Every hobby gardener can grow ginger himself in the vegetable patch, in the herb garden on the balcony or in a pot on the windowsill. If you miss it, you will miss out on a spicy-hot herbal plant that also has natural healing powers. Freshly prepared as a tea, ginger has a beneficial effect, alleviates minor ailments and prevents colds. It is the rhizome where all the botanical magic resides that is elicited through proper cultivation. Read below to find out which aspects are decisive for skillful planting, comprehensive care and a bountiful harvest.


  • Plant family of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae)
  • Species Name: Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • Perennial, herbaceous plant from the tropics and subtropics
  • Growth height 50 cm to 150 cm
  • Branching rhizome in a horizontal position
  • Strong inflorescence stem with a length of approx. 25 cm
  • Simple, oblong leaves up to 30 cm long
  • Use as herbal, medicinal and ornamental plant
  • Not hardy in Europe

The special spiciness of ginger is based on the ingredient gingerol, a stimulant that even leaves Tabasco far behind. The type of preparation decides to what extent the sharpness lands on the tongue. In addition, the rhizome is rich in vitamins and minerals.


Since the ginger root is available in every well-stocked supermarket, planting is pleasantly uncomplicated. The next time you go shopping, a well-branched, plump, undamaged specimen goes into the shopping basket. At home, cut the rhizome into segments, each with at least 1 to 2 growing points.

  • The best time to plant ginger is between February and April
  • Fill flat, wide pots with a suitable substrate
  • Before doing so, create a drainage made of gravel or potsherds at the bottom of the pot
  • Insert one root piece at a time with the cut surface facing down
  • Keep constantly moist at a bright window seat at approx. 20° Celsius

The ginger will not be completely covered with soil, but should still be 30 to 50% visible. If you want to avoid cutting the rhizome, plant it whole. Since the tropical plant thrives best when it finds a humid and warm climate, a mini greenhouse ideally creates the desired conditions. The goal is also achieved by stretching a piece of clear film over each jar. When the first green shoot appears, the cover is removed. It can take several weeks for the rhizome to branch out further and develop new shoots.


The purpose of the planting method described is primarily to encourage the sprout to let numerous of the actual roots pointing downwards sprout out of the outlasting organ. The stronger this root system develops, the better the aerial inflorescence stem is developed. Experienced hobby gardeners therefore favor two different substrate qualities, which are used in stages.
substrate for cultivation

  • One part peat and one part sand
  • Add a handful of perlite or lava granules
  • A thin layer of compost covers the bottom of the pot

The nutritious compost is intended to motivate the tender roots to grow quickly. Since there are hardly any nutrients in the actual substrate, experience has shown that this gardening trick always works.
Substrate for further cultivation

  • Commercial potting soil based on compost
  • Addition of sand for better permeability
  • Own mixture: garden soil, compost, sand, perlite, wood fibers

Since ginger is considered to be extremely frugal in terms of potting soil, normal potting soil meets all the requirements. Since it is known to be pre-fertilized, health-conscious gardeners tend to mix their own. They are familiar with all the components and they know what they will later consume with the ginger.

Zingiber officinale does not have any winter hardiness; cultivation in the bed is still possible throughout the summer. Here, the herbal plant thrives in any good garden soil that is humus-rich, nutrient-rich, permeable and fresh. A moderate pH between 5.5 and 6.5 is desirable.


While a bright, semi-shady window seat is appropriate for cultivation, it can be a bit sunnier for further cultivation. After planting in the bed or repotting, ginger prefers the following site conditions:

  • Sunny location without blazing midday sun
  • Warm, with temperatures up to 30° Celsius
  • Airy and at the same time protected from constant rain

A sun-drenched conservatory is just as suitable as a location, as is a south-facing window in the house or the balcony in summer. Since the main shoot can reach an impressive height of more than 100 cm, this fact should be taken into account when choosing a location. With the pretty flower window curtain in the living room, the ginger will therefore collide sooner or later.

Auspflanzen ins Beet

The rhizome, which is sensitive to cold, may be outdoors from mid-May at the earliest. To be on the safe side, prudent leisure gardeners wait until the cold is over or equip themselves with insulating garden fleece to protect the plant quickly from the cold overnight.

  • Loosen the soil at the chosen location
  • Dig a planting hole with 1.5 times the volume of the rhizome
  • Create drainage on the sole to prevent waterlogging
  • Plant ginger and cover only thinly with soil

Experienced gardeners water freshly planted Zingiber officinale with a gentle shower so that the soil is not immediately washed away.

