Planting ginger yourself - how does it work?

Planting ginger yourself - how does it work?

the essentials in brief

  • Ginger can be preferred at home in late winter and planted outdoors from mid / late May
  • Ginger makes few demands on its location: it likes sunny to partially shaded and temperatures from 20 ° C
  • Before planting the tubers, the soil should be enriched with compost
  • Ginger can also be grown in a pot

Growing ginger in the garden - planting instructions

Even pre-grown or purchased young plants are ideal as seedlings for growing ginger in the garden, greenhouse or raised bed. Alternatively, use a fresh ginger root or pieces of root with at least one swelling eye. How to plant with expertise:

  1. Weed the earth and loosen it thoroughly with the rake
  2. Dig shallow pits at a distance of 20 to 30 cm
  3. Mix the excavated material with leaf compost and coconut or sand
  4. Place a rhizome or part horizontally in each hole with the buds facing up
  5. Cover the ginger with soil about 5 cm thick and press on

also read

  • Hibernate ginger easily in the house
  • Ginger as a natural remedy for dogs
  • Can ginger be poisonous?

In the last step, water the bed with a fine shower of soft rainwater or well-stale tap water. Are you struggling with voracious voles or tunnel-digging moles in the garden? Then we recommend planting each rhizome together with the vole basket.

ginger plants

How to care for ginger in the garden - instructions

If ginger thrives in the bed, the watering can is only used when the sky keeps its sluices closed. On warm summer days and when it is dry in autumn, please use a thumb test to check whether there is a need to water. Press a finger into the ground and do not feel any moisture, please pour water from the rain barrel. From June until harvest, fertilize with deciduous compost or bark humus, which you rake in lightly every four to six weeks and top up with soft water.

Ginger comes from tropical regions and is not frost-resistant. This does not detract from his esteem as a legendary medicinal and aromatic plant.

Which location is possible?

In the sunny to partially shaded location with temperatures from 20 degrees Celsius, the modest demands of a ginger plant are met. Many locations can come up with these light and temperature conditions inside or outside. The following table lists proven options for growing ginger:

gardenBalcony / terraceHouse flat
Raised bedSouth, west or east balconysunny windowsill
Glasshousesunny niche in the wallWinter garden
Vegetable patchon the floor in front of the railingglazed extension
Perennial bedin a flower box (€ 13.18 at Amazon *) as a privacy screen
Herb gardenRoof terrace

When is planting time?

Hobby gardeners with their own bed, raised bed or greenhouse complete the cultivation of ginger in two stages. Thanks to cultivation in late winter on the windowsill, young plants start the season with a vital growth advantage. The best season for planting in the bed is in spring, when severe frost is no longer to be feared from mid / end of May.

Which soil favors growth and yield?

Ginger thrives in a sunny, warm location in any good garden soil that has proven itself as a potting soil for vegetables, herbs or bulb flowers. A mix of ripe, sifted compost and topsoil, characterized by a vital soil life, is desirable. The soil should be fresh to moderately moist, without the risk of waterlogging. The addition of additives such as sand or coconut oil is advantageous for reliable permeability.

Ginger plants grow in pots - how does it work?

ginger plants

Balcony gardeners and carpenters plant and harvest ginger in buckets. This has the advantage that the start of the cultivation takes place in February. Thanks to this cultivation method, the tropical plant has a longer vegetation period in the Central European climate than outdoors. In view of a period of 250 days between planting and harvesting, this is a sensible approach. The following guide explains step by step how to plant ginger at home. This is how it works indoors and on the balcony:

Material requirements

  • 1 organic ginger (whole, fresh tuber with many, fat eyes)
  • Compost-based organic vegetable soil without peat
  • Pot or bucket with a bottom opening as a water drain
  • Pottery shards or expanded clay (€ 17.50 at Amazon *) for drainage
  • sharp, disinfected knife
  • Watering can with shower attachment or spray bottle
  • Soft, lime-free water

The substrate quality plays a key role in high-yield ginger cultivation. The soil should be permeable and yet with good water storage so that the fleshy rhizomes do not rot. Conventional, mineral pre-fertilized potting soil with a high proportion of peat does not meet the requirements. We recommend organically fertilized vegetable substrate, which you can give the perfect consistency for ginger bulbs by adding coconut powder.

Planting in pots - step-by-step instructions

  1. Cut the root into 3-5 cm long pieces with one eye each
  2. Let the cut surfaces dry for a while
  3. Fill the pot with 3-4 cm high drainage
  4. Fill in organic substrate up to 4 cm below the rim of the vessel
  5. Place the root pieces on the earth at a distance of 5-6 cm with the eyes facing upwards and press them lightly
  6. Sieve a thin layer of substrate until the eyes can no longer be seen
  7. pour on with fine effervescence

In a light to partially shaded location without direct sunlight, the pieces of roots sprout cheerfully at temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius. As the figure below illustrates, upright green shoots and vertical root strands sprout out of the eyes. For this purpose, horizontal planting is of particular relevance. A transparent hood made of glass or cling film is beneficial for budding and root growth. A warm, humid microclimate is created that simulates the natural conditions of tropical growing areas. As soon as the growing leaves hit the cover, the hood has done its job and can be removed.

