Ginger plants are more than a flavour
Gingers are desired by gardeners for their vibrant colours, unique designs and beautiful variations. This rhizome is a perennial herb with debated origins. Although growing naturally in India and parts of Asia, some botanist believe that since Ginger Plants have been cultivated and traded by humans for thousands of years that the exact origin is unknown. Categorized into two groups, Edible Ginger and Ornamental Ginger, hundreds of Ginger varieties are cultivated around the world.
There are four varieties of Edible Ginger
There are four varieties of Ginger which are know as edible. They are the standard Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Turmeric (Curcuma longa), Galangal (Alpinia galangal), or Cardamon (Elettaria cardamomum) which is the seeds that are often stored in pod form. The standard Ginger is best known in its rhizome form used for many purposes including cooking. The other varieties mentioned are often enjoyed for their edible rhizomes, shoots, and leaves.
There are hundreds of ornamental varieties of Ginger
There are hundreds of ornamental varieties of Ginger (including hybrids) and they are desired for their stunning flowers and excellent growing habits. Ornamental Ginger genera are Alpinia, Kaempferia, Zingiber, Curcuma, Etlingera, Costus, Dichorisandra and hedychium.
The best know Gingers in the Alpinia genus is the Australian Native Red-Backed Ginger (Alpinia caerulea), a fast and easy grower with very impressive foliage. The Zingiber genus contains the ‘true Gingers’, including the standard edible Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and the easily recognizable ‘Beehive Ginger’ (Zingiber spectabile), which has large flowers resembling beehives.
Curcuma are smaller Gingers that grow great in pots and the Etlingera is the ‘Torch Ginger’ know for their tall and magnificent flowers. Whether you choose the Kaempferia, Dichorisandra, or Costus, searching for Gingers online will help narrow your options. The first step to buying from an online Ginger Nursery is to know what you need. Giving a Ginger a suitable home is important and knowing how much space, heat, sun, and water you can provide your plant is vital.
How to grow Ginger Plants
Every Ginger has different care instructions but here is a general list of Ginger preferences:
- Most appreciate rich, moist soils
- grow well in part shade or filtered sunlight, avoid direct sun
- thrive in warm and humid conditions.
Some Gingers can survive in cold so each variety will need to be checked individually. Gingers can be grown in pots or tubs, so growing ginger indoors is also a possibility in cooler climates. Ginger is a tropical plant and therefore doesn’t tolerate frost, direct sun, strong winds, and soggy soil.
Ginger Plants are generally Easy to Grow.
Ginger has a beautiful appearance and a lovely scent. Many people think growing Gingers is difficult but the reality is that anyone can grow Ginger. Starting with a store bought ginger root is easy. Select a fresh plump Ginger which has developed ‘eyes’ or growth buds (similar to eyes on a potato). After the ripe rhizome is home soak it in some water overnight to loosen compacted dirt and also to wash off any farmland fertilisers. Don’t soak it too long because the Ginger will take on its new soil best if not conditioned to the water. The moist warm ground will help the root grow easily. Whether planted in the ground or in a pot, a good, rich, soil is necessary to provide proper nutrition and moisture for the Ginger. Free drainage is important and good compost always helps.
The best planting time is late winter/early spring because technically the plant thrives best when planted late dry season/early wet season. You can cut or break up the ginger rhizomes in little pieces with a couple of growing buds each. Or just plant the whole thing. Plant your ginger root five to ten centimetres deep, with the growing buds facing up. Then just follow the general list of Ginger preferences, because this Ginger will survive well based on those instructions, and after about eight to ten months when the leaves die down you can dig up the whole plant. If you grow your ginger in a pot then simply dump the whole thing out. Next, break up the rhizomes, select a few nice ones with good growing buds for immediate replanting and keep the rest for the kitchen.
Even the standard ginger, grown above, has beautiful foliage and fragrant flowers and the possibilities when purchasing from Online Ginger Nurseries are remarkable. A rainbow of coloured Gingers are available, with blues, pinks, reds and yellows, so there is truly a Ginger for every garden. Pick a spot or a pot and let the Gingers grow.