Plant Ginger

Ginger Plant Division : How to divide ginger plants

Ginger is a perennial herb that grows from rhizomes. Periodic separation of ginger will promote the growth of new plants and you can obtain new plants from divided rhizomes. Division of ginger plants should be done when a container is full or when the plants in the garden are at least 3 years old. You can use the rhizomes for flavour and tea, or you can replant them to develop additional plants for your garden or give them to a deserving family member or friend. The trick is to know when to split the ginger and how to do it without damaging the mother plant.

When to divide ginger

The culinary ginger we know and love comes from Zinginber officinale but there are ornamental gingers in the genera Hedychium and Turmeric which also produce beautiful flowers and attractive foliage. Most are native to tropical to subtropical regions and require well-drained soil, sunshine and warm temperatures. The rhizomes are the part of the plant that is divided to make new plants or simply to separate the old rhizomes from the new ones and increase growth.

The prevailing opinion on the separation of ginger indicates a division when the weather is warm but recent rains have occurred. Most redheads produce rhizomes on the first 3 or 4

cms (8 to 10 cm). Rhizomes are modified underground stems with growth nodes. It is from these growth nodes that new plant material will germinate. It is therefore the rhizomes that are harvested when the ginger plant is divided.

If you see many rhizomes growing on the soil surface, it is time to divide the plant. Dividing a ginger plant once this has been done will keep the plant healthy and allow you to harvest these rhizomes, either for culinary use as in the case of Zinginber or simply to create more plants.

How to divide ginger plants

Ginger has glorious leaves and flowers. It gives a tropical look inside the house if there is adequate lighting or as an outdoor plant. The growth of a ginger plant occurs mainly when temperatures are warm and a lot of moisture is available.

To separate the plant, it must be dug up carefully without damaging the rhizomes and roots. Use a sharp knife or a root saw and cut each rhizome. Check each rhizome for rot or insect damage. Discard damaged rhizomes.

Take the healthy rhizomes and select all those with at least several eyes or growth nodes. These will be the source of buds and new plant shoots. Making sure that each planted piece has many nodes is an insurance in case one of them does not germinate. You can also store the rhizomes in peat moss in a paper bag until planting conditions are favourable.

What to do after dividing the ginger plant

After being split, a ginger plant must have several viable and healthy roots or rhizomes. You can use some of them as kitchen flavouring or plant them immediately. In many regions it is best to start the plant in a container so that you can take it inside in case of a cold snap.

Use well-drained soil with lots of compost incorporated. Moisten the soil slightly and install each rhizome at least 3 cm (8 cm) below the soil surface, with most growth nodes pointing upwards. Keep the soil slightly moist but never wet.

If temperatures are at least 70 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 27 C.), rhizomes should germinate within a few weeks. You can move them into the soil once there are some real leaves, or grow them in the container.

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