Growing ginger hydroponically: What you need to know

Ginger is a well-known and loved plant, whether used in the kitchen for spice, flavor, or medicinal purposes. The stems of the root can grow up to 3 feet high, and the leaves can grow to be up to 12 inches long. Like a lot of ground-grown food products, many people will ask about sprouted ginger and hydroponic ginger. Is it safe? Can it be done? And if so, how can I do it?

Cut-up ginger on a table
Joseph Mucira/Pixabay

Is it safe to eat sprouted ginger?

Sprouting ginger doesn’t produce toxins the way sprouted potatoes do, but it also doesn’t offer the same nutritional value as fresh ginger. This is because bud growth causes the ginger to wilt and dry out. So although you can eat it, it’s not nutritionally beneficial to your diet. As it ages and shrivels, ginger also starts to have less flavor. For that reason, many people will get rid of or plant their ginger once it starts to sprout instead of opting to cook with it or eat it.

That said, if you’d like to (say you bought some ginger from the store and it sprouted fast, but you don’t want to go buy another), you absolutely can! It won’t be the end of the world — just maybe a less-flavorful dish.

Can I plant a sprouted ginger root?

Sprouted ginger is, in fact, one of the most ideal times to plant the ginger! Ginger that’s planted after having already sprouted is said to have a plentiful harvest. You’ll want to cut it into roughly 2-inch pieces before planting so that each individual piece has a couple of eyes it can grow from. The sprouted ginger will give you more ginger to plant and grow, thus resulting in more ginger to harvest.

Freshly harvested ginger
Poring Studio/Shutterstock

Should I soak ginger before planting?

It’s never a bad idea to soak your ginger in warm water overnight before planting, especially if you bought it from the store. Store-bought ginger has the potential to have a growth-stunter on it, and you’ll want it to get thoroughly washed off before you plant it. It won’t cause any harm and will in fact help prepare it for planting.

When can you start growing hydroponically?

If you’ve recently started a hydroponic garden, you may have been itching to include ginger in it. However, unlike some other plants, it isn’t recommended to grow ginger hydroponically in the beginning stages (although, in the long run, hydroponically grown ginger will take up less space and require less maintenance). Ginger won’t root well in water and will do best if it can take root in soil or compost prior to transplanting it to hydroponic growth, as that will allow the roots to grow and thrive.

Once the ginger has rooted and started to grow, you’ll want to move it to your hydroponic system. So, be sure it’s prepared! Each ginger plant will need roughly 1 square foot of growing space each (essentially placing the plants a foot apart). Your harvest should be ready in at least four months — though soil-grown ginger can take up to 10 months to be harvested, so there’s no harm in waiting a bit longer — at which point you can keep as much ginger as you want and begin the growth process again.

Can you grow ginger from Ginger?

In short, yes. Ginger is indeed grown from ginger. The pieces that you buy at the store are the part of the plant that’s both harvested and replanted for new crops. Many gardeners are very selective when they grow ginger, paying attention to ones that have better growing buds than others and keeping the rest to use in the kitchen or for medicinal purposes.

That is what’s happening when a ginger sprouts, too. It’s beginning its growth process, and sprouted ginger can be said to be the best to plant. If you’re growing hydroponically, you’ll be able to see the ginger root grow, along with the rest of the plant.

Growing ginger can be a good way to replenish your own supply and feel fulfilled while doing it. Although you’ll need to root the plant in some form of soil or compost, hydroponic ginger is a good space-saver and can make harvesting your crop much easier.

Editors' Recommendations