What’s The Best Soil For Ginger?
We all know ginger to be that spicy and fragrant herb that’s used in a lot of dishes. Ginger grows underneath the soil, so it needs to have proper soil conditions that the ginger root can grow up healthy.
Ginger plants require fertile soil that’s rich in organic matter so it can get the most nutrients possible. The nutrients are responsible for creating a more flavorful and healthier rhizome without using any fertilizer.
If your soil lacks organic matter, or if you used store-bought mix, just stick to a regular fertilization schedule so your ginger root gets all the nutrients it needs.
If you’re living in areas with high rainfall, it’s important to remember that rainwater pulls and seeps out fertilizer applications from the soil. Try not to fertilize your plants if you know it’s going to rain and your container happens to be outside.
pH and Sanitation of the Soil
Ginger plants thrive in mildly acidic soils. For healthy rhizome production and growth, you need a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5. If it’s too high, it’s too alkaline, and too acidic if it’s too low.
Being too acidic or too alkaline can affect the ginger root’s growth. You can lower the soil’s pH by using composted manure or increase the levels with calcium carbonate or dolomite.
The Right Soil Conditions
A balance between being able to hold moisture and being able to drain water at the same time is necessary for healthy growth.
You can use a soil mixture composing of one-part sand and one-part compost for drainage and then combine it with proper fertilization.
Again, ginger grows underneath the soil so coverage should be adequate to protect the rhizome Properly.
How To Fertilize It?
Just as knowing what soil conditions are best, knowing how to fertilize your ginger the right way can affect its rhizomes and growth significantly. And like any other vegetable, gingers need specific fertilizer conditions for optimal growth.
Choose The Right Fertilizer
Just like any plant, gingers require large amounts of phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium, or what’s essentially called macronutrients.
But to guarantee a healthy growth, the mixture has to be proportional, otherwise, the fertilizer can end up damaging the plant.
Too much nitrogen can burn the roots and too little nitrogen can prevent growth.
You will need a ratio of 5-5-5 mixture for soil-mixed fertilizer. This means that the fertilizer is 5-parts phosphorous, 5-parts nitrogen, and 5-parts potassium.
On top of the macronutrients, ginger also requires micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, and copper to grow.
But unlike macronutrients, micronutrients are consumed in trace amounts. Their absence can lead to weak plant structures and may expose ginger to certain plant illness such as root rot.
Normally there are enough Micronutrients in the Soil, so you only need to artificially add them, when your plant shows signs of deficiency as mentioned above.
How to Fertilize Ginger?
When using a fertilized soil mixture, lay the fertilizer in an inch-thick layer over the topsoil.
If you’re using granulated fertilizer, mix it in with the first layer of top soil. But make sure that when pushing down the mixture, don’t pack it too tightly since it hinders water from getting into the root system.
Water the ginger once a day so the plant soaks up the nutrients from the fertilizer.
Create A Fertilizer Schedule
When your ginger starts to grow thanks to the fertilizer, you can keep it healthy by reapplying fertilizer at regular intervals.
Ginger roots require fertilizer at least once per month. If the species is ornamental rather than an edible species, fertilize once every three weeks during the time, when it blooms to extend the period in which it is blooming.
What Kind Of Container To Use for Ginger Plants?
So what kind of container to use for ginger plants? Here is the quick answer. You can use any container, that has drainage holes and is at least 6 inches deep and 7 to 8 inches wide.
If you plan to use flower pots or flowerbeds, the depth has to be more than 4 inches deep because you’re planting ginger root 4 inches below the soil.
And then you have to account for enough room to accommodate mulch space.
Here are some considerations to help you determine what kind of containers you want to use:
- If you’re living in apartments or anywhere with limited space, you might want to invest in flower pots and small containers as opposed to using a flat flower bed.
- When using flower pots, be sure to plant only one ginger root. That way, it gets all the nutrients it needs and more.
- Circular pots or containers are ideal if you have very limited space and for growing individual roots.
- Make sure that the pots or boxes have adequate drainage so it doesn’t keep the water in. remember, too much water can be detrimental to your ginger root’s growth.
What Are The Different Kinds of Ginger Plants?
