The turmeric powder is a power house of nutrients, so it has many medicinal benefits. Have you ever tried your green thumb at growing the turmeric plant in pots? It is not difficult at all if you follow this step-by-step guide.
General requirements for growing the plant:
USDA Zones: 7b – 11, below these zones grow it from spring to fall
Difficulty of growing: easy-to-moderate
Soil pH value: slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil
The turmeric (aka Curcuma longa) is obtained from the underground tubers or rhizomes of the plant. Its origins are found in India, but it is now abundantly cultivated throughout the entire tropical Asia, and also in smaller amount in other subtropical and tropical parts of the world. Since the turmeric plant looks very attractively as well, you can grow it outdoors or indoors to get a tropical look in your garden or home.
1. Where to find the rhizome (or turmeric plant)
You may well know that the turmeric plant grows from the rhizomes like the ginger one. We recommend you to find fresh turmeric rhizome in organic food stores. You can also try searching for it in the local garden centers or seed stores. Finally, you can find a turmeric plant or rhizome online.
2. Choosing a good planter for your turmeric plant
For cultivating the turmeric in pots, you must choose larger ones as this amazing herb can easily exceed the height of 1 m. Pots should be at least 12 inches deep and 12-18 inches wide so that the plant can spread its tubers vigorously.
Note: Plant 1-2 rhizomes in such a pot.
3. The best season for planting the turmeric plant
The best season to plant the turmeric is the spring or summer season when the temperature stays above 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees F), but if you live in the tropics, it can be planted year round. After you have supplied the rhizome, follow the steps below for wise planting:
- Break large rhizome into smaller pieces – each one should have at least 2-3 buds.
- Fill a pot with rich organic soil that is moist and well-drained.
- Place it about 2 inches (5 cm) below the soil surface, with the buds facing up.
- Water the pot fully.
Specific requirements for growing the turmeric plant in containers
Due to their similarity, growing the turmeric is the same as growing the ginger. The plant requires warm and humid climate to thrive. If you live in a cool-temperate climate (or if you are short of space) and you want to grow your own turmeric rhizomes then learn How To Grow Turmeric In Pots:
The position of the pot must be such to provide a good shelter for the plant from strong winds. In tropics, the plant is grown in ‘dappled shade’ and does not tolerate all day-intense direct sun. Keep in mind this, place the turmeric plant in partial sun in the warmer zones (USDA Zone 9 and above). However, in temperate climates, provide it with full sun for optimum growth results. Some shade in the afternoon would suffice for good growth.
The turmeric should be planted in a light and loamy soil that is prolific in organic matters. So, use well-drained soil, or the plant will suffer with mal-growing.
Also, the watering routine for the turmeric plant is similar to the ginger one. Keep the soil moist throughout the growing season (from early spring to late fall) and do not hesitate to mist the foliage in dry weather to increase the humidity and warmth level around the plant.
Note: If you are growing turmeric in a warmer region, keep watering the plant to maintain moist soil in the upcoming winter as well.
The ideal temperature scale for growing the turmeric is somewhere between 20-350 C (68-950F). When the temperature drops below 100C (500F), the plant suffers.
Turmeric plant care
5. Overwintering the turmeric planted in pots
Potted turmeric must be moved inside even in a room’s low-light conditions. You have to ‘overwinter’ young plants to make them strong and resistant to diseases for the growing season. When you grow the turmeric indoors, it is important to maintain a constant ambient temperature of approximately 180C (640F).
6. Overwintering the turmeric grown on ground
If you are growing turmeric in a true tropical region, then you don’t need to freak about the winter season. Yet, in warm temperate zones (below USDA Zones 9b and down to 7) to overwinter your turmeric plants, you must reduce watering around the end of fall.
When the leaves begin to wilt and turn yellow due to the sudden temperature drop, cut the plant back to the ground so that it roots can hibernate. Don’t worry, it will perk up again in the spring.
Should you plant the turmeric in cooler areas (below zone 7), you have to dig up the rhizomes to save them from freezing. So, dig up the rhizomes and rinse off the excess soil from them, snapping off rotten pieces. Then, air-dry them, and store them in a cool and dry place until spring time arrives.
It is advisable to fertilize [that is feed] the turmeric plant with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer every month during the growing season. Application of manure or compost is also of help.
The turmeric plant should not be pruned! It will suffice if you only remove dried leaves from time to time.
9. Diseases and pests
The good news about the turmeric plant is that it is not inclined to serious diseases or pests. When it comes to diseases, it only suffers from rhizome rot and leaf spot. When it comes to pests, however, red spider mites and scales can become a bit of a problem. As with many other plants, rotting appears when the plant is grown in water-logged soil. So, it is important to grow your turmeric in a well-drained soil.
10. Harvesting of the turmeric plant
The turmeric plant takes about 8-10 months to grow mature. The plant-harvesting is done once the leaves become yellow, and stems start to naturally dry. Indeed, harvesting of the turmeric is not painstaking: just dig up the plant entirely, including its root parts. Next, cut the required amount, and then replant the remaining part again to get a new plant material for growing.
After you have cut the rhizome, follow the steps below to process it:
- Boil the rhizomes.
- Carefully remove the skin from rhizomes.
- Place the bare clean rhizomes in a tray.
- Dry them thoroughly by exposing them to direct full sunlight.
Once the rhizomes are dry, grind them finely, and store your homemade organic fresh turmeric powder in an air-tight container.
11. Turmeric uses and benefits
The organic turmeric powder has many medicinal assets that have long been used in both the ancient India and China. The turmeric is termed ‘super food’ because of its powerful natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
It is also used as an anti-depressant, and plays an important protective role against the Alzheimer’s disease, and including against different types of cancers. The turmeric powder is the most prominent ingredient in almost all kinds of curry recipes – a pinch of it is used to provide a pretty appetizing orange-red color. Its leaves are also culinary-useful. Its young shoots and flowers are used in Thai cuisines, while the leaves are used to give a slightly ‘peppery hot flavor’ of the fish dishes in Indonesia.
One ‘metabolic thing’ you probably did not know is that the addition of some pepper in turmeric dishes as it contains piperine, which helps in the absorption of turmeric. (Piperine is the chemical that gives black pepper its distinctive kick.) Especially, the black pepper, that can tenfold the benefits of turmeric.
Precaution: Yet, be careful with adding the black pepper in your dishes. If you suffer from hemorrhoids, this can actually prove ‘diabolic’ for you!
Other names for the turmeric plant are quite numerous:
Curcuma, Curcuma domestica, Curcuma aromatica, Curcumae longa, Curcumae Longae Rhizoma, Curcumin, Curcumine, Curcuminoid, Curcuminoïde, Curcuminoïdes, Curcuminoids, Halada, Haldi, Haridra, Indian Saffron, Nisha, Pian Jiang Huang, Racine de Curcuma, Radix Curcumae, Rajani, Rhizoma Cucurmae Longae, Safran Bourbon, Safran de Batallita, Safran des Indes, Turmeric Root, Yu Jin.
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