Native to China
Ginger, or Zingiber Officinale, is more than just a lovely flower. The English name for ginger comes from the French, gingembre, but the actual origin is Tamil. Ginger had its origin in China. The ancient Romans considered ginger to be a very valuable plant and it was traded at one pound being the equivalent of a whole sheep. This plant grows in hot humid climates and is often used in cooking various Asian stir fry dishes. The blossoms display in clusters of white and pink flowers that change to yellow and white as they mature. These blooms are a pretty addition to the garden, but they must be grown in a hot moist climate or brought indoors for the winter.
It is the rhizome, often referred to as the root, which most people associate with the ginger plant. This multi-use fleshy rhizome is used for cooking and drinks, such as ginger ale. It is also a tasty ingredient to use for an array of desserts, such as gingerbread, cakes, cookies and candies. The oil is a popular ingredient in soaps and body lotions or other personal hygiene products. The biggest surprise is that the ginger rhizome has many medical uses as well. Some research suggests that ginger is useful for arthritis, blood thinning and even for heart disease. Other research suggests that ginger can be used to help the common cold, to relieve pain and to ease nausea. It has even been used to prevent or relieve morning sickness in pregnant women. Ginger has also shown promise in lowering blood sugar levels in diabetics.
Growing Recommendations - Ginger
Ginger needs hot moist climates to grow properly, but you can grow ginger in a pot if you bring the plant inside during cooler months of the year. The rhizomes can be purchased in a grocery store. The large fleshy root-like part of the ginger plant is referred to as a “hand.” When you buy your ginger hand, look for one that has many growths that can be broken off and planted separately. Be sure that the rhizome is plump and fresh, not dried out or old looking. Soaking the plant over night will prepare it for the pot, but make sure that all cut surfaces dry out before you put it in the pot. Standard potting soil can be used. It is important to select a pot that is at least two times the diameter as the length of the root. Make certain that you have good drainage and also water it well. Planting the ginger in the late winter or early spring is best. If you live in a dry climate, you may have to mist the plants to keep them happy. If you plan to harvest your ginger and use it in the kitchen, the plant will peak only after about two hundred and sixty-five days of growth. You can harvest the plant after the vegetation dies back.