How To Grow, Harvest, And Preserve Ginger Indoors In 4 Easy Steps

Fresh ginger might be expensive to buy, but it is very easy to grow your own as a houseplant. It not only smells amazing, and the foliage is similar to a palm, but you can also harvest it to enjoy, too!

It is crazy how much one root or two of ginger can grow in soil. You can expect to be harvesting your home-grown ginger in less than a year once you plant it.

I’ve also included some tricks to preserve it so that your effort doesn’t go to waste when you have more ginger than you know what to do with!

It’ll also save you money in the long run, especially if you already have some houseplant compost and growing materials on hand.

Interested in learning how to grow ginger as a houseplant? Here’s everything you need to know.

Buy Some Ginger!

First off, you’ll need some fresh ginger. Grocery store ginger works just fine for this, but you’ll have to decide whether to opt for organic ginger or regular ginger.

Organic VS Regular

Conventional ginger tends to be much cheaper than organic ginger, but it’s worth knowing that it is treated with chemicals and even growth inhibitors to extend its shelf life, as well as stop it from sprouting.

Organic ginger has been through fewer processes, and while it is more expensive, it is easier to sprout it, as it doesn’t have the same inhibitor treatment.

If you’re looking for a cheap ornamental houseplant that you’re not planning on harvesting to eat, go for conventional ginger.

Otherwise, go for organic ginger.

Whichever you decide, soak it in some water, and set it aside for a day. This will help get rid of anything that the ginger has been treated with, and it will also hydrate it.

Don’t leave it in water for longer than a day. While it is possible to propagate ginger just using water, there is a high likelihood that it will rot, so it’s best to dump out the water after a day or so.

Sprouting And Planting Your Ginger

The best time to plant ginger is at the beginning of the year. It gives the rhizomes plenty of time to mature, as these plants need about 10 months of growth to become as mature as they possibly can.

You can leave it for less time than this, as it will still be useful, but if you want the ginger to have the dark skin you’re used to seeing in grocery stores, this is how long you need to grow it.

Invest In A Heat Mat

One of the best things you can do for plant propagation – any plant propagation – whether that’s by seed, leaf, or root, is to get a heat mat.

They don’t cost a huge amount, and what you get back in terms of the propagation time (cutting down months to weeks or even just over one week), is insanely worth it.

This is the best way to get any plant to propagate much quicker, even in a cold room. You don’t have to use a heat mat if you don’t want to, but be prepared for a long wait!

Place a tray with a clear lid on the mat, and add some damp compost mixed with some perlite.

Put the ginger on top, pressing down slightly, so it has good contact with the soil, and then close the lid.

Remember to open up the box every couple of days to air everything out, for an hour or two. This will help stop disease by increasing the airflow. 

You may see buds form in a couple of days, or within a week or two. When the sprouts are about 1cm long, it’s time for the next step: potting up your ginger.

Pot Up The Sprouted Ginger

It’s worth thinking about pot shape and size when growing ginger, as the rhizomes need plenty of horizontal space to spread.

Choose a wide pot that isn’t very deep, something like an 8in pot. Choosing a shallower pot will help improve the drainage when it is quite wide, and it will also give the rhizomes the space they need.

Grab your pot and fill it halfway with an all-purpose or houseplant compost mix. Put the ginger into the soil, making sure that the buds face towards the sky.

Do not plant ginger upside down! While it will probably still grow, it will take ages to do so.

Cover the ginger lightly with compost, making sure that the buds are no more than an inch under the soil’s surface.

Give the plant water, and pop the whole thing somewhere warm and bright.

If you can, give the plant the brightest position possible, preferably with some direct sunlight to help give the plant a boost.

Do not allow the soil to dry out completely. Keep it damp, but not soaking, and you’ll soon see new growth poking through the soil.

The foliage is incredibly aromatic, so you may want to place the plant where you can enjoy it. 

You may see only one stalk to start with, but as the plant matures, you will see many points of growth emerging from the soil. 

Give the plant consistent care, and let it stay in the current pot for about two months or so. After that, it will be ready for a bigger pot.

Do not skip repotting. Giving the plant more room at this point will help the rhizomes get much bigger, and the extra nutrients will make a difference in terms of growth, too.

Keep in mind that the container should be wider than it is tall, as ginger has a clump-growth habit, meaning it spreads outward.

Aim for about a 12in pot, or bigger if the plant’s growth has taken off. Don’t worry if you’re not seeing a lot of growth and you’re concerned that repotting will lead to moisture problems.

You may be surprised at just how much growth is underneath the soil.

Use an organic fertilizer (preferably one used for edible plants, such as a seaweed fertilizer, or fish emulsion) to keep the plant as fed as possible.

Fertilize every few waterings during the growing season. 

