EXTENSION VEGETABLE CR*Ps HUME
S "MISCELLANEOUS lHEO riEPOCR L3 A GIST,
JUL 11 1972
GROWING GINGER IN FLORIDA
Prepared by .AS. UniV. Of Florida
James M. StephensS.Univ. Floor
Assistant Vegetable Crops Specialist
Florida Agricultural Extension Service
Ginger, Zingiber officinale R., is a perennial plant, the underground
rhizomes of which are used as a flavoring agent in cooking. It has been
grown for centuries on the Caribbean Islands and. in China where it is used
locally for medicine and as well as in cooking. It is marketed in
U. S. mostly in a powdered and candied state. Ginger was grown experi-
mentally at Homestead and at Gainesville in 1944. It produced a heavy
crop of rhizomes (roots) at Homestead; from each piece planted, thirty
were produced. At Gainesville, it persisted for two years, coming up
each spring with return of warm weather. Thus, it appears it can be grown
throughout Florida in home gardens for home use.
True ginger is often confused with close relatives grown as ornamentals
in Florida. Plants of the genus Alpinia growing throughout the state are
probably mistaken for ginger more than any other group. There is even a
slight ginger aroma to the freshly cut rhizomes of the Alpinias, and the
stalks and leaves are very similar to the true ginger when viewed from a
short distance. Ginger can be easily distinguished by its shorter stalks.
When grown in open sun, it grows poorly and develops brown-tipped leaves.
Ginger has narrow leaf blades, yellow-green flowers with purple lips
growing in dense spikes, and produces plump, strongly-aromatic rhizomes.
Location--Ginger does best in partial to complete shade; in full sun,
the leaves are brown-tipped and the plants grow poorly.
Soil--Most good garden soils, including sands, if sufficiently
supplied with nutrients and moisture, are adequate for growing ginger.
On the rockland at Homestead, a special box for growing ginger was constructed.
It was eight inches deep and contained a mixture of sand, clay, and cow
Seed--Ginger is started from rhizome (root) cuttings rather than seed.
It seems best to cut the rhizomes into pieces 1 to 1 inches long, each
containing at least one eye. Cut the rhizome pieces a few days ahead of
planting to allow the cut surfaces to dry, reducing chances of rotting.
Planting--In a well-prepared bed, insert each piece and cover with
about one inch of soil. Space them fifteen inches in the row and fifteen
inches between the rows. Early in the spring is best time to plant.
Fertilizing--In addition to animal manure or plant compost which
might be used in the soil, an application of fertilizer at the rate
of one-quarter pound per plant (1 pound per 10 square feet) of 4-7-5
should be made at planting time. It may be placed in a ring 4 inches
out from the rhizome seed-piece, or scattered evenly over the area
and worked-well into the soil.
As they grow through the summer months, they should be provided
with three additional applications (similar to above) at about forty-
five day intervals.
Harvesting--The rhizomes should be harvested in the fall when the tops
die down. Spread them out to dry in a dry, shady place.
Insects and diseases--Ginger appears to be relatively free from
insect and disease pests.
Source of planting material--Ginger rhizomes (root pieces) are not
normally carried by local or northern seed supply companies. The Florida
State Department of Agriculture's "Florida Market Bulletin" does some-
times list ginger roots for sale from home gardeners in the state.
Reference--Much of the information reported here comes from Florida
Experiment Station Press Bulletin 601, "Ginger Growing in Florida,"
by S. J. Lynch and R. J. Wilmot.