Turmeric root is one of the easiest plants to grow indoors. It needs 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 is such a useful medicinal root plant that you can use in many recipes! Really, what’s not to love about growing turmeric indoors?
This beautiful plant adds an exotic flair to any room. Depending on where you live, you can also grow it outdoors in hotter weather. Turmeric is so easy to grow that it will grow like a weed and you will soon have an endless supply of fresh turmeric.
Introduction To The Turmeric Root Plant
Unlike most herbs that you grow to harvest of their leaves, you grow turmeric for its roots. The plant grows an underground tuber, or rhizome—much like ginger root. This plant does not produce seeds, so planting the rhizome is the way to go.
Turmeric takes about 6 to 8 months from planting to harvest. A full grown turmeric plant has large green leaves and may grow up to three or more feet tall. As the plant matures, each stem will send up a spike of greenish-white (or pinkish) flowers.
Like ginger, turmeric is a tropical plant and thrives in warm, humid conditions, with well-drained, neutral soil. It thrives in a climate of between 65oF and 85oF (about 20oC to 30oC), so in cold countries growing the plant in a pot indoors is ideal. Moreover, this plant grows well in partial to full shade.
How To Choose Your Turmeric Rhizomes
The best way to get your fresh turmeric rhizome is from your local organic health foodstore or farmer’s market. If you don’t find it at either places, the next best place is to get them from your local ethnic grocery stores (Indian or Asian stores).
Select plump rhizomes with as many bumps (buds) along the sides as possible. Don’t use rhizomes that are shriveled and old.
The Perfect Pot Size For Your Turmeric Plant
Unlike ginger root, turmeric root can grow in every direction from its mother, so you will need a pot that is deep as well as wide.
In a pot of about 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep, put one piece of turmeric finger that has a few buds. You want each plant to grow and spread its tubers freely.
You may start sprouting your rhizomes in smaller containers and then transplant them into larger containers once they grow a little taller and sprouting leaves. Remember, they can grow to as tall as 3 feet or more.
Type Of Soil For Growing Your Turmeric
Plant turmeric in a light and loamy soil that is rich in organic matters. Use well-draining potting soil. Fertilize your pot every month with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer. Compost also helps. In cooler climates, you could add mulch on top of the beds to preserve soil moisture.
How To Grow Your Turmeric Rhizome In A Pot
- Break the finger rhizomes off its mother, each piece with at least two or three buds.
- Fill your pot with the rich soil.
- Bury your pieces of rhizomes about two inches below the soil surface, with the buds facing up.
- Place the pot in a spot that stays reasonably warm and doesn’t get too much bright sunlight.
- Keep the soil moist, especially if the air in your room tends to be dry, using a spray bottle to mist it, or water it lightly.
How And When To Harvest Your Turmeric
Turmeric is a slow grower. It may take about 4 weeks before you see a shoot breaking the soil. Be patient and you will be thrilled when you finally see the shoot!
It may take about 6 to 8 months before harvest time. When the plant starts to turn yellow and the leaves begin to dry out, you will know that it is ready to dig up your turmeric.
You can remove the dried leaves from time to time. There is no need to dig up the entire plant. If you are careful, it is possible to harvest a few root fingers as you need, and leave the rest of the plant to continue growing.
Wash off the dirt and it’s ready to use. Take a few pieces of this root and start another pot!
Tumeric is a potent inflammation and cancer fighter. There are many ways you can add turmeric in your beverages and in your food. Here are some ideas: