizontally, so it needs more lateral space than depth in order to thrive. A container of at least 15 inches wide is sufficient to comfortably accommodate up to 10 shoots. If you wish you can plant one shoot per pot.
Use Rich Drainable Soil. Ginger requires soil that is rich in organic matter. A combination of 75% compost and 25% potting soil makes an ideal mix and provides good drainage. Additionally, you can apply all-purpose fertilizer during the growing season to make sure your plants get the nutrition they need. Avoid any type of soil that blocks the moisture.
Plant the Eye Buds Facing Up. Place the cuttings about 2 inches below the surface of the soil with the eye buds facing upwards. Give them a good watering and use a spray bottle or a drip irrigation system to keep the soil damp.
Keep Containers in Warm Shade. Even though this plant does best in direct sunlight, it also does very well in partly shaded areas. So if you don’t have a balcony or some place where there’s a lot of sunlight, as long as your container is in a location with a low amount of sunlight you can still get a decent harvest.
Sprouting Takes a Few Weeks. Ginger shoots can take a bit of time to show up. On average it takes about 2-3 weeks for the first sprouts to break through the soil. Depending on the temperature in your area it could take as many as 30 days.
Harvest in 3-4 Months. You can harvest your ginger root in approximately 3-4 months. By then the plants ought to have grown to around 3-4 feet in height. You can pull some of the soil aside from the edge of the container and feel for the rhizomes underneath.
As long as you continue to take care of the plant and nurture it, you can expect it to continue producing bountiful harvests for years to come.
Here’s a short video on planting store bought ginger in a small indoor container.