Ginger and turmeric are two closely related spice plants that can be readily grown throughout most of Florida. They belong to the Zingiberaceae family of plants that also contain cardamom. Both plants are widely used for culinary and medicinal purposes throughout the world.
Before growing any crop, it is helpful to know geographically where the plants originated. Such information informs the grower of the conditions the crop is most well-adapted. In the cases of ginger (Zingiber officinale)and turmeric (Curcuma longa) they both originated from humid tropical regions of southern and southeast Asia. While they are naturally adapted to tropical conditions, they will likely die back to the ground when freezing temperatures occur. Even though everything may appear dead above ground, these plants should come back about a month after the last chance of frost has passed.
Once shoots have emerged from the ground, they will grow to about four feet and remain clumped in the area they were planted. They can be grown in large pots or directly in the ground.
Ginger and turmeric grow best in well-drained loamy soils with a pH of around 5.5 to 6.5. They can be grown in full sun if irrigation is provided, however, they can also grow well in partly shaded locations. These plants are propagated not by seeds or cuttings, but rather through the underground modified stems called rhizomes. When choosing rhizomes, such as from a grocery store, choose firm, plump rhizomes free of mushy or dark brown spots. Plants can also be purchased at some local nurseries as well. The next to carefully choose when and where to plant your turmeric or ginger.