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How to Grow

Ginger & Turmeric
Believe it or not, you can successfully grow ginger & turmeric in Canada regardless of how cold it is where you live! This post will walk you through everything you need to know.

How To Grow Ginger And Turmeric in Canada

by on January 28, 2024
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Ginger grown in Canada at home

Whenever I tell gardeners I grow both ginger & turmeric in my Zone 3 garden, their reactions are always a mix of shock and excitement. It sounds like a stretch, but you can successfully grow ginger & turmeric in Canada regardless of how cold it is where you live! This post will walk you through how to grow ginger and turmeric at home and everything else you need to know.

This post covers:

  • Can You Grow Ginger In Canada
  • Can You Grow Turmeric In Canada
  • How Long Does It Take To Grow Ginger & Turmeric At Home
  • Where To Source Ginger & Turmeric Rhizomes
  • When Should You Start Ginger & Turmeric Plants Indoors
  • How To Grow Ginger & Turmeric In Cold Climates
  • How To Harvest Ginger & Turmeric Plants

Can You Grow Ginger In Canada

As you’ve likely already guessed by the title of this post, the answer is yes!  You can absolutely grow ginger in Canada at home regardless of how cold of a climate you live in.

Trust me, I live in the middle of the Canadian Prairies where Winter temperatures can get as cold as -35°C and I’ve had great success growing ginger in my Zone 3 climate.

Because our growing seasons are so short here in Canada, there are certainly a few growing practices you need to follow in order to successfully grow ginger. But don’t worry, I’ll cover those further down in this post!

Can You Grow Turmeric In Canada

When it comes to whether you can grow turmeric in Canada the answer is also yes!

Just like growing ginger, you can grow turmeric at home in a cold climate if you follow the proper growing instructions.

As you’ll see throughout this post, ginger and turmeric require pretty much the exact same growing conditions when starting indoors in a Northern climate.

How Long Does It Take To Grow Ginger & Turmeric At Home

Since ginger and turmeric are tropical plants native to temperate countries such as India and Sri Lanka, they require warm growing conditions and adequate time to mature.

But how long exactly does it take to grow ginger & turmeric at home?

From planting to harvesting, it typically takes 9+ months of growing before ginger and turmeric are ready to harvest.

This sounds like a really long time, but both ginger and turmeric are pretty hands-off for the first few months when growing indoors. So don’t worry!

The bulk of the work comes throughout the Summer months when your ginger and turmeric will require consistent feeding in order to develop big roots. More on that further down.

Where To Source Ginger & Turmeric Rhizomes

This is one of the most common questions I get asked!

Where do I buy ginger & turmeric roots or rhizomes for planting? Better yet, I always get asked where to source organic ginger and turmeric rhizomes.

Well the answer may actually surprise you!

First, I’ve found it extremely challenging to find greenhouses and nurseries that sell ginger and turmeric rhizomes in Canada. Locally here in Manitoba, I haven’t actually found any local sellers. Many nurseries have started to sell started ginger and turmeric plants, but no rhizomes.

And while there are a few U.S. nurseries who sell, such as one of my favs Fruition Seeds, many unfortunately won’t ship to Canada.

So then — where to source ginger and turmeric rhizomes in Canada?

Believe it or not, I actually buy my organic ginger and turmeric roots for planting from my local health food store. I like this approach because;

  1. They’re organic
  2. I get to support local
  3. They typically have lots in stock so you can buy somewhat in bulk

Other gardeners have commented on this post suggesting to also check-out your local Asian market for organic ginger and turmeric. I love this idea!

What do ginger & turmeric rhizomes look like?

Ginger and turmeric rhizomes are the roots of the plant and therefore look like the above photo. Just like what you’d find at the grocery store!

The definition of rhizomes is a continuously growing horizontal stem which puts out lateral shoots and adventitious roots at intervals.

When purchasing ginger and turmeric rhizomes for planting, choosing organic will increase your chances of success. If rhizomes have been treated with any sprays, pesticides, etc..they may not be viable.

So choose organic if you can!

When Should You Start Ginger & Turmeric Plants In Canada

Ginger and turmeric plants growing indoors

As mentioned, both ginger and turmeric are extremely slow growing and require 9-10 months of growing time.

So if you live in a Northern climate, you should start your ginger and turmeric plants indoors by January. This means you’ll be harvesting your plants by Fall.

You can certainly start earlier if you’d like to harvest before the end of Summer.

But just know that it’s key to grow ginger and turmeric indoors under grow lights when starting in the Winter. There just simply is not enough natural daylight for the plants to thrive otherwise.

Alternatively if you start your ginger and turmeric plants later than January, be prepared to bring them indoors or into a greenhouse in the Fall so they can continue growing.

