Want a healthy ginger plant but only find yellow leaves? There are many reasons why your ginger may be turning yellow.
Reasons for ginger leaves turning yellow include Underwatering/Overwatering, Bacterial/Green Wilt, Fusarium Yellow, Dry Rot, Rhizome Rot, White Grubs, and Shoot Borer.
Reasons for ginger leaves turning yellow
Let us look into the details of each reason why your ginger leaves may turn yellow.
Most often we forget to check on the most basic thing when growing ginger plants. People forget to ask themselves if they are giving their plants too much or too little water.
But, overwatering or underwatering happens to be the leading cause of ill effects and death in plants.
Ginger is a rhizome, meaning the most important and beneficial part of the plant is below ground. So, the presence or absence of water will affect the ginger rhizomes and this influences the likelihood of yellow ginger leaves
- Visibly wet soil
- Unexpected yellowing of foliage
- No signs of lesions of pests on the foliage
- Poor plant health and growth
Check the soil by inserting your forefinger into the plant’s pot. If it’s dry, water it, and give it time to recover. If it is very wet, put it out in the sun, to evaporate the excess water. In both cases, a little extra attention regarding watering habits will pay off.
Also, find out what are the other causes of excess water. It could be the soil that is holding water and preventing the plant from drying and breathing. Maybe it is the weather, location, or the spacing between plants.
Based on your findings, you may have to amend the soil of your ginger plant, adjust watering, or change its location and spacing.
How Can You Save Your Ginger Plant? Read here
2. Bacterial Or Green Wilt
Yellowing leaves could be a symptom of bacterial or green wilt. It will start with a bit of curling or wilting of the bottom leaves. Slowly this will progress upwards until the entire shoot is yellowed. This can occur rapidly within the short time frame of 3 to 5 days.
- Curling of green foliage that appears healthy
- Rapid yellowing of ginger leaves occurs days after curling
- Making an incision on the lower stem will show rotting
- Stems will lose their stability and start to soften
There is no cure for this disease and so preventing it is the only way to safe keep your ginger against bacterial wilt.
Bacterial wilt travels through water and soil. Therefore it is good agriculture practice to rotate the crops grown on that particular piece of land. Make sure you do not have stagnant water in your garden and ensure good drainage.
You can even plant your ginger in an elevated bed. A 30 cm mound should be high enough to avoid ginger plants becoming waterlogged and making the plant rot.
3. Fusarium Wilt Or Fusarium Yellow
Your ginger plant leaves could be turning yellow due to Fusarium wilt or fusarium yellow, which is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum. The leaves of the diseased plant turn yellow and fall off, the plant then wilts and dies.
- Infected plants readily turn yellow and leave dry up
- Xylem tissue is affected and will turn brown and possibly die
- Young plants affected show stunted growth
As there is no completely effective fungicide, it’s a case of prevention, and not cure.
Remove and dispose of all affected plants immediately. Do not compost the plants, and dispose of them in a manner that they will not spread to other gardeners. Remove infected soil too, as it is a risk to other plants too. Rotate plants with ones that are not likely to be affected.
Clean and disinfect garden equipment that may have been in contact with infected material. Dipping ginger rhizomes in an insecticide or boiling water or maybe even both to effectively lower the Fusarium spore population
4. Dry Rot
Ginger plants with slight yellowing of leaves, which progress to the upper leaves, might have dry rot. The whole plant becomes stunted and the rhizomes develop a brownish ring. Dry rot is caused by a fungus when the ginger plant is exposed to too much water.
- Wilting and distorted growth of foliage
- Yellowing of leaves from lower to higher extremities
- Loss of stem stability due to rotting
Again, managing this disease relies upon prevention, so you have to be vigilant and prevent the disease before it happens. Ensure well-draining land as ginger does not like waterlogged fields. It is an open invitation for disease and pests.
Till the land. By doing so it opens up the earth to the sunlight and it is good for aeration. It also kills whatever bacteria that may be awaiting ginger plants underground.
To reduce the chance of disease, use treated ginger rhizomes only!
Practice crop rotation. After your crop of ginger is harvested, follow it with one or two years of alternate crops. Then ginger again, and so on. This helps to reduce the chance of ginger diseases getting a strong foothold in the garden or field.
5. Rhizome Rot
Rhizome Rot, also known as Soft Rot, or Pythium Rot is a soil-borne fungal disease caused by Phytophthora sojae. This usually happens in conditions where the soil is warm and wet.
This disease lives in the soil, near to or on the roots of the ginger. It also can be found on dead plants or seed rhizomes and weeds.
- Dead roots as they are affected first
- Discoloration of ginger leaves
- Stunted ginger plant growth
- Mushy roots/rhizomes
- Smelly rhizomes
- Yellow stems
Use treated rhizomes and fungicides, plant the ginger on hills to avoid excessive water. Rotate crops and keep the land clear of weeds. Dispose of diseased plants immediately, remove infected soil too, and do not reuse it.
6. White Grubs
White grubs could be turning your ginger plants yellow, these pests eat the rhizome leaving behind big holes. The leaves of the plant turn yellow and can die. The larvae of the grub are white and live in the soil, while the adults are dark brown.
- Yellowing and drying of leaves
- Sign of holes where the grubs have eaten into the stems
- A withered and yellowed central stem is a classic symptom of white grubs
To get rid of the grubs use Neem oil or a vegetable fungicide. You can also grow other vegetables like onion, sunflower, or maize to discourage the grubs (crop rotation).
7. Shoot Borer
Shoot borer is the main enemy pest infecting ginger plants. The larvae bore into the pseudo stems of the ginger and feed on the juices there.
Identify where the borer has infected the stem, cut it open, pull out the caterpillar and destroy it. Infestations usually begin in June and continue till October so be alert during these particular times.
- Yellowing of leaves
- Withered and yellowed of the central shoot
- Causes holes in the stems where it feeds
Try to collect all emerging adults and destroy them. You should install light traps just before they are due to arrive to improve your visibility and catch them while feeding.
In the infected field collect all infected plants and destroy them to avoid severe spreading to healthy plants. Spray with neem oil fortnightly if needed to dissuade these pests.
Overall Solutions And Good Management Practices for Ginger Diseases
Want to avoid all pests from your garden or farmland? Here are a few practices that will be sure to create a healthier garden space.
- Sanitise all agricultural vehicles and tools and storage areas
- Try to keep all warehouse temperatures low
- Warehouse humidity should be low
- Keep all the fields clean after harvest
- Use pest control to ensure that pests do not become carriers of the disease
- Rotate crops to keep the disease under control
- Make sure the soil Is well draining
- Plough the land so It can dry
- Infected plant stalks or leaves should be collected and burned
- Use disease-free ginger seeds for farming
What to do when Ginger leaves are turning yellow?
When you first start to notice your ginger leaves turning yellow, try to find the source. In most cases, less watering, more sunlight, fertilizer, different location, protection from wind, and better soil, can make all the difference.
Also, check your ginger plants for pests that may have infected the plant’s lower stems or rhizomes.
Having ginger plants in the garden is a valuable kitchen and natural remedy to have. But, to harvest healthy ginger rhizomes, you need to take care of the plant. Yellowing of leaves is never a good omen.
Several causes can be to blame for your ginger leaves turning yellow, some are:
- Bacterial/Green Rot
- Fusarium Wilt
- Dry Rot
- Rhizome Rot
- White Grubs
- Shoot Borer
Solving the problem begins with first identifying the problem and finding the best solutions to return your ginger plants to health.