Note: Planting tropical ginger in the bed only has a good chance of success in mild wine-growing regions.

Repot after cultivation

If the cultivation vessel is rooted and a green shoot shows above ground, repot the ginger into its final bucket. This should be a bit larger in hopes of further branching of the rhizome. An opening in the bottom of the pot is essential as a drain for excess water. In turn, a drainage is spread over it as protection against waterlogging.


Ginger is considered a paragon of frugality. This not only proves that planting is child’s play, but also continues with care.

  • Water when the surface has dried
  • Keep the substrate only moderately moist
  • Use rainwater or decalcified tap water
  • Fertilize organically every 4 weeks

For lush growth, the highest possible humidity is required, as Zingiber officinale knows from its tropical home. In room culture, humidifiers, a small well or bowls filled with water bring about the desired humidity of more than 60%. Knowledgeable hobby gardeners fill the saucer with pebbles and water so that a cloud of evaporated moisture constantly rises and envelops the plant. In the bed and on the balcony, it is advisable to spray the ginger with lime-free water from time to time when the sun is not shining.


With proper care, ginger is ready for harvest after 8 to 10 months. Yellowing foliage visually signals the maturity of the underground rhizome. Remove the entire ginger root from the soil, being careful not to damage the shoot roots. With a sharp knife, separate the tender, young branches in the desired number. You can either cut off the flower stalks or leave them on the plant. Before winter, they retire on their own. Replant the remaining rhizome.

As part of the bed harvest, do not replant the cold-sensitive roots, because winter is just around the corner. Either pot the ginger in a container to overwinter it, or use the whole root.


After the harvest, the preparations for winter storage begin seamlessly. As is to be expected from ginger, the effort is again manageable:

  • Cut off all plant parts above ground
  • Carry the tub to a shady, cool winter quarters
  • Temperatures between 10° and 15° Celsius are ideal

The rhizome does not receive any water until next spring, as it draws on its reserves. You should also refrain from giving fertilizer in this phase.

diseases and pests

The high proportion of gingerol, the pungent ingredient, protects the rhizome in particular from infestation by diseases and pests. If there are problems here, these are usually due to errors in maintenance. First and foremost, over-watering causes root rot due to waterlogging within a short period of time. The actually plump, firm ginger root turns into a mushy something, covered with brown spots. The ginger is irretrievably lost and will be disposed of. Moderate watering, which is only done after a thumb test, has a preventive effect. In addition, a coaster will be emptied after 30 minutes at the latest, unless it is filled with pebbles.
Most pests avoid ginger plants, except for fungus gnats and the ubiquitous aphids.

Fungus gnats
It is not the black, 1-6 mm small gnats that damage a ginger plant, but their translucent larvae. The mother animals lay hundreds of eggs in the substrate, from which a voracious brood develops. The offspring are particularly interested in the delicate shoot roots that arise from the rhizome. In the long run, the plant is severely weakened, begins to wither and die. How to fight the fungus gnat:

  • Cover the substrate with a finger-thick layer of sand
  • Always pour from below, i.e. fill the saucer and use the capillary effect
  • Crush the neempress cake and work it into the substrate

It is advisable to set up sticky traps around the ginger so that the flying mothers do not get to the substrate in the first place.

If you spot the small green or brown-black pests on the stems and leaves, the disaster is already in full swing. Since aphids are capable of procreation, they will reproduce explosively under good conditions. Although the use of chemical pesticides on ginger as a useful plant is prohibited, you are not completely defenseless:

  • Pack the pot with the rhizome in a plastic bag
  • Spray off the green parts of the plant with a strong jet of water
  • Then spray with a curd soap, water and alcohol solution

Research the site conditions to determine if the ginger is placed too dark or too cold. It is also advisable to stop giving fertilizer for a while. In addition, bedrock meal is increasingly being talked about as an effective means of combating aphids. Using a powder syringe, apply the natural remedy to the top and bottom of the leaves repeatedly until the infestation is over.

In the private sphere, ginger has established itself as a classic with forward-looking properties. Up to now, the tropical plant was mainly known as the spice with the pungent taste, but its natural healing powers are now gaining in importance. Since a ginger root can be planted, cared for and harvested very easily, even beginners should not miss out on the cultivation. It is important to note that Zingiber officinale is not hardy. Keeping them in buckets is therefore recommended. In mild regions, cultivation in beds is also an option. Appropriate hibernation, without any water or fertilizer, ensures that you can use the interesting magic root for the kitchen and medicine cabinet for years to come.

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