Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is an ancient plant species that has been harvested for millennia for not only medicinal uses but in many Asian cuisines as well. It is a tropical/subtropical plant that grows in rich soil in warm regions with high humidity. To grow ginger, these conditions need to mimic those where it grows naturally, but what about hydroponic ginger plants? Can you grow ginger in water? Keep reading to find out about rooting and growing ginger in water.
Does Ginger Grow in Water?
Ginger is inappropriately called ginger root, but what is actually used is the rhizome of the plant. From the rhizome, spring upright, grass-like leaves. As the plant grows, new rhizomes are produced.
As mentioned, usually the plant is cultivated in soil, but can you grow ginger in water? Yes, ginger does grow in water. In fact, growing ginger in water has advantages over traditional cultivation. Growing hydroponic ginger plants takes less maintenance and less space.
How to Grow Ginger Hydroponically
To start, you will not be rooting the ginger in water. Although for the majority of the plant’s life, it will be grown hydroponically, it is best to root a piece of the rhizome in compost first and then move it to a hydroponic system later.
Cut a rhizome into several pieces with a bud on each. Why several? It’s a good idea to plant several to ensure germination. Fill a pot with compost and plant the pieces about an inch (2.5 cm.) deep into the soil. Water the pot well and on a regular basis.
Prepare your hydroponic system to receive the ginger plants. They need about 1 square foot (929 sq. cm.) of growing room per plant. The tray you will be placing the plants in should be between 4 and 6 inches (10-15 cm.) deep.
Continue to check to see if the rhizomes have germinated. When they have produced stems and some leaves, remove the strongest plants from the soil and rinse off their roots.
Place 2 inches (5 cm.) of growing medium into the hydroponic container, place the new ginger plants atop the medium and spread out the roots. Keep the plants spaced about a foot (31 cm.) apart. Pour in growing medium to cover the roots to anchor the plants in place.
Hook up the hydroponic system to water and feed the plants about every two hours using a standard hydroponic nutrient solution. Keep the pH of the fluid between 5.5 and 8.0. Give the plants about 18 hours of light per day, allowing them to rest for eight hours.
Within about four months, the plants will have produced rhizomes and can be harvested. Harvest the rhizomes, wash and dry them, and store them in a cool, dry area.
Note: It is also possible to stick a slightly rooted piece of rhizome into a cup or container of water. It will continue to grow and produce leaves. Change out the water as needed.