A ginger root growing

Caring for ginger in the pot properly - instructions

After planting in the pot, care is limited to a regular water supply. The need for nutrients is covered well into summer thanks to sufficient supplies in the substrate. How to properly care for ginger as a container plant:

  • Keep the substrate slightly moist
  • Spray once or twice a week with lime-free water
  • after 6 to 8 weeks spend in a sunny location (south window, balcony or terrace)
  • From June onwards, add liquid organic fertilizer to the irrigation water every 4 weeks according to the manufacturer's instructions
  • Prune retracted leaves to the ground in autumn

Ginger can cope with short-term drought better than waterlogged substrate. The current watering requirement can be recognized by the noticeably dried-on earth. If there is a pot or bucket in a coaster, pour out excess water after 10 minutes at the latest. Alternatively, fill the coaster with expanded clay balls on which you place the vessel. Water that has accumulated cannot rise again into the root ball. Furthermore, the local humidity increases, according to the taste of your tropical ginger plant.


Cultivation in the cold frame thanks to natural heating

Window sills are crowded in spring because numerous flowers, shrubs and vegetables are preferred. A cold frame provides a remedy for a lack of space in the house and apartment, in order to grow ginger for planting outdoors and in pots. Natural heating creates the temperature required for budding and growth in the cold frame. To do this, dig a 50 cm deep pit and mix a third of the excavated material with compost. Cover the bottom of the pit with vole wire, covered with a 5-10 cm thick layer of straw. This is followed by a 20 cm high layer of fresh manure and the compost-soil mixture. The well-sealed cold frame will warm up within 8 to 10 days so that you can plant ginger.

Harvesting ginger roots - how & when is it right?

ginger plants

A ginger bulb is ready for harvest after an average of 250 days. The beginning of the harvest season can be recognized by the drawn in, yellow or dried up leaves. The optimal procedure is copied from the professional growing areas in India and Africa. Ginger farmers only ever harvest part of the rhizome. A piece of the tuber is overwintered and takes over the function of the planting material for the new season after a period of rest. How to harvest ginger correctly in beds and pots:

  • In the bed, lift the tubers out of the ground with the digging fork
  • Tip over the pot, bucket or balcony box and let the rhizomes roll over the lawn or soil
  • Grasp the tubers on the leaves in order to shake off soil or potting soil
  • Use sharp secateurs to cut the leaves 3 to 4 cm above the rhizome skin
  • Cut off juicy, promising pieces of rhizome with a sharp knife

Remaining tuber segments that are not intended for consumption, overwinter dry, frost-free and airy in coconut fibers, sand or sawdust, similar to dahlias or flower bulbs.

Hibernate ginger roots - this is how it works

Ginger is not hardy in Germany. If the temperatures fall below 10 degrees Celsius in autumn, the tropical plant stops growing. The process can be recognized by yellowing leaves and dried-up leaf tips, because the plant moves remaining nutrients into its underground rhizome as an energy reserve for the next season. Pulled-in leaves are not only the signal for the beginning of the harvest season. If you are considering a perennial cultivation, you should give the exotic perennial now. How to properly overwinter ginger:

  • Allow in good time before the first frost
  • Cut off the drawn-in leaves
  • Store in a cool place at 10 to 12 degrees Celsius
  • Water in sips or not at all
  • do not fertilize

Do not cut the leaves off until they are completely dead. Until then, the remaining nutrients will move from the foliage to the rhizome. The fresh budding next spring benefits from this energy store. As long as the ginger plant still boasts of its deep green reed leaves, we recommend winter quarters that are as bright as possible and occasional watering or spraying. Without the foliage, the light conditions do not matter to a ginger root, so that a dark basement room is also an option for wintering, as long as it does not get warmer than 10 to 12 degrees Celsius.

How does the reproduction succeed?

Selective harvesting and wintering behind glass are equivalent to the propagation of ginger. By leaving a segment of the rhizome over in the fall and storing it frost-free, you set the course for another harvest in the next year. Alternatively, overwinter a complete, intact ginger tuber as a mother plant in a cool, dark cellar in a pot with coconut oil. In February, cut or break off pieces that have at least one bud. Plant the rhizome parts as you can read in these instructions.

ginger plants

What are the characteristics of ginger?

Real ginger (Zingiber officinale) belongs to the ginger family. The plant thrives as a perennial with reed-like, deep green leaves that reach an average height of 100 cm. In the sunny, warm location, a decorative, candle-shaped flower with a pleasant scent rises in late summer.