There are different kinds of gingers, each with their own purpose and benefits. Some of them are used for cooking, some are used for their medicinal properties, and others are used for simple decoration.
The most common type of ginger root in the USA, and also known as turmeric. It’s good for healing wounds and pain relief. Its anti-inflammatory properties give it additional medicinal benefits.
Blue Hawaiian Ginger
Blue Hawaiian Ginger is low in fiber and blue in color. It’s one of the bigger gingers and turns into a purple shade when it matures. It’s also known for its strong smell.
Baby Ginger, also known as Green Ginger or Spring Ginger is commonly used in pastries and baking. It’s also used to make seasoned butter and mincemeat.
Also known as African Ginger, this large Indian is grown for its white and fragrant flowers. Its roots are dried and scraped before being used in various recipes.
Spiral Ginger is indigenous to Asia, specifically Southeast Asia and is known for its stalks, which resemble bamboo-stalks and form circular twisting patterns, hence the name. This ginger is great for treating fever, asthma, rash, and even serious illnesses such as bronchitis.
This one’s aptly called Hidden Ginger because the flowers are hidden within the leaves. Commonly known as Curcuma, they possess branched rhizomes with either variegated or green leaves.
Another herbaceous plant, the Zingiber is distinct due to its creamy yellow-colored flowers that form into a pine-cone shape. The bracts are colored green and possess translucent margins. The rhizomes are warty and branched too. Its cones are used to prepare shampoos.
This ginger also goes by Garland Lily or Ginger Lily, but it righteously got its name because its flowers look like butterfly wings. This type of ginger is mostly used for gardening due to its size. It can grow up to 6 meters and can come in different shades such as orange, white, and yellow (not to be confused with the Yellow Ginger mentioned above).
Just like the Butterfly Lily, the Globba can grow up to 2 feet and is characterized by flowers that hang from its stem. The leaves are longer and the stems shorter.
Another indigenous plant to Southeast Asia, Alpinia is known for reaching up to a height of 8 feet, with a stem almost looking like a banana tree’s stem. The leaves also closely resemble banana leaves as well.
How To Plant Ginger in a Pot?
If you’re growing ginger from a portion or a finger of the rhizome, start to prepare the plant surface first before planting it. Do this by soaking it in water overnight.
Dry the portioned plant thoroughly before planting it in unfertilized soil.
- Plant in the spring or during raining season. Ginger is a tropical plant that can’t survive cold temperatures. Plant after the last spring frost or at the start of the raining season if you live in tropical climates.
- Select your ginger plant. There are different species of gingers. If you want edible ginger, go for the Zinger officinale, which is a root you can find in any grocery store. Ornamental gingers can be found at any plant nursery.
- Cut the root or rhizome into pieces. If you like to grow more than one ginger plant, use a shear or sanitized knife. The ideal size should be at least an inch or 2.5 cm wide with one or more eyes to grow a separate plant.
- Prep the soil. As mentioned earlier, ginger thrives in well-draining soil with high moisture retention. Start by mixing garden soil with equal parts of compost. You can also just use regular potting soil.
- Place your ginger in partially shaded areas. Preferably those that only get some morning sun. Your plant must also be protected from wind and moisture, but shouldn’t be a swampy condition either. in tropical areas, ginger can grow in fully shaded areas or indoors, but there are places that may be too cool, depending on your climate you may not be able to grow ginger well.
- Plant the ginger. Using loose soil, place each cut ginger rhizome at least 2-4 inches below with buds pointing up. When planting in rows, keep each piece at least 8 inches apart. If you’re planting in pots, plant one large piece per pot.
How To Take Care Of Your Growing Ginger
Keep the Soil Damp
Water lightly once a day to keep the plant healthy. If you’ve already fertilized, watering once a day will also let nutrients seep through the soil and into the roots.
You also need to check the soil and water daily because you don’t want it too moist and too dry.
Keep an eye out for germination.
Ginger grows slowly, especially when you’re not in a tropical area. A sprout may appear in a few days if you’re lucky.
Continue to water the plant for at least a week. If no sprout is seen after a couple of weeks, you may have planted it the wrong way and you may have to try again.
Create a fertilizing schedule.