This is why I always suggest growing ginger and turmeric in a container, as you’ll read about more in this post, as it makes them easy to transport to a warmer environment if needed.

How To Grow Ginger & Turmeric In Cold Climates

Now for the exciting stuff!

Here’s everything you need to know about growing ginger and turmeric at home in a Northern climate.

Before you read through, remember that these plants are slow growing and take time. So patience is key! Don’t give up if at first you don’t see growth.

The other thing to note is that the recommended equipment in this list will increase your chances of growing healthy plants. I’ve included links to all my favourite gear!

5 Steps To Easily Grow Ginger & Turmeric At Home

Ginger plants growing in a container in Canada

Come defy the expectations of what you can and can’t grow in a Northern climate and add ginger and/or turmeric to your garden with these 5 easy steps!

Step 1: Source organic ginger & turmeric rhizomes

Organic ginger and turmeric rhizomes for planting

As mentioned above, source organic ginger/turmeric rhizomes (roots) from a local supplier or from your local health food store.

I’ve found the rhizomes that germinate best are ones that you can clearly see small, nubby bumps on. This is where your shoots will develop off of.

Avoid purchasing rhizomes that have damaged or punctured skin as they typically won’t germinate.

Step 2: Break rhizomes into smaller pieces

Segments of ginger and turmeric rhizomes for planting

Divide each piece of ginger or turmeric into smaller segments. I like to break my rhizomes into 1/2in-1in long piece.

Each rhizome segment will develop shoots, put down roots and eventually grow into a larger cluster of ginger or turmeric roots.

So ultimately, the more pieces of ginger and turmeric you break, the more plants you’ll have!

Step 3: Prepare your soil mix

Ginger and turmeric soil mix

A high-quality, well draining soil mix is key for successful germination with ginger and turmeric. If your rhizomes are left in standing water, they’ll absorb too much and begin to rot.

I’ve experimented with several different soil mixes, including straight compost and straight seed starting mix. However, I’ve had the best results from using the following seed starting soil mix.

The Best Soil Mix For Growing Ginger & Turmeric

  • 1 part compost or worm castings — I love the Pure Life brand
  • 1 part potting soil — ProMix is my go-to!
  • 1/2 part vermiculite or perlite — a must for good drainage

Once you’ve combined your soil mix, dampen it with water until it is clumpy but does not have any excess moisture.

Step 4: Plant rhizomes 2 inches deep in soil

Ginger and turmeric planted

Use either a small, narrow 4in deep container to plant individual segments of rhizomes, or use one wider 4in deep container to plant multiple rhizomes together.

Either works and since you will be dividing them and potting up in a few weeks any way it doesn’t make a huge difference what approach you take.

Now, this is where my blog may differ from other ginger and turmeric growing advice on the internet.

I’ve seen other gardeners suggest just gently covering rhizomes in a little bit of soil and letting them germinate this way.

However, I’ve tried this technique and have found that germination is much more sparse. It’s always caused me a lot of trouble as the soil and rhizomes dry out quickly.

So instead, my approach is to cover your ginger and turmeric rhizomes in 2in of your soil mixture.

This allows you to better control soil moisture and it keeps the rhizomes warmer since they’re deeper in the soil.

Step 5: Place under grow lights and keep in a warm space

Ginger and turmeric plants growing indoors

Grow lights are an absolute must for growing ginger and turmeric indoors in a Northern climate. We simply don’t have enough natural daylight in the Winter months. So you need to supplement with grow lights!

I use Sunblaster LED grow lights with T5 fluorescent bulbs. They put off a ton of light without generating excess heat.

Place your planted ginger and turmeric rhizomes under grow lights that are hanging just a few inches above the soil’s surface. I keep mine no more than 4in above the top of my plants during germination.

Ginger and turmeric grow best in a warm, humid environment so either place a humidity dome over them or be sure the air temperature is around 21°C/69.8°F.

Keep soil consistently damp but avoid having any standing water.

Another thing to avoid is bottom heat from a heat mat. I find it leads to rhizomes rotting.

How Long Does It Take For Ginger & Turmeric To Germinate

Turmeric grown at home in Canada

You can expect to see germination after anywhere from 21-35 days. Little shoots will begin to appear above the soil’s surface.

If your rhizomes have not sprouted after 40 days, gently unbury them from the soil and check to see if any roots have developed. If so, they’re still viable and may put on growth yet. Try increase the amount of daily light they’re receiving or moving them to a warmer area of your home.

You could also top dress the soil with a bit of compost to give them an extra boost of nutrients.

But if you do not see any root development below the soil, your rhizomes likely weren’t viable. Sorry to say!

When To Pot-Up Your Ginger & Turmeric Plants

Homegrown ginger shoots

After your ginger and turmeric germinates, it should start to put on growth pretty significantly.

