Growing Turmeric in Pots from Rhizomes, Seedlings

Growing Turmeric in Pots.
Growing Turmeric in Pots.

Introduction to growing Turmeric in pots: Turmeric is easy to grow in pots. It (Curcuma longa) is a tropical plant in the same family as ginger. As the Turmeric plant matures each stem sends up a spike of greenish-white and occasionally pink flowers. Like ginger, turmeric plant thrives in warm, humid conditions and well-drained, neutral soil. Turmeric has used in Ayurvedic medicine, which dates back thousands of years in India. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is obtained from either underground tubers or rhizomes. Originated in India, it is now cultivated throughout tropical Asia and a smaller extent in other subtropical and tropical parts of the world. Growing turmeric plant is easy as long as you can consistently monitor and water your rhizome. This shouldn’t be too tall of order since most of the growing procedure can take place indoors and doesn’t require sunlight. To grow turmeric, buy some turmeric rhizomes, plant them in smaller pots or planters, and then transfer them outside after 6 to 10 months before harvesting them. In this article we also discussed the following topics;

  • How long does it take turmeric to grow
  • Time to Plant Turmeric
  • Growing turmeric indoors
  • Turmeric plant care
  • Time to take turmeric to sprout

A step by step guide to growing Turmeric in pots

The turmeric plants grow 70 to 90 cm high and will slowly spread to form large clumps with underground rhizomes. The turmeric plants have broad green tropical-style leaves providing a beautiful view throughout the summer growing season. The plant produces very beautiful and attractive white flowers. The eating part of the turmeric plant is roots or rhizomes.

Choose a location for growing Turmeric in pots

Choose a location for growing turmeric that gets full to part sun. The soil must be organically rich, so add compost if necessary. This is a plant that survives monsoon seasons in its native lands, thus it loves humidity and thrives on moisture. Though the soil must drain well, or the roots will rot.

Find the rhizome or Turmeric plant

As you may already know, the turmeric plant grows from the rhizomes like ginger. The easiest method to find them is to search for fresh turmeric rhizome in organic food stores. And, try searching for it in the local garden center or seed store. Otherwise, you can find a turmeric plant or rhizome online.

Choosing a pot for growing Turmeric plant

For growing turmeric in pots, select a large pot as this amazing herb can easily exceed the height of 1 m. The pot should be at least 12 inches deep and 12 to 18 inches wide so that the plant can spread its tubers freely. Plant about 1 or 2 rhizomes in such a pot.

Process of growing Turmeric in pots

Position

The position should be sheltered from the wind. In tropics, the turmeric plant is grown in dappled shade and does not like all day long intense direct sun, considering this keeps the plant in partial sun in the warmer zones. Though in temperate climates, provide it full sun for optimum growth, some shade in the afternoon would be okay.

Process of Growing Turmeric.
Process of Growing Turmeric.
Soil requirement for growing Turmeric plant in pots

Plant turmeric in loamy soil that is rich in organic matters. Use well-drained soil otherwise, the turmeric plant will suffer. Turmeric plant prefers moist, but not soggy, soil. Rich humusy garden soil is ideal and average garden soil that’s been heavily amended with compost works well. Adding a balanced, slow-release fertilizer when you plant provides nutrients to support the substantial growth that plants produce each season. Note that fertilizers with lots of nitrogen can encourage foliage production at the expense of robust roots. For beds, mulch after the rhizomes have sprouted to maintain the soil cool and to reduce watering needs.

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You will want a 14 to 18-inch pot or planter for each 6 to 8 inches of the rhizome, and enough potting soil to fill it. It is more practical to sprout rhizomes in smaller containers and then transplant them into larger containers once they have a few leaves and are growing well.

The advantages of growing turmeric plants in containers are the plant can be moved in the sun; and also indoors if there is snow or frost. Another advantage of growing turmeric in pots is that you can grow turmeric plants if you live in an apartment and you don’t have a garden bed. In India and elsewhere, grow own organic turmeric in pots in balconies, verandas, terraces, backyards, front yards, and similar places. If you get the turmeric rhizomes, roots, tubes from a grocery store, then pick the rhizomes that look healthy, no sign of rot, no shriveled or dried out.

