“What is the minimum temperature for growing ginger plants outdoors?” Question from Susan of Pembroke Pines, Florida
Answer: Culinary ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a true tropical plant that originates from Southeast Asia. It survives in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 12, which means that it can withstand outdoor cold reaching down to 25 to 30 degrees F, no colder. Temperatures on the coldest end will still stress plants out and cause their foliage to die back, so it’s best to keep them in a warm, humid location if the weather really takes a cold turn. But, ginger should grow really well in your zone 10 location under normal weather conditions.
Whether you cook something sweet or savory, fresh ginger (Zingiber officinale) has a traditional place at the winter table. And, potted ginger is so easy to grow! Contained gingers grow fast for fresh, flavorful roots in any season.
Ginger is wonderfully easy to grow as a potted house plant for a sunny window. Start with a spacious container with bottom drainage. Then fill the pot with fertile Black Gold Natural & Organic Potting Mix, leaving at least 2 inches of headspace at the top of the pot for watering. Ginger likes soil with a slightly acid pH between 5.5 and 6.5, so consider adding a little Black Gold Peat Moss Plus to decrease soil pH.
Plants or roots don’t need to be planted deeply; place them just a few inches below the soil surface. When planting ginger root, be sure to set it with its horn-like buds facing upwards. Lightly press down the soil to ensure good soil-to-root contact and water moderately, keeping roots just moist. Fertilize ginger monthly with an all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer, provide high light, and keep ginger plants warm and humidity high. They don’t appreciate dry air or temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sourcing Ginger Plants
Store-bought roots from organic grocery stores will work very well or you can purchase plants from retail greenhouses, like Logee’s and Stokes Tropicals. Just be sure you are choosing culinary ginger (Zingiber officinale) rather than flower ginger plants and that it is organically grown. There are many cultivated varieties of culinary ginger, but most are only available in Asian agricultural markets.
Harvesting Ginger Root
Happy ginger plants will begin to develop generous, fragrant, fleshy roots (rhizomes) that spread outward to fill the sides of the pot. Cut off outer rhizomes for cooking, and leave plenty of plant in the pot to generate lots more ginger for cooking.