You’ll see the plant’s shoots grow tall, thick stems and eventually put on leaves.

Be sure to feed your ginger and turmeric plants during this time with an all purpose liquid fertilizer or by topping up the top of the soil with compost.

I really love using both Sea Magic Liquid Kelp Fertilizer as well as the PRO-MIX All-Purpose Liquid Fertilizer.

So, when is it time to pot-up your ginger and turmeric plants?

I usually size up the container my ginger and turmeric plants are in once shoots are 4-6in tall.

To do so, gently remove the plant from its original container being careful not to damage the root system that your rhizome has formed.

Transplant it into a deeper, wider container. I’d suggest a container that is 6-10in wide and deep. You can put 3-4 plants per container.

Use the same soil starting mix used for germination and continue feeding your plants regularly every 3-4 weeks.

Why You Should Only Grow Ginger & Turmeric In A Container

Ginger growing in a container

For Northern gardeners, growing ginger and turmeric in a container gives you the flexibility to monitor the plants growing environment.

Ginger and turmeric grow best in hot, humid environments. Keeping your plants in a container allows you to move them to the best possible conditions throughout the growing season.

For example, I keep my ginger and turmeric plants indoors until the beginning of June. I then move them into the greenhouse where they spend the majority of the growing season.

In the Fall if my plants aren’t yet ready to harvest and the temperatures are starting to dip, I’ll bring the containers indoors to extend their growing for another few weeks.

So all this to say — if you’re growing ginger and turmeric in Canada you should only grow your plants in a container as it will allow you to optimize their growing environment by easily moving the plants as needed.

How To Harvest Ginger & Turmeric Plants

Your ginger and turmeric plants will be ready to harvest after 9-10 months of growing when the top shoots and leaves have started to turn yellow and brown.

It will almost look as if your plants are beginning to die. But don’t worry, this is a good sign! It means your roots have stopped developing and are ready to harvest.

To harvest, tip your container over on its side. Gently brush away the soil until you begin to reveal the various clusters of rhizomes. There will be dozens!

Some rhizomes may be stuck together but will come apart with some gently tugging.

Once separated, I like to use a tooth brush to remove any excess dirt that’s stuck on. I typically let them sit on my kitchen table for 24-48 hours before washing and storing.

How To Store Ginger & Turmeric

Storing ginger and turmeric

After I’ve cleaned and dried my ginger and turmeric roots, I like to store them in my pantry. I find they will keep well for anywhere from 2-3 months if kept in a cool, dry place.

To prolong the shelf life of my ginger and turmeric, I also like to freeze them. 

I find this allows me to keep them much longer and enjoy this garden treat throughout the Winter months.

You’ll find your homegrown ginger and turmeric is exponentially better than anything at the grocery store! It’s incredibly juicy and flavourful. Plus, organic!

And there you have it!

Now you know how to grow ginger and turmeric at home in a Northern climate.

I hope you give homegrown ginger and turmeric a shot this season!

Comment below if there’s other tasks you complete at this time of year. I answer all comments and love hearing from you!

You can follow @fromsoiltosoul on InstagramPinterest and Tik Tok for more gardening content too.

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Latest Comments

  1. January 30, 2023

    I’m a very green, new, green thumb. I managed to keep a basil plant alive for six months and grew a couple tomato pants last summer. I have a spare room in my house that I would use as a starter room but no green house. The deck out front gets sunlight in summer all day as well as quite a bit during spring and fall. I could possibly turn an end of it into a portable green house of some sort. What advice could you give for someone without a greenhouse, other than build a green house. lol

    — Brian Petersen
  2. February 18, 2023

    Hello fromsoiltosoul.ca owner, Thanks for the well-researched and well-written post!

    — Randall Southee
  3. March 25, 2023

    Such a great resource! I’m so inspired to try growing ginger and turmeric, this is the season I go for it!

    — Stephanie R
  4. March 25, 2023

    Such a great resource! I’m so inspired to grow ginger and turmeric, this is my season to finally try it!

    — Stephanie R
  5. March 25, 2023

    Thank you for the walk through – really looking forward to trying this!!

    — Heather Rumancik
  6. March 25, 2023

    Lots of great info here, will definitely safe this to try myself

    — Jeff Carroll
  7. March 27, 2023

    Thank you for the detailed blog! I’ve always been interested in growing ginger but thought that it was too cold up here. Definitely will have to try this out (even though it seems I’m already a few months late in starting)

    — Jennifer
  8. April 12, 2023

    I found organic ginger root at Walmart in Halifax. I believe they also have organic turmeric.
    Re: storage. Years ago I asked a young Asian man how he stored ginger and he told me his grandfather peels and cuts it , places in a jar and covers with vodka. It lasts a very long time and you can use the ‘juice’ to cook with!