Process of growing turmeric in pots can be given below;

  • Cut your rhizomes into sections, with 2 or 3 buds on each section.
  • Fill about 3-inch pots halfway with good potting soil.
  • Put the rhizomes on the paper plate; keep it in the dry and warm area like on top of the kitchen countertop for 2 to 3 weeks until the new shoots formed on each rhizome’s eyes.
  • Once it has new shoots, prepare the 6 inches pots with good potting soil on it and put the turmeric one inch below the soil surface.
  • Lay the rhizome sections flat on the soil, and then cover with more potting soil.
  • Water the plant until it is just moist. Maintain the soil moist but don’t overwater it. Keep it in a warm place such as a windowsill. In about 2 weeks, there will be new leaves grow from the shoots.
  • Place the pots in the warmest place you can find (86 to 95 degrees is ideal). Sprouting at lower temperatures will be very slow and rhizomes may even rot rather than sprout. You can make a great germination chamber with a heating pad or a small desk lamp, and a thermometer. Also, you can buy a small germination chamber for home use. Light or no light is fine at this step.
Water requirement for growing Turmeric

Watering requirements for turmeric are similar to ginger. Maintain the soil moist throughout the growing season. If growing turmeric in a warmer region, keep watering the plant to keep moist soil in winters too.

The turmeric plants need consistently and adequately watering. Overwatering will slow down plant growth. The tips of the turmeric plant leaves will burn if the plant is in too much midday sun or if the soil becomes dry. If you are growing turmeric in a container, water only when you feel the soil slightly dries to the touch. And this will prevent leaching out of nutrients due to overwatering. If turmeric is grown in sandy soil or your plant is growing in dry low humidity area, water often or mist the leaves. In tropic regions, turmeric can be planted any time, but plant it in spring to summer.

Temperature for growing Turmeric plant

The ideal temperature range for growing turmeric is between 68 to 95°F (20-35°C). When the temperature drops below 50°F (10°C) the plant suffers.

Turmeric rhizome spacing

Plant turmeric roots 12 to 18 inches apart in beds and borders. In containers, you can plant more closely; three root sections usually do fine in a 14-18 inches pot, placed in a triangle pattern. Keep in mind that a small amount of soil supporting several plants can require supplemental nutrients. Liquid fertilizers that are rich in potassium and phosphorus can be used to support strong root growth, with a dilute mixture applied every 2 to 4 weeks.

Fertilizer for Turmeric plant

Fertilize your turmeric plants 4 to 5 times using a general-purpose vegetable and fruit fertilizer during the growing period. Fertilize turmeric plants with a general-purpose liquid fertilizer during the growing season every third week. If growing turmeric plant in a container, feeding with fertilizer will provide adequate nutrients to the plants. If the turmeric leaves becoming yellow or burns at the edges, it means that you are over-watering and signs of insufficient nutrients. Fertilize turmeric plant twice a month. Also, you can use organic fertilizer or make your own compost.

Caring your Turmeric plants

Keep things light and warm

Check on pots every few days and once the sprouts start to emerge, move the pots to a windowsill or under a grow light. Unless your house is really warm that is the optimal growing temperature at this stage is 77 to 86 degrees you will want to put them on a heat mat set to the low 80s. As the turmeric plants outgrow their plastic covers, remove them.

Water as needed

Once you open the mini-greenhouses you will want to start watering your turmeric as needed; maintain the soil moist, but not soggy, and mist the leaves once or twice a day with water to keep the humidity up. Allowing the soil to dry out at any point will reduce the final harvest.

Transplant to larger pots

When your turmeric plants are 6 to 8 inches tall, carefully transplant them into larger pots (either the final ones or an intermediate size) full of potting soil. And begin turning the heat mat down several degrees each week until you hit 70 degrees. At this point, you can remove the heat mat as long as indoor temperature averages at about 68 degrees. Otherwise, you continue using the heat mat. Turmeric is long-season plants so if you garden in a short-season region, consider pre-sprouting your turmeric indoors. The roots can take up to 8 weeks to break dormancy, sprout, and begin to grow.

