Whether you want to slice it onto your sushi or steep it into tea, this super-nutritious root veggie is an awesome thing to have on hand. And it's about time you stop buying it, and start growing it! Ginger really is the perfect indoor potted herb: It’s very low-maintenance, loves partial sunlight, and you can use parts of it at a time, leaving the rest in the soil to continue growing. Besides, it's delicious!
What to start with
Similar to a potato, ginger plants are grown right out of another piece of ginger ... there are no actual seeds. The best ginger to plant is purchased from a garden center or seed catalog. You’ll have much better luck if you get seed ginger that was meant to be planted. However, ginger can be hard to find from garden suppliers, especially locally.
Ginger purchased from the produce department at your local grocery store can be used to grow a plant, but with spotty results. I’ve heard of grocery store ginger growing just fine, and I’ve heard of it sitting in a pot forever and never budging. Here's the issue: The roots are often sprayed with a growth inhibitor to keep it from sprouting before it’s purchased, which also keeps it from sprouting when you stick it in a pot of soil. (And that's not to mention all the pesticides and fungicides it might also have been sprayed with.) If you do purchase your ginger from the grocery store, be sure to soak it in water overnight to remove as much residue as you can.
Choose the right root
Once you have your ginger, choose a piece of it to plant that's plump with tight skin, not shriveled and old. It should have several eye buds on it (bumps that look like potato eyes) and if they’re already a little green, all the better.
Pick the perfect pot
Unlike most other houseplants, ginger loves shallow, wide pots. The roots grow horizontally so be sure the vessel you choose will accommodate its growth.
Plant it well
Once you're ready, fill your pot with rich but well-draining potting soil. Then place the ginger root in the soil with the eye bud pointing up. Cover it with 1" to 2" of dirt. Water it well to start, and place the ginger in a spot that stays reasonably warm and doesn’t get too much bright sunlight.
Care for it daily
Continue to care for the plant by misting it with a spray bottle and keeping it in a warm spot. Ginger is a slow grower. After a few weeks, you should see some shoots popping up out of the soil.
Harvest your crop
Small pieces of ginger can be harvested 3-4 months after growth begins. Pull aside some of the soil at the edges of the pot to find the rhizomes beneath the surface. Cut the needed amount off a finger at the edge of the pot and then return the soil. Ginger can be harvested in this way endlessly, and as long as it is well cared for, it will continue to produce roots. If you need a larger harvest, you can uproot the entire plant and re-plant a few rhizomes to start the process over again.