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Growing ginger

Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:19 pm
by Runningtrails
I plan to plant some ginger this year (if I ever get the time). I am in zone 5 so I know it won't survive the winter. I have a cold cellar and thought I might plant some in a pot, let it go dormant in the fall and store the pot in the cellar until next spring.

Is there any reason this would not work? Do I need to grow it indoors as a houseplant instead? This can be done, I just don't have a lot of room in a sunny location for houseplants.

I want to grow some of the decorative flowering gingers so I thought it would need a long life span to reach that stage.

I also want to grow some for eating from roots at the grocery store. I am going to look for sprouting older roots at my next visit to the store.

Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:44 pm
by lorax
Keeping them as houseplants will speed up the process towards blooming, but you can absolutely allow them a dormant period in the basement.

Gingers of all types are remarkably resilient, and they're not normally full-sun lovers either - bright shade gets you nicer, larger flowers and leaves and encourages strong rhyzome development (which is the point of growing cooking gingers, for sure!) In the summertime, of course, they can go outdoors onto the balcony or deck or whatnot, and then come in for the winter.

I'd suggest looking for: Alpinia zerumbet 'variegata' (edible shoots and flowers, gorgeous leaves), Globbas, and Curcuma along with the grocery store gingers. Curcumas in particular have truly astounding flowers and are also food-useful; Globbas are hands down the most stunning members of the family. If you've got some extra space, also check out Hedychium coronarium (White Ladies), another ornamental edible, and also Costus spectabilis (Spiral Ginger), which is neat in foliage as well as in flower.