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Move plants outside

Move your turmeric outside once all chance of frost is past when the forecast shows warm nights ahead. Provide partial shade for the first few days to keep tender plant leaves from getting sunburned. Continue to water as required during the summer and fall to keep the soil moist but not soggy.

Pests and diseases of Turmeric plants

The turmeric plant is not prone to any serious disease and pests. Though, red spider mites and scales can become a problem. In diseases, it suffers from rhizome rot and leaf spot. Rot appears when the turmeric plant is grown in waterlogged soil. So, it is important to grow turmeric in well-drained soil.

Harvesting time for Turmeric

One downside to growing turmeric is it takes about 8 to 10 months to mature. Also, it is best to harvest the root in one entire piece. It is best to maintain several plants, started at different times of the year then that you have a continuous supply of turmeric root.

Once established, you can harvest pieces of the root off the side of the turmeric plant throughout summer. In late autumn or early winter, once the plant leaves have died down, push a fork deep into the ground under a section of the plant and lift the rhizomes. Cut the stems off and put the rhizomes on a hessian sack. And give them a good wash with a hose on a high-pressure setting, turning and rubbing to remove all the soil. They will keep, refrigerated, for 3 to 4 weeks. If you want to keep them longer, cut into manageable pieces, and freeze in an air-tight container.

How to store fresh Turmeric

Wipe fresh turmeric roots and wrap in a paper towel and then place it in a zip-lock plastic bag. Place in refrigerator. This way it will remain fresh for 3 to 4 weeks. To use, cut the needed piece, and then refrigerate again. For longer storage, slice, wrap and then freeze for up to two months.

Blend turmeric rhizomes with water and freeze in ice cube containers. Peel the rhizomes and put them in a jar with vodka and store in the fridge for at least a year. Peel the turmeric root and place it in honey for at least a year. And freezing turmeric retains the texture, color, and flavor. However, frozen turmeric is dried out if not properly packed.

Frequently asked questions about growing turmeric

Is Turmeric annual or perennial?

Turmeric is a perennial that is grown as a root crop, used as an herb, and not an easy plant to grow in most areas. And it requires warm temperate climates at the very least USDA zone 9 or warmer.

Can you use Turmeric leaves?

Fresh turmeric plant leaves are used whole in select dishes and dried turmeric leaves soaked in water with the extract used in cooking. Turmeric leaves are used as a food coloring and as a basic ingredient in curry powders. Leaves are purported to improve digestion and reduce gas and bloating.

Why is my Turmeric turning yellow?

Yellowing of plant leaves and drying of stems is a sign of mature turmeric plant. Dig the turmeric plant carefully from the sides of the clump, remove the rhizomes, and remove the mud and other material adhering to the rhizomes.

Which country is the largest producer of Turmeric?

India is the largest producer and exporter of turmeric in the world and it is best in the world market because of its high curcumin content. India accounts for approximately 80 percent of world turmeric production and 60 percent of world exports.

Should you cut yellow leaves off Turmeric plants?

To promote growth and deter mold and pests such as fungus gnats, it is sometimes essential to trim and remove dead or dying leaves from your plant. This helps the plant send energy to the healthiest leaves, as yellow and brown crispy plant leaves will not turn green again.

Should you cut off damaged Turmeric leaves?

Dead or misshaped turmeric leaves can also ruin the look of a houseplant. You can cut out damaged plant leaves along with misplaced plant shoots. If the dead plant leaves are located at the top of the shoot, you will best remove them by using sharp scissors and cutting the stem back to its base.

Where to plant Turmeric?

Turmeric plant thrives best in the direct or indirect sun, but it also grows in light shade. While heavy shade for prolong time will reduce the yield. If grown in full sun, maintain the soil wet at all the time.

Can I use this information for the terrace garden and indoor garden?

Yes, indeed you can use this information for growing turmeric indoors, balcony, raised beds, terrace, and even in the backyard.

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