It’s easy to grow ginger for food, medicine, or aesthetics using ginger roots from the supermarket. Here’s how to grow grocery store ginger!
How to Grow Grocery Store Ginger
Whether you want to grow ginger as an ornamental or as a culinary plant—or both!—it’s easy to learn how. Even better, you can grow ginger from the ginger roots you can buy at the local supermarket. Today, I’ll show you how to grow grocery store ginger!
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When I was a kid, we were friends with a Chinese-Malaysian architect. He was the first person I’d ever seen growing ginger.
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.
Be Choosy When You Grow Grocery Store Ginger
You want pieces that have eyes like this:
Nice, healthy yellow-green bumps. Those are where your new ginger plants will grow from. Watch out for pieces like this:
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.
How to 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:
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.
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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).
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 tends to go dormant in the winter anyhow, so the lack of sunshine won’t be a problem.
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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.
What Do You Think?
What are your best tips for how to grow grocery store ginger? Let us know in the comments below!
This is an updated version of an article that was originally published on April 16, 2016. The author may not currently be available to respond to comments, however we encourage our Community members to chime in to share their experiences and answer questions!
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David The Good is a Grow Network Change Maker, a gardening expert, and the author of five 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, Create Your Own Florida Food Forest, and Push the Zone: The Good Guide to Growing Tropical Plants Beyond the Tropics. Find fresh gardening inspiration at his website TheSurvivalGardener.com and be sure to follow his popular YouTube channel.