Ginger is a flowering plant native to Southeast Asia whose rhizome part is harvested for cuisines, medicines, and beverages. Its distribution has spread to the United States, especially in the US hardiness zone 9 to 11 with warm climates, including Florida (the Southern part). In addition to culinary ginger, there are several types of cultivars, like ornamental ginger grown for their beautiful flowers and foliage. But on this occasion, we would love to share the easiest step-by-step to growing ginger in Florida you can follow at home.
Furthermore, you must understand their growing conditions before growing ginger, such as temperatures, humidity, light intensity, soil preparation, and more. Additionally, properly caring for your ginger is necessary to ensure proper growth and healthy plants. As a result, you will have plentiful harvests to enjoy or trade in the market.
Well, if you don’t know where to start, just read this article to the end because we have covered them all for you! Let’s take a look!
Table of Contents
- How To Select Ginger Rhizomes?
- When To Plant Ginger In Florida?
- How To Grow Ginger In Florida? (step by step)
- Care For Ginger Plants
- How To Harvest Ginger?
How To Select Ginger Rhizomes?
For those interested in growing ginger at home, you must know how to choose a good quality ginger rhizome before planting. It is a crucial first step since this rhizome will determine whether you grow an excellent ginger plant or not.
Generally, high-quality ginger roots are characterized by a smooth surface with fewer or no blemishes. In addition, they are also firm and plump to touch. Gingers with wrinkled skin signify that they are dehydrated.
So, where can you find ginger rhizomes? You can buy the rhizome from the market or grocery store to start growing your ginger. They are commonly displayed in the vegetable section. Make sure you find one with such characteristics mentioned. Also, pick one with the buds, which is the vegetative propagation medium for the ginger. Usually, they look like eyes. Thus, some people call them “ginger eyes”.
When To Plant Ginger In Florida?
Based on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zone, Florida is designated the zone 8, 9, 10, and 11, meaning it has a relatively warm climate. The hottest summer temperature recorded was 88°F, while the winter coldest was 57°F. With such a climate, ginger can thrive well in the state.
People who live in North Florida can start growing ginger in March or early spring when the temperature gets higher and warmer while the soil is melting. Meanwhile, you can try planting earlier in February if you live in Central or South Florida.
As a tropical plant, ginger will live year-round in a warm climate. So, it is in your favor as you can have a harvest for an extended period.
Moreover, it cannot tolerate cold winters and frost. And for that reason, ensure the frost has passed before planting them in pots to avoid cold injury to the plant. It is also worth considering planting them in movable planters if you want to grow them in cold climates. Now, wait about 8-12 months after sprouting before the roots are ready to collect.
How To Grow Ginger In Florida? (step by step)
Growing ginger in Florida is relatively easy since the climate supports its growing conditions. Therefore, they won’t make your hands full of jobs to maintain them. If you are unsure what to do or are a beginner, we have created a step-by-step guide to help you easily grow ginger plants at home. Find them out below!
1. Choose Healthy Ginger Roots
As previously mentioned, ginger root or rhizome selection is essential to ensure a successful planting. You can find ginger roots at the grocery store, supermarket, or local market near your house. Or if you can find one from someone who has a ginger plant, it will be better.
Next, observe the appearance. Choose ones with a plump look and firm to touch. Also, there must be no severe blemishes that potentially make them prone to diseases. In addition, take a look at the skin. If it is wrinkled, leave it and find another one. Wrinkled skin is a sign of dehydration.
2. Prepare The Roots
Some people prefer to plant their ginger whole, while others like to cut them up first into multiple parts before planting. Either way is fine. Just make sure that each part has growth buds (or eyes) which are the center point of germination and eventually grow a new plant. If you are having trouble finding buds, look for the ginger parts whose shapes are like eyes or horns.
3. Adjust Your Soil Conditions
Like other tropical plants, ginger loves moist soil with a pH of around 6.0 to 6.5. Hence, you must prepare your ground first prior to planting. One of the best ways to retain soil moisture is mulching with compost and combining it with potting mix. Furthermore, this plant also prefers well-drained soil. In case you grow them in pots, make sure there are proper drainage holes to allow water to escape the planters.
