How to Grow Ginger Indoors
Whether it’s through ginger ale, ginger snaps, ginger chews or ginger beer, you’ve likely tasted the zing of ginger before. The root, native to China, is a super versatile edible plant that flavors everything from savory dinner dishes to sweet desserts.
The rhizome, or root of the plant, is you think of when you think of ginger; it’s closely related to turmeric. There are something like 1,300 types of ginger out there, grown in tropical regions all over the world. Ginger can be used fresh, dried, candied, powdered, or juiced. It has been widely utilized medicinally for all kinds of ailments—it’s a wonderful anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory agent.
On top of all that: Ginger is a remarkably easy plant to grow! Yes, it’s a breeze to grow outdoors, but it’s a fun and educational experience to also grow it indoors in a container, too. Even though ginger can be slow to sprout, follow these simple steps and you’ll be harvesting your own ginger from your kitchen garden before you know it.
How to choose ginger
Whether you snag a chunk from a friend or you buy it from the grocery store, you’ll need a smallish piece of ginger that’s at least the size of your thumb. Make sure it has nodes, or protrusions; this is where the root will sprout out of later on. Your ginger also needs to be nice and plump; shriveled or old pieces will not sprout.
Before you plant, scrub the piece of root with hot water and a mild soap. This is particularly important if you purchased the ginger from a grocery store and it is not organic. Like other root veggies, ginger pieces are sprayed with a substance that prevents them from rooting on the shelves of the store. If it is not scrubbed off, the rhizome will not root for you.
How to sprout ginger
For this step, you’re going to create a controlled growing space for your ginger. You will need a sealable container, such as a recycled takeout container.
Fill your container halfway with potting mix. Next, nestle the ginger down into the soil and then cover it with a thin layer of the mix. Water the soil so that it is damp all the way through, but not soggy. Ginger that sits in wet, soggy potting mix will rot, not sprout.
Put the lid on the container, but do not seal it. Place it somewhere warm and in indirect light. Check the soil every week or so, watering it when it looks dry.
You should see sprouts within six to eight weeks. It’s a bit of a wait, but the payoff is worth it!
How to plant ginger
Once your little nugget of ginger has sprouts of its own, it will be time to repot. Once sprouted, ginger grows rapidly and will need a larger sized container. Drainage is a must. If your ginger rhizomes sit in water, they will surely rot and you’ll be back to square one.
Fill your new, large pot with potting mix. Bury your sprouted ginger in the top four inches of the soil, with the sprouts exposed. Water thoroughly.
You’ll want to put the container in a sunny window and give it lots of water. Over time you will notice the rhizome, what looks like the root of the plant, will break the surface of the soil. Keep tabs and make sure to cover it up with new soil as you notice it! Rhizomes that remain exposed will turn green and tough.
How to harvest ginger
Even though ginger can grow at a rapid pace in the perfect conditions, it’s likely that your ginger won’t be ready for harvest until six to eight months after repotting. Just keep waiting, and use that time to attend to your other plants. Your ginger needs that time to populate its container.
If you want to harvest smaller pieces for everyday use, dig around gently with your fingers and uncover a rhizome. Use a sharp knife or pair of scissors to cut off what you need, and then cover the rhizome back up with dirt. If you need a lot of ginger, simply pull the root up by the stalk and cut it off.
The most important thing to remember is to not over-harvest. You will need to leave at least part of the ginger rhizome attached to the stalk in order for it to continue growing. If you treat your rhizomes correctly, you can grow ginger this way until the end of time.