Can ginger be grown from store bought Roots?


So, you want to grow your ginger because the cost of store-bought ginger is prohibitive, and the plants at the local nursery are also costly.

The cheapest, most cost-effective solution to your problem is using ginger rhizomes that you can buy from grocery stores. Yes, that’s right. You can grow store-bought ginger roots very easily.

Store-bought ginger rhizomes or roots can be a great way to start growing this wonderful spice. It will grow from the ginger rhizome you have bought with little trouble if you follow some straightforward guidelines that we go into below.

How to pick the best ginger root to propagate.

Ginger grows from rhizomes (often called roots). The ginger rhizome is a clump of connected sections that can be pulled apart, and each piece will have a node similar to how a potato has eyes. Each node should grow a shoot if the conditions are right. But first, let’s get some good ginger.

How do you pick good store bought ginger?

Follow these 5 simple steps to getting the best ginger.

  1. Select the fattest ginger in the store.
  2. Avoid dry shriveled ginger rhizomes.
  3. Choose organic ginger if available.
  4. Check for slices on the root. Avoid them if the growth nodes are cut off.
  5. Check for a full jacket of skin on the rhizome.

To grow store-bought ginger, we need to start with good stock, so pick a root that is full/plump and has skin on it. If organic is available, get that one.

We say this because the non-organic can be challenging to sprout if chemicals have been used to stop it from shooting. Depending on the situation, this is sometimes done with organic as well.

Old ginger will be a little shriveled. It’s best to avoid this sort.

Be vigilant in picking the best gingers with small nodes on the rhizome, and the way to make sure your gingers are viable is to check the rhizome for a full jacket of skin.

We suggest the full skin because this is the surest method of getting ginger rhizomes with viable growth nodes. Scrubbed ginger rhizomes could have nodes damaged or removed.

These rhizomes “might” still sprout but why take the chance if there are better options.

If there are slices along sections, the nodes may have been removed by someone who would rather you buy the ginger and not grow your own. Get good, firm, fresh ginger, and you are on the way to having a supply for as long as you want.

What method is best to grow store bought ginger?

To begin, let’s wash the ginger. This will help remove any treatments that can retard the shooting of the ginger. If the ginger has been imported into your country, the ginger may have been fumigated as well, even organic.

A good wash is important. Now that is out of the way, what method of starting your store-bought ginger is best?

No method works better than any other with store-bought ginger roots, but simply burying the rhizome 2 inches (50mm) deep in good quality growing medium with a slow-release natural fertilizer will get you started.

Some people like leaving the rhizomes on the bench until they start to shoot, which is fine if the temperature is above 10C. Ginger loves moist conditions but don’t take that to mean soaking it in water for too long because it will probably rot.

If you are in cold country and spring is close, assuming you can get the ginger in this case, you can start the ginger off with a clear bag or container over the pot that you have planted the rhizome in, and if you can keep it warm, it may start shooting earlier for you.

We are fortunate that ginger grows wild where we live, and the rhizomes start sprouting about November at the start of our hot summer.

We plant them in the ground as they shoot or have already planted them straight in the garden before they shoot. It doesn’t matter. We prepare the soil beforehand and cover it all with mulch. “Growing lots of ginger, is this the best mulch?” is our best result to date, and it explains the whole process.

ginger root
There are at least 5 ginger plants in this rhizome waiting to grow.

The ginger will be fine if the ground is warm and moist (not soaking). If you use pots or tubs like in a balcony herb garden, fill the growing container with a fertile growing medium that will retain moisture without becoming waterlogged.

Waterlogging will rot the ginger, and it will fail. There is a method of growing ginger where there is a larger than average chance of the rhizome rotting, and that is in an aquaponics system. We detail the things to keep an eye on in “will ginger grow in aquaponics systems?”.

Is growing ginger cheaper than store bought?

It is cheaper. Once you have an established plot with your ginger growing, the cost to produce ginger can be zero if you can make your compost.

It is a good feeling when you walk past the ginger in the store, knowing that the days of buying store-bought ginger are behind you.

The savings can be substantial if you use lots of ginger, and why wouldn’t you if you have plenty growing? It is comforting to have a pantry stocked with dried powdered ginger, candied ginger, and ginger cordial, all made with homegrown roots from the backyard garden.

It is all about self-sufficiency, which is achievable with ginger for most people.