If you have some outdoor space, gradually introduce the plant to the great outdoors during the summer. This will result in the best growth possible.

The plant will receive much better airflow, and stronger light levels and the rainwater is very beneficial, resulting in stronger and better growth. 

You will have to do this slowly over a couple of weeks, but the effort is worth it. Start by placing your plant in a shady location in your garden, and leave it there for a week or two.

Then move it into the sun for an hour or two, returning it to its shady spot. Gradually increase the time the plant gets full sunlight until it’s soaking up all the rays.

If you prefer, you can keep your ginger plant inside with no problems. Give the plant as much sunlight as possible indoors, and keep the soil damp.

Allow the surface of the compost to dry out in between watering. When summer is over and fall starts to set in, it’s time to harvest your ginger.

You can either do this in one go, taking out all the ginger, or you can harvest some at a time, leaving the rest to grow.

You can even overwinter it inside for a while, but it’s worth knowing that the foliage will eventually yellow, at which point you do need to harvest it.

How To Harvest Ginger

Dig Up Your Ginger

The first thing you need to do is to root around in the soil for the ginger. The soil doesn’t have to be particularly wet for this job, and it’s often easier to do this with dry compost.

It’s worth doing outside if you have the room, as this gets very messy very quickly! If not, simply put a large tray underneath the pot, so you can catch any stray compost. There is always stray compost when it comes to unearthing rhizomes, so just be aware of that.

It’s a good idea to save one or two rhizomes for next year’s harvest, so set them aside, brushing off as much soil as you can. 

Put them in a brown paper bag, and store them somewhere cool and dark, with temperatures between 55°F and 60°F for best results.

For the rest, shake off the soil you can, and take a look at it. It may not look the same as the ginger you get in stores.

If the ginger hasn’t matured, it may have pink or reddish bits on it, and the skin will be lighter. There’s not much wrong with this, as you can still use it.

If you prefer fully-mature ginger, you could harvest it a bit at a time instead of all at once to check when it is ready.

Cut off all the stems from the rhizomes, and discard the stems. 

Thoroughly Wash The Ginger

As you might imagine, this step is very important. You need to wash all remnants of soil from the ginger before you can do anything with it.

Grab a colander, and all your ginger rhizomes, and thoroughly rinse the ginger. If you like, you can use a soft vegetable brush to help get the soil out of all the crevices.

Some might remain, and if this is the case, you can separate the rhizome into pieces to get at it. You need to get rid of all the soil you can.

Since it’s unlikely that you’ll use all the ginger you’ve just uncovered, it’s a good idea to figure out how to extend its shelf life. Now it’s time to preserve all that lovely goodness for later!

How To Preserve Ginger

Preserving Ginger Using Vodka

Grab a sterilized mason jar and some plain vodka. Tip the ginger into the jar, and pour the vodka on top.

Make sure that there are no air bubbles, and that the ginger is completely submerged. Seal the jar, and put it straight into the fridge.

Now you can have your ginger as and when you want it. No more emergency trips to the grocery store for ginger!

This greatly extends the shelf life of the ginger, and if you are a fan of vodka-based drinks, you now also have a ginger vodka infusion to try!

Alcohol-Free Alternative: Freeze Ginger Whole

If you prefer not to use vodka, you can set aside the ginger to dry for a day or so once you’ve washed it. Once the excess moisture is gone, stick it straight into the freezer in an appropriate container.

You don’t even have to defrost it if you’re planning on using only a little bit. Use a vegetable peeler to slice off what you need, and put the rest back into the freezer. 

How To Use Up Excess Ginger

If you have more ginger than you know what to do with, and you want to use it fresh, you could add it to your favorite dishes, or, you can make a glorious ginger tea in as little as fifteen minutes.

Freshly-made ginger tea is the ultimate winter comfort. Not to mention the benefits you reap with its anti-nausea properties, and it will also help you feel better when you have a stinker of a cold.

Grab a piece of ginger, and slice it as small as you can. Get a pan of boiling water, and put the ginger in there. Depending on how strong you want it (how cold you are, or how nasty your cold is!), boil it for 15 to 30 minutes.

Once you’ve boiled it, take out the ginger pieces, and add a dash or two of lemon juice. Add some honey to sweeten this magical mixture, however much you like, and enjoy your fresh ginger tea.

If you prefer, you could also use fresh ginger as a great ingredient in smoothies, too.

Final Thoughts

While fresh ginger can be a little pricey, its benefits and general taste is unparalleled. One way of ensuring that you have fresh ginger pretty much year-round is to grow it yourself.

If you can preserve it too, you will never run out of ginger. It helps that ginger makes a fabulous houseplant, mimicking the foliage of a fern, and the leaves smell delicious.

You will have to give it about 10 months of growing though to get a good amount of mature ginger, so plan ahead.

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