You can grow ginger indoors in pots for both fun and convenience.
But if you live in colder regions of the USA (USDA Zone 6 and below), you cannot grow ginger outdoors. The ground would just freeze in winter and kill the ginger plants.
So growing ginger in pots is your best and really only option to get fresh home-grown ginger.
Also, even if you live in warmer areas but experience cold weather (less than 50℉) at night, growing ginger in pots allows you to bring them indoors at night. So growing ginger indoors in pots is quite popular.
Steps to grow ginger in pots
Let us look at the details steps below.
Step 1: Choose the Right Size of Container
Ginger plants or rather their rhizomes tend to spread horizontally when grown. This means in order to grow ginger indoors in pots, you will need a wide container that is fairly shallow.
There is a greater need for width rather than depth.
So your container should be wide, shallow, and should feature an ergonomic shape that will allow maximum growth. Container size should be enough to support the extent of bulb growth you desire.
Though if you would like to decorate your container with stones for better drainage, you will require a deeper container.
Generally, a circular 12-inch by 12-inch container is adequate to make sure there is ample width and depth. Ensure the container has drainage holes at the base (if not, you can create your own).
Here are the Best Containers For Growing Ginger
Step 2: Choosing the Right Soil
Like most edible root plants, Soil is one of the important factors for growing ginger.
Choosing the right soil could be the divider between success and failure! In case your garden soil is not up to the mark, adding fertilizer can be a solution.
Ginger likes slightly acidic and moist soil that drains well. Its inability to handle excessive moisture makes the soil a vital element in growing ginger indoors or outdoors!
We would recommend choosing the soil that has either sand, vermiculite, or perlite. These substances aid in allowing free passage of water and even help to aerate the soil and induce bulb development and maturation.
Potting mixes with peat, compost, and sand are good enough as they drain well and offer nutrients from their organic components.
Step 3: Only the Best Ginger Root Will Do!
Now that the right selection of pots/containers and soil is done, it is time to turn your attention to the ginger root that you will plant.
When it comes to getting ginger for growing indoors in pots, grocery store ginger is perfect. Though you can get ginger from a nursery, make sure it is not ornamental ginger.
Choose the one that is large and healthy with few wrinkles. An ideal ginger rhizome should have several “eyes” as these eyes are the protruding portions that will eventually show growth when you plant. The more the eyes, the better the opportunity for growth.
If you are able to get your hands on ginger that has already sprouted, it is even better. This will help you to eliminate one step from the preparation process helping in faster growth!
Quite often, people prefer to cut the ginger rhizomes into smaller chunks. This makes planting easier, increases the number of plants (and rhizomes), and saves space or rather, reduces the need for more space.
Step 4: Soak Your Ginger
In most cases, grocery stores treat their ginger rhizomes with a growth retardant. This growth retardant increases shelf life by stopping or reducing any chances of sprouting. Before you plant your store-bought ginger, you must remove this chemical.
Soaking your ginger in water overnight is usually enough to remove the inhibiting effects of any growth retardant chemical. This process of soaking also softens the tissues and stimulates the ginger to start germinating.
Your ginger is more likely to germinate and grow when you have done the soaking. Unsoaked ginger may take more time to germinate.
Step 5: Plant the Ginger Rhizomes
After an overnight soaking, you should notice slightly green ends (eyes). Or, if you use already sprouted ginger rhizomes they would feature stem shoots.
Place the ginger rhizomes in the pot and make sure that the eyes or sprouted areas are facing upwards. These shoots will form the aerial foliage of the plant-like stems, leaves, and flower buds. From the rhizomes, roots and more rhizomes will arise with time.
If you are planting more than one ginger rhizome in your container, provide a spacing of 6 to 8 inches between each piece. This is to make sure two ginger plants do not interfere with each other’s growth.
Step 6: Add a Layer of Soil
After placing rhizomes in the pot in the correct position, put your chosen soil/potting mix from Step 2 and cover the ginger with a layer that is 1 to 2 inches thick.
At this point, the ginger rhizome should be completely under the soil. If the ginger is still visible it might be left bare after continuous watering which is not good for you.
Step 7: Water the Ginger Rhizomes
After you have finished planting your ginger rhizomes, you should water your pot to make sure the soil is moist enough for the shoots to grow well. At this time, you should also check if your soil is allowing water to drain well.
Accumulation of water on the surface or prolonged “wet” soil means that your soil is not ideal and should be amended! Adding compost to your soil or a lightweight material can help water pass out of the soil.
Congratulations for following the steps till now, you have successfully planted your ginger rhizomes!
But, what comes next? Well, you have growing ginger plants that require your care and attention. Caring for and positioning your ginger pot is crucial if you want to harvest any ginger at all!
Step 8 – Where Should I Put my Ginger Pot?
Placing your ginger pot in the right area and position is critical for them to grow well. Put them in a spot that sees considerable amounts of morning sunlight (approximately 3 – 5 hours of sunlight) but also shade later on in the day.
Ginger originates from the tropics and prefers shade with decent amounts of sunlight, warm soil, and humid air conditions for it to thrive and produce to its full capability.
Afternoon sunlight might prove to be too intense and can damage the ginger plants by scorching and browning the foliage. Putting them in complete shade will also have adverse effects and your ginger plants could become stunted and show no sign of growth.
You can place your pot near a window that faces the direction of sunrise assuming there is enough shade and sunlight hours are limited.
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After Planting: Caring for Ginger Plants
Planting your ginger does not mean the job is done and a bountiful harvest of ginger is guaranteed! Though ginger doesn’t require much maintenance, you would need to take care of the plant.
There are a few chores below that you would be required to take care of.
This includes making sure the soil is always moist and able to satisfy the water requirements for the plants during growth. Dry soil will almost surely lead to a reduction in plant growth and the possibility of your ginger rhizomes dehydrating and shriveling up.
So, keep remembering to water the plants keeping the soil moist and not wet. Ensure the soil in the pot is draining well and is not getting water-logged. Excessive water in the soil is what causes the rhizomes to rot.
Sunlight in a way is the energy source that drives growth in ginger plants. The leaves and stems utilize the sun’s light to produce food that is circulated throughout the plant. Removing sunlight from the equation would lead to food shortages within the plant.
This is especially true during the early growth of ginger and all other green plants. The ginger plant requires 3 – 5 hours of sunlight.
Sometimes no matter how hard you try to correct your soil, you still find it lacking in minerals. This is where fertilizer comes to the rescue. Adding a fertilizer as required can do wonders!
Sometimes an organic fertilizer will do the job and can be better than artificial chemical fertilizers. A layer of decomposing vegetable waste can be the best source of nutrients for root crops.
How long does ginger take to grow?
Ginger is a slow-growing root spice that takes around 8 to 10 months to grow. A majority of this time goes into maturation, a process that directs the energy and nutrients to the ginger rhizome.
Luckily, after about four months, you can harvest some ‘young ginger’. These immature ginger rhizomes can add an impressive taste to your food even though they are not the real deal! These young ginger rhizomes have soft skin that can be taken off easily without applying excessive effort.