Will store bought ginger sprout easily?

If the recommendations above are followed, it will sprout easily. If store-bought ginger is in good condition with a whole skin jacket and growth nodes showing, it will almost always grow when the temperatures get high enough and the humidity picks up.

The one trick to look out for when you grow store-bought ginger is to remove any chemical residues by washing gently, then letting it sit. It will likely sprout when it is ready.

Does store bought ginger root need to sprout indoors?

Not at all. Store bought ginger can be planted in the garden as soon as you get home and rinse the roots down as we mentioned above. It will sprout in the garden bed like normal ginger does, in the right season.

This will depend on where you live, naturally.

If it is cold out, then starting the ginger inside makes sense, but if the temperatures are above 10C (50F) and winter is behind you, nothing is stopping you from planting the ginger right in the spot you have prepared in the backyard garden.

Does store bought ginger need special care after sprouting?

Caring for your ginger rhizome after it has sprouted is simple and has no special requirements. If you have sprouted the ginger indoors, it is time to plant it in the garden or a pot.

Take care handling the young shoots, as they can be easily knocked from the rhizome lump and that growth node is not suitable anymore. There may be other nodes that can shoot, so don’t throw it away.

Plant it as described above and keep it moist, and if it is going to grow, it will. Cover the entire rhizome leaving only the shoot poking out of the soil. Water it in and leave it be. We are taking it for granted that you are in a warmer climate, but if not, “what environment is best for growing ginger?” is for you.

To get some idea on how much ginger you can expect when growing store bought ginger rhizomes, “How much ginger can one plant produce?” will fill in the gaps for you.

Maintain the watering without drowning it and you can be assured that your first ginger crop is on the way.

Can ginger regrow from roots? (Not rhizomes)

This may seem a bit of a silly question because of the confusion between root and rhizome. When you harvest ginger from the garden, rhizomes are the target crop, and roots help the plant take up nutrients as required assuming healthy soil.

Can ginger regrow from roots? No, it is doubtful that a new plant will grow from any roots left in the garden after harvesting the rhizomes. This question can apply to ginger grown in an aquaponics setup where the roots can sometimes be left in the growing medium. Will ginger grow in aquaponics systems? explains more.

A related question would be does ginger grow back, and the same answer is applicable. It will grow from rhizomes but not from roots. There is a variety of gingers that can grow from sections of the stalks, and this plant is the spiral ginger.

While it isn’t growing from the roots that are left in the ground, it is an unusual way of growing for a ginger. This plant is not harvested for rhizomes anyway as it is more of an ornamental plant.

Some ornamental gingers are invasive, and some parts of these plants will regrow from cuttings and larger root sections. This article titled “are ornamental gingers invasive?” gives more details if you need more info.

Generally speaking, the edible group of gingers are not aggressive growers, and leaving roots in the ground is a great way to add carbon to the soil. We work on adding carbon and organic matter whenever possible, as it is our foundation for self-sufficiency in fruit and most vegetables here at home.

There are plants we grow where we try to remove the roots because of the plant’s ability to sprout from tine sections of root. The best example is the sweet potato, and we have raised garden beds where we still get sprouts two seasons later.

It doesn’t matter how well you care for a ginger plant; this simple truth remains. To grow edible gingers, you need a fresh, healthy rhizome with growth nodes still attached, or for some ginger varieties, some viable seeds. Leaving roots in the garden and hoping for them to re-grow won’t work out for you.

What we do know from personal observation is that worms seem to be very active around ginger roots and rhizomes, so it stands to reason that leaving them in the soil is a net positive. It works for us. Just don’t expect new plants next season.

Final thoughts.

We grow a lot of ginger in our yard and rarely have any difficulties with it. We have spots in the garden where the ginger is 3-4 years old in the ground and has never been lifted.

When we first planted ginger, we started with organic store-bought ginger. We bought 1 kilogram from Aldi. Don’t stop with just ginger, though, because turmeric can be grown this way as well. “Can ginger and turmeric be grown together?” details the opportunity.

We bought the 1 kg of ginger 7-8 years ago, and since then, we have grown and harvested over 100 kilograms from the yard, and there are probably 50kilos or more in the ground if we add it all up.

We don’t tell you this to brag but to give you an example of what can be done with just a single kilogram of store-bought ginger root.

Article by Tim Blanch for He is a qualified Permaculture designer.