Zingiber Officinale [zing-ee-ber, oh-fiss-ih-NAH-lee] is a popular flowering plant of the Zingiberaceae family and is commonly known as ginger.
The ginger family also includes popular species like cardamom, kalihi, turmeric, and galangal.
Ginger was first originated in Island Southeast Asia.
It was later on domesticated by the people of Austronesia in Southeast Asia, Oceania, Taiwan, and Madagascar.
The plant’s rhizomes (ginger or ginger root) are popularly used as a culinary spice and ancient medicine.
Owing to its amazing uses, ginger was one of the first spices exported to Europe.
The English word “ginger” is derived from an Old English word “ginger”, from Greek “zingiberis”, and from Medieval Latin “gingiber”.
Zingiber Officinale roscoe is identified by a handful of common names which are as follows:
- Common Ginger
- Cooking Ginger
- Stem Ginger
- Canton Ginger
Zingiber Ginger Cousins
Zingiber Officinale Care
Size & Growth
Ginger plants prefer heat and humidity for optimal growth.
Some of the best areas for ginger cultivation are USDA Hardiness Zones from 8 to 12.
When they are provided with the required warmth and moisture, common ginger emerges into a thick, fleshy structure with narrow-shaped leaves in a glossy green hue.
While it is best to plant ginger roots in summers, they are also cultivated in cooler seasons for ornamental purposes.
The mature size of a typical ginger plant is 4′ – 5′ feet tall.
In the best climatic condition, green ginger grows up to 38 tons while dried ginger 1.5 to 7.5 tons.
Flowering and Fragrance
Ginger plants bring a tropical flair to a garden with their memorable physical appeal.
In the peak of summer, this houseplant blooms bright, boasting vivid flowers.
The color of these splendid flowers varies from genus to genus.
For example, some of these plants produce gorgeous hues of reds and pinks while others rock glowing shades of orange.
Generally, the inflorescences have pale yellow and purple flowers, which arise straight from rhizomes.
As to the aroma, ginger plants radiate the typical spicy fragrance of the spice – ginger.
The fragrance is strong enough to spread around the entire garden in no time.
Light and Temperature
This sun-and-moisture loving plant ideally grows during daytime temperatures between the range of 66° – 84° degrees Fahrenheit (19° – 29° C).
A lower temperature than this may result in dormancy.
When the plant is positioned in full sun or partial shade with well-drained and humus-rich soil, the plant flourishes best.
The plant also needs annual rainfall within the range of 4.5′ – 10′ feet.
A true ginger plant is also successfully cultivated in areas receiving less rainfall.
In such cases, the plant needs to be watered frequently.
Watering and Feeding
During the growing season, the herbaceous perennial needs to be watered often.
Botanists and zoologists encourage deep watering on a regular basis instead of shorter showers on a regular basis.
The ideal is to provide a ginger plant with at least one inch of water every week.
Zingiber officinale requires a lot of fertilizer since it is a heavy feeding plant.
A shovelful of manure needs to be applied to the plant twice a week; especially when the summer temperature rises.
Otherwise, provide an appropriate fertilizer to the plant every month or so.
Soil & Transplanting
Ginger plants are often transplanted when dividing the roots of an overcrowded plant garden or relocating the plant to a new place.
First of all, the soil surrounding the ginger plant needs to be loosened up with a spading fork.
Gently take the ginger rhizomes out of the soil.
If the plant is being divided, cut long pieces of the rhizomes, leaving the remaining plant in the ground.
Place the ginger plant in a partial to fully shaded garden bed and apply a double layer of compost over it.
Plant the rhizomes an inch apart from each other.
Water the soil thoroughly and layer it with some mulch to preserve the added moisture.
Grooming and Maintenance
As compared to other flowering plants, both edible and ornamental ginger plants do not require a lot of pruning.
However, they benefit from light pruning every now and then.
Ginger plant stems produce only one bloom before dying; pruning the dead blossom makes the plant look more beautiful.
Over time, the plant’s leaves may turn yellow or brown.
Prune the dead leaves to ensure the plant’s nutrients are directed toward its healthy parts.
Leaves with black or gray spots indicate diseases and thus need to be pruned off to avoid further weakening of the plant.
How to Propagate Ginger
Ginger plants are typically grown from rhizomes that are bought from any supermarket.
The best way to sprout ginger is by sowing rhizomes in a container in a warm region.
Please note gingers grown from rhizomes may take up to two years to fully grow.
Ginger Pests or Diseases
This plant species is prone to some of the most deadly plant diseases such as bacterial wilt, soft rot, blights, and dry rots.
Some common insect pests of ginger are white grub, shoot borer, and shoot boring weevil.
Hydrate and fertilize the plant well to manage these pests and diseases in ginger plants.
Providing adequate drainage and removing weeds periodically is also necessary to prevent these plants from getting ill and pest-infested.
Zingiber Officinale Uses
Ginger plants are prized for their remarkable traditional uses.
For example, they are used as a flavoring in many dishes like cakes, chutneys, curries, and candies, etc.
Ginger also boasts many medicinal properties.
The ginger extract from medicinal plants acts as an antiemetic as they help treat a wide variety of illnesses like morning sickness, high blood pressure, motion sickness, etc.
Fresh ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties since it is high in gingerol – a powerful, anti-inflammatory substance.
Ginger also comes in the form of essential oils.
These volatile oils stimulate hair growth and soothe dryness and itchiness.