4. Find A Growing Site
After knowing what they need, it’s time to find a perfect growing site. It requires full sun exposure for around 2-5 hours per day. So, an east-facing or south-facing location would be great. If you plan to grow them outdoors, it is best to grow them in pots 12-inches deep to make it easier for you to move them in winter. In case you live in a warmer climate, it is acceptable to plant them outdoors in your garden year-round.
5. Plant And Care For Your Ginger
Jumping to the most important step, planting your ginger. Dig your soil around 2-4 inches deep with eight inches apart to provide space for the roots to develop. Put the roots you have prepared and cover them with the soil. In case you decide to plant them in pots, plant only one root at a time.
Then, water them thoroughly but do not over-flood them to prevent rotting. You can also introduce compost once a year to offer more nutrients, just in case you grow them in a standard potting mix or under poor soil conditions.
Care For Ginger Plants
Caring for ginger is not challenging as long as you maintain its growing conditions. It loves moist soil. Thus, offering water after planting is necessary. But sometimes, people like to overflow the roots with water, which is not recommended as the roots can rot. Also, observe the drainage. Less watering is better to prevent water-logging if your soil has poor absorption.
For those who live in a cold climate, you must check out your plant often, especially in the cooler months. This tropical plant is intolerant to low temperatures and frost. Thus, you must provide shelter to ensure they thrive. For these reasons, we recommend you grow them in containers so it will be easier to move them inside when the cold comes.
In addition, add mulch when the temperature falls below 50°F (10°C) to keep the soil moist.
How To Harvest Ginger?
The best harvesting time for the ginger plant is in winter. Mature ginger is characterized by yellow leaves and stems before they start to die back. Usually, it takes 8-12 months (depending on the cultivars and climates) until they are ready to collect. Below, we provide a brief guide to harvesting your ginger properly:
1. Cut The Yellow Stem
Now that you have a mature plant, the leaves and stems will start to fall and die. Therefore, you must trim them before digging the soil to harvest your ginger. Additionally, make sure that the soil dries out prior to harvesting.
2. Remove Your Ginger From The Soil
You must take this step carefully to prevent accidentally tearing the roots apart from the stem. Gently dig in the soil and remove your ginger with your hands. Then, separate them from the trunk by clipping them.
3. Clean Them Up
Last but not least, wash away the soil and dirt from the roots under running tap water. Make sure you remove as much dirt as possible. And voila! Your ginger is ready to cook and pickled. Meanwhile, save those with good buds for the next planting season.
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How long does it take to grow ginger in Florida?
As a long-season crop, ginger takes some time to grow. In Florida, ginger plants need around 8-12 months from sprouting before they are ready to harvest. Generally, farmers will harvest their ginger rhizome in the fall. Mature ginger is characterized by yellow leaves and dry stems, making them fall on the ground.
Is ginger native to Florida?
Wild ginger is native to South Florida, but commercial ginger is native to Southeast Asia. Even though some argue about its origin, the records of their use were first found in Southeast Asia, China, and India 5000 years ago. People in those countries included ginger for spiritual uses and to formulate home remedies and traditional cuisines. To this day, ginger plants are popular to make ginger tea, add to various meals, and help treat stomach issues.
Does red ginger grow in Florida?
Red ginger can grow and thrive in South Florida because of the warm and humid climates. To plant red ginger, you will need a full sun or partial shade location with a warm temperature and humid conditions. In addition, this tropical plant prefers moist but well-drained soil with a pH of around 6.0. Amend the ground with compost to make it an ideal site for the ginger root.
Is ginger easy to grow?
Ginger is an easy plant to grow as long as you provide it’s preferable growing conditions, such as full sun or partial shade, moist and acidic soil but well-drained, and warm temperatures. This plant thrives best in tropical areas, so it does not tolerate cold weather. If you live in the US hardiness zone 9-11, you can plant them without worry about frost.
Does ginger need a lot of water?
Considering it favors moist soil, ginger root loves a lot of water to retain moisture. However, overflowing the plant with water can harm them because the soil nutrients will be flushed away with the water. In addition, too much water may cause waterlogging, leading to root rot. The ideal way to water ginger is deep watering, around an inch per week, especially during active growth.