    — Patricia Cary
  9. May 3, 2023

    Wow at Walmart of all places?! How strange but great! Interesting idea for storage, I’ll have to try that. Thank you for sharing!

    — Maggie
  10. April 14, 2023

    I’m a little disappointed that the Pin button isn’t working properly. It pops up the new window where I can select my pinboard, but there is no picture, so it won’t let me save it. 🙁

    — Maria Jenkins
  11. May 3, 2023

    Hey Maria! Try again to pin the post 🙂 It’s working on my end so should work now.

    — Maggie
  12. July 17, 2023

    Wow, was your article ever well written and very informative. I like the fact that is written for people in Canada and therefore the products you recommended are available in Canada. I will look into your fertilizer recommendations. I have set up a hydroponics garden downstairs in my house but have had very poor success rate growing anything hydroponically. So basically I just use it now to start all my plants that I will grow out in my garden. I am going to try and grow turmeric and Ginger this year based on your growing recommendation.
    Also I agree home growing vegetables/herbs are 10 times more aromatic and flavorful than store-bought. Plus like you said they are organic and there are no chemicals.

    Thank you
    Rick

    — Rick Patsula
  13. September 10, 2023

    I’ve just come across your article on home grown ginger and tumeric. I also noted that you are from Manitoba. I’m also from Manitoba, Winnipeg – St.Vital area. So I just want to say to a fellow Manitoban.

    In your article, you always mention both ginger and tumeric to grow together. Do you mean in the same pot?
    My basement is on the cool damp side, needing a good clean out down the road. If an area is cleaned in order to grow these, is this a good spot or do I need to move this upstairs to the main floor area? My living room windows face the south, so this is the majority of my sun.
    The other question is when it starts to get warmer here in June, does this need to have a greenhouse to go into? I don’t have this, so am wondering if the pot can just sit in an area the has the most direct sunlight.

    — Linda Kozakewich
  14. September 12, 2023

    Hi Linda, thanks for the comment – I grew up in that area, small world! I would suggest growing ginger and turmeric in separate containers, the post title mentions both because they have the same growing needs. I also start mine in my basement but with grow lights, so they do get some heat. I’d recommend doing the same. They definitely do not need to grow in a greenhouse, using a container gives you the flexibility to bring inside in the Fall when temps start to dip. Then you can bring them back out again during the day to soak up that last bit of sunshine before harvest. Hope that helps!

    — Maggie
  15. October 6, 2023

    Both ginger and turmeric are widely available in Toronto in the Chinese and Indian stores. They are used extensively in cooking in these countries.
    I guess once grown, the subsequent planting with these rhizomes will be organic!

    Thanks for your growing tips.

    — Anthony
  16. October 11, 2023

    Yes correct! And good tips about looking at Asian grocery stores.

    — Maggie
  17. October 12, 2023

    Thank you for this most informative post, and I am especially grateful that it is for the Canadian climate. I live in Toronto, zone 6 I believe, so I am really excited to start growing both garlic and turmeric using your method. Thank you so much.

    — Maria
  18. October 13, 2023

    Hi to you in Toronto! Ginger and turmeric will both thrive in your zone, especially if grown in grow bags. All the best Maria 🙂

    — Maggie
  19. December 20, 2023

    Great tips I grew ginger last year in a raised bed.I was reasonably happy with the results but didn’t get the quantity Ihad hoped for.This year I’ll take your advise and grow them in pots.Thanks for the advise.B

    — Bill
  20. January 8, 2024

    Thanks for the comment! I do find pots and/or grow bags make a huge difference. Hope you have success!

    — Maggie
  21. February 9, 2024

    Howdy from a fellow Manitoban! Do you ever save your own ginger and turmeric rhizomes to start next years plants instead of buying more for “seed?” I’m curious if it would store well for winter in the root cellar like potatoes or carrots. Have you tried that? Thanks! – Katie

    — Katie
  22. February 10, 2024

    Howdy! Thanks for the comment, neighbour 😉 I don’t only because we always eat it all within the first few months. I haven’t tried storing…but I imagine it would only keep for a few months, not as long as root crops. However that might not be an issue if you begin sprouting them again in say December! Worth a shot.

    — Maggie
  23. February 24, 2024

    Soooo helpful! Can’t wait to do this

    — Marzia
  24. April 25, 2024

    Wish I had read this in January😁. I may try a small attempt and see if I can get something going that I can finish under my sun blaster.

    — Garry Parkes
  25. April 26, 2024

    Good luck, Garry! Ginger/turmeric needs at least 9 months of growing time, so be sure to plant them in a container that can be brought indoors.

    — Maggie