The aboveground parts of the plant play a secondary role for the worldwide importance as medicinal and aromatic plants. The main shoot in the form of a subterranean, fleshy and richly branched rhizome is the floral performer. The juicy, yellowish tuber meat tastes fiery hot to spicy and is rich in valuable ingredients with health-promoting properties. As far back as 2,800 years ago, the Chinese sang the praises of the healing properties and unique aroma.

The ginger plant is native to tropical and subtropical regions. The main growing areas are in India, China, Nigeria and Thailand. Even under the ideal conditions there, it takes eight months after planting for the rich roots to be ready for harvest. Only after a trip around half the globe are ginger bulbs on the store shelf and have lost most of their positive properties. One more reason for hobby gardeners to take a closer look at home growing.

Plant delicious ginger varieties yourself

Before you devote yourself to growing ginger, please choose the planting material carefully. Real ginger (Zingiber officinale) is the progenitor of an amazing variety of varieties. Depending on the growing region, the tubers give you a surprisingly mild palate tickle, whereas other varieties are spicy. The following table gives an insight into the wide range of choices:

Surnamebotanical nameSize / space requirementheightspecial propertiespriority use
Ginger, real gingerZingiber officinale20 to 40 cm50 to 150 cmburning hot,Medicines and spices
Jamaica gingerZingiber officinale25 to 40 cm100 to 150 cmaromatic-lemony, mild-hot, less healing powerKitchen spice, food
Japanese gingerZingiber Mioga20 to 25 cm80 to 100 cmspicy-hot, orange peel aroma, edible flower budsKitchen spice, food
Nigerian gingerZingiber officinale20 to 40 cm80 to 120 cmhottest gingerMedicinal herbs for humans and animals (horses, dogs)
Thai gingerAlpinia galanga30 to 40 cm180 to 200 cmsweetish-spicy, no typical ginger aromaSpice paste, healing tea, herbal medicine
Australian gingerAlpinia caerulea40 to 50 cm150 to 200 cmmildest gingerHerbal, aromatic and medicinal plant

Healing and seasoning powers are not the only arguments for planting ginger yourself. The multi-faceted family of ginger plants also includes magnificent species and varieties that are primarily used as ornamental and scented plants. A prime example is red ginger (Alpinia purpurata) with spectacular red inflorescences and a height of 1 meter. Tibetan ginger (Hedychium densiflorum) does not have any aromatic or medicinal properties in its luggage, but in return it inspires with furious, 20 cm long orange-red flowers in late summer.


Jamaica ginger is the flagship of the best ginger varieties for home-growing. When buying for cultivation and planting, please pay attention to the freshest possible tubers with smooth, silvery shimmering skin. The pivotal point for budding and rooting are thick, clearly visible, green eyes that signal a ginger tuber's will to live.

frequently asked Questions

What healing effects can I expect from ginger?

Each ginger bulb is filled with valuable, bioactive substances. Primarily against nausea, stomach and intestinal problems, ginger is attested by doctors to have excellent healing properties. The plant also relieves cold symptoms of all kinds as well as osteoarthritis, muscle and rheumatic pain. The great tuber is also said to boost the production of serotonin, which puts you in a good mood and is even supposed to drive away depression. Last but not least, ginger boosts blood circulation and metabolism, which reduces the risk of heart attacks, strokes and thrombosis.

Do the flowers of ginger smell?

Immediately from the rhizome, a ginger plant sprouts upright stems with candle-like inflorescences. The pure species shines with numerous reddish-purple-yellow flowers, the stamens of which give off a pleasant, sweet fragrance.

Can ginger overwinter outside?

The distribution areas of ginger extend over tropical and subtropical regions. The miraculous tuber is therefore not prepared for frost. On the contrary, the above-ground parts of the plant shiver at temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius. Ginger is not equipped for wintering outdoors.

Are blue ginger tubers edible?

At first glance, blue ginger (Dichorisandra thyrsiflora) looks very similar to real ginger. The magnificent, cylindrical inflorescences open in late summer with numerous blue to purple single flowers. The starting point for the strong stems are thickened, tuber-like roots that are neither real rhizomes nor edible. In fact, blue ginger belongs to the day flower family and is not related to real ginger.

At the end of September I was given a large Japanese ginger in a pot. Unfortunately the plant is munching with yellow, dry leaves. Can the ginger still be saved?

All ginger plants move in in late autumn. Specifically, this means that the above-ground parts of the plant die off. Only the thick rhizome in the earth winters. Cut off dead leaves and put the Japanese ginger in a cool place at around 10 degrees Celsius until February / March. Water sparingly and do not apply fertilizer. From April you will move to a sunny window seat and resume the normal maintenance program.


Exotic properties and highly effective ingredients make ginger a loner in the bed. Due to the extensive growth of the rhizomes and runners, the exotic super plant is not suitable for mixed cultivation. Similar to lovage, wormwood, turmeric or hyssop, ginger is unpopular as a plant neighbor in the garden and greenhouse.