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Description

Description

While it thrives in zones 9-12, you can grow this tropical plant in a container or as an annual in cooler climates.  It is known as the true ginger as it is one of the oldest known spice.  Its origin is in the tropics of Asia. It is best known by its aroma and pungent flavor.

Propagation can be accomplished by purchasing fresh ginger rhizomes in the spring and cut into short pieces, each with several healthy buds.  After the cuts have dried out for a day or two plant them just below the surface of the soil in a partially shady spot with plenty of room for the plant to grow to its mature size of 4′ high X 3′ wide. To avoid root rot water sparingly until the plant starts to grow, then water and fertilize regularly.  If potted, bring the plant inside before the temperatures drop below 50 degrees F. to avoid root rot in wet, cold soil. Carefully harvest several rhizomes to allow the remainder to continue to grow.

The rhizomes are brown to golden colored with a corky outer skin that can be damaged through handling.  The inside is a pale yellow and has a spicy scent.  Young rhizomes are juicy and fleshy and mild taste.  With maturity, they will dry,  become more fibrous and have a somewhat zingy taste.

It can be grown in a variety of soil types, but does best in soil that is rich in organic matter.  Newly planted clumps will not flower for two years.  The flowers grow on a separate, leafless stem.  Container plants rarely bloom.

Some cultures used fresh or frozen rhizomes in soups and stir-fry.  Young sprouts are also edible.  Baked goods, such as gingerbread and gingersnaps are both prepared using ginger.  In the US, it is marketed in a powdered or candied form.

Used as a herbal remedy for wide range of conditions.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Cold and/or wet locations can cause root rot.  Placing plants in full sun can result in the foliage tipped with brown and poor growth.

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