Gingers need to be fertilized once a month, but this may not be needed if you used a rich soil with a balanced mixture of compost.
Mulch your Ginger
Again this is optional once the ginger sprouts. Mulch keeps your sprouts warm and helps prevent weed growth, which can easily outgrow a slow-growing ginger sprout.
Stop watering when stems die
The stems start to turn yellow in the late summer or early fall, or when temperatures drop. Once this happens, reduce water consumption and stop watering once the stems start to die.
This is just to avoid overwatering the ginger root. As it starts hibernating it won´t consume much water anymore. So you have to adapt by stopping to water the plant for now.
Allow for full maturity before harvesting
Ginger takes about 8 months after planting to develop its uniquely strong flavor. You can harvest as early as 3 to 4 months, but younger gingers are used for pickling.
These need to be harvested carefully since the skin is thinner.
Prep for cold weather
Unless you live in tropical countries, you need to bring your ginger indoors when winter comes.
Store them in a dry, warm location. If you don’t have space indoors, be sure to cover ginger with a thick layer of mulch as soon as temperatures drop below 10 degrees C (50 degrees F).
What Pests To Look Out For And How To Get Rid Of Them
For this section, there are two kinds of pests that will be discussed. First, are those that are specific to ginger roots and how to get rid of them.
The second one is your common bugs that would cause problems for your ginger roots.
Pests That Are Immediate Threats To Your Ginger
White Grub or Khumlay
The White Grub, or Khumlay, is a sporadic pest that can cause serious damage to your ginger root. The grub feeds on the newly formed rhizomes and roots. The infestation usually takes place between August and September.
The adult beetles, after emerging from their pupae, go for the Ficus or other trees.
To control the grub infestation, you’ll need to mix the entomophagous fungus Metarrhiziumanisophilae with some cow dung and applied to the pot or field. Endemic areas can also go for neem cake application to control grub infestation.
This larvae feeds on internal tissues to reach the central portion of the pseudostem, resulting in the drying and yellowing of roots. Infestations occur from June to October. To manage the larvae infestation, you can spray Nimbicidine or Beauveiabassiaat 2-5ml/l for both.
Shoot Boring Weevil
This grub also bores into pseudostems to cause dead hearts. When a plant is hosting this grub, it needs to be removed from the others so it doesn’t damage the rest. Then proceed with treatment.
Go for Nimbicidine at 2-5ml/l or you can use Carbofuran 3G granules at 30kg/ha after rhizome extraction.
For severe infestation, spray with Endosolfan at 0.07%
Common Bugs That Eat Ginger
Some insects can be beneficial for the garden, but there are those that can severely damage plant life.
These bugs aren’t specific to any plant or vegetation, so they’ll go for whatever is accessible for them. Ginger happens to be one of their targets when available.
These pests include:
- Soft scales
- Chinese rose beetle
- Cardamom thrips
- Fijian ginger weevil
- Red spider mites
- Fungus gnats
- Yellow woolly bear caterpillar
While they’re not insects, slugs and snails are also notorious for eating ginger plants, so keep an eye out for them if your plant beds or pots are located on the ground.
How to Manage These Pests
Pest management for gingers and other plants may seem difficult, but it’s actually easy to manage infestations.
You can use insecticides as your main option for dealing with pests. You may want to talk with your local nursery to find out more about the types of insecticides to get rid of specific pests without harming your ginger plants. Some pests can be controlled without the use of harsh chemicals.
If you find yourself dealing with snails and slugs, use diatomaceous earth and spray it around the ginger plants. Doing so will cause these pests to dry out and die.
But note that not all pest control options will completely eliminate all pests.
The best way to do pest management is to do regular checks on your ginger plants. As soon as you detect any infestations, you need to deal with it immediately.
You also need to remove any dead pests and plants so it doesn’t attract other pests to your garden.
If you can stay on top of the infestation, pest management should easy.
So you’re probably covered now with all the information about how to grow ginger indoors. Like most plants, ginger is very low maintenance and just needs regular upkeep to make sure it’s growing healthy.
The most important part is having fun. If you don´t give up and make sure to care a little for you ginger plant it will grow successfully and give you a delicious harvest!