Medicine on Your Patio How to Grow Grocery Store Ginger

Big heap of ginger root

Beautiful, Edible, Medicinal Ginger

I’ve already shown you how to grow grocery store potatoes… today I’ll show you how to grow grocery store ginger!

A perfect example of how to grow grocery store gingerA perfect piece of ginger for planting.

When I was a kid, we were friends with a Chinese-Malaysian architect. He was the first person I’d ever seen growing ginger.

Before I saw him pulling roots from a large flowerpot, I had no idea that ginger even was a root. I only knew it as a the zippy part of ginger ale and gingerbread men.

Now that I’m older, I’ve really come to appreciate ginger both as an ornamental and a culinary plant. Over the years, I’ve planted ginger root from the store many times; however, good roots are getting harder to find. A lot of what I’ve seen lately is limp stuff from China without any good “eyes” on it. You have to look hard to get good pieces but good grocery store ginger pieces for planting can be found.

Grocery store sweet potatoes: How to Plant Sweet Potatoes

Be Choosy When You Grow Grocery Store Ginger

You want pieces that have eyes like this:

Nice grocery store ginger for planting

Nice, healthy yellow-green bumps. Those are where your new ginger plants will grow from. Watch out for pieces like this:

Bad ginger for planting That’s what a lot of the ginger in the store looks like these days. The growing eyes have been chopped or abraded off. Skip them and keep looking.

When you have your nice, healthy pieces of ginger, break them up into a few pieces if they’re huge chunks, and ensure each piece has at least one or two growing buds.

Grow Ginger as An Ornamental

I planted a long row in a planter bed as part of The Great South Florida Food Forest Project – check it out:

New ginger bed

After spacing the roots on the surface like that, I buried them all a few inches deep. In a few months, ginger plants will pop up in a lovely row and it’s off to the races.

Forget plugging in non-edible ornamental plants… why do that when you can grow something delicious and beautiful? Growing ginger is easy. They have few or no pests, grow in so-so soil, like the shade and they’re good for you.

We use it for seasoning (the leaves can be added to soups like bay leaves) and to treat upset stomachs (ginger is a champion at calming queasiness… I pop chunks of it into tea all through campaign season).

See my food forest: Convert Your Lawn into a High-Yield Food Forest

Don’t Plant Ginger Outdoors in Cold Climates

Now here’s the downside: if you live in a colder climate, you won’t be able to grow ginger in the ground. If the soil freezes, it will die. In that case, grow your ginger in pots and then keep the pots indoors or in a warm outbuilding during the winter. Ginger tend to go dormant in the winter anyhow, so the lack of sunshine won’t be a problem. Just don’t let them dry all the way out and definitely don’t let them stay wet. Waterlogged roots during dormancy will quickly lead to dead ginger. In the spring when the weather warms up and it’s time to plant corn and bush beans, put your ginger back outside.

I’ve been growing ginger for years and won’t be without it again, no matter what the climate.TGN Bi-Weekly Newsletter

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David The Good


David The Good is a Grow Network Change Maker, a gardening expert, and the author of four books you can find on Amazon: Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting, Grow or Die: The Good Guide to Survival Gardening, Totally Crazy Easy Florida Gardening, and Create Your Own Florida Food Forest. His upcoming book Push the Zone explores growing tropical edibles outside the tropics. Find fresh gardening inspiration at his website and be sure to follow his popular YouTube channel at

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  • Colleen Kelly

    Very very helpful. Thank you for writing . . . and talking just the way you do. So easy to absorb important stuff from you.

  • Gerrie Randall

    Thanks for the info. on growing Ginger, I will check out the Grocery Store and hopefully they will have some. Will plant it in a container then can bring it inside when we have our fall cold weather.

  • Colleen Kelly

    When you want to harvest (and eat) the root, how big should the plant be? How do we know the size of the root? Is it visible from above ground? How long does it take for the root to double in size? I live in Hawaii, so weather is wonderful for ginger.

    • Kathleen OMeal

      Colleen et al,
      This will answer your question. There are hundreds of you tube clips showing how to grow ginger at home.
      Freeze Drying Ginger preserves medicinal benefits. For inside your growing in your house there are some flowers which can be grow in the same pot as ginger and not bother he root, this way you can have a really nice quality house plant happening and grow ginger at the same time.

  • Melanie

    You don’t say anything about when and how to harvest it?

  • like keep info coming,good plants. Jeff

  • How do you tell orentimental from editable?

  • Gary

    Ditto… when/how to harvest, especially if potted and inside for winter…. Thanks DTG!

  • I have tried this before and I was fun growing it. A bonus is the beauty of the ginger plant. Loved your article!!

  • Nice! We grow ginger indoors up here in Idaho!! A simmilar technique works really well for growing turmeric as well. My wife wrote up a little article on how we did both ginger and turmeric last fall on our blog here:

  • Pam W

    Are all ginger bulbs edible? I have several ginger plants growing in the flower beds not knowing maybe they belong in the vegetable garden. How do I tell if they are edible?

  • Ger reddy

    great information. Thank you for your tips.

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