Turmeric is a superfood and has many medicinal properties. If you want to reap its true benefits, plant it in your home by Growing Turmeric in Pots!
Turmeric is a golden spice with a warm, bitter taste and a slight mustard aroma but incomparable to anything. It is also known as Indian saffron due to its yellow color and has a long history of medicinal as well as culinary uses in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, and many other Asian countries.
USDA Zones— 7b – 11, below these zones grow it from spring to fall
Difficulty— Easy to Moderate
Other Names— Curcuma, Curcuma aromatica, Curcuma domestica, Curcumae longa, Curcumae Longae Rhizoma, Curcumin, Curcumine, Curcuminoid, Curcuminoïde, Curcuminoïdes, Curcuminoids, Halada, Haldi, Haridra, Indian Saffron.
Soil pH— Slightly acidic, neutral to slightly alkaline soil
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What is Turmeric?
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is obtained from underground tubers or rhizomes. Originated in India, it is now cultivated throughout tropical Asia and, to a smaller extent, in other subtropical and tropical parts of the world.
You can grow this plant indoors, near a bright window, porch, patio, or balcony. Outdoors, you can plant it in your garden beds in a shady spot or under the shrubs to get a tropical look in your garden, along with flowers that come in white, red, pink, yellow, and red-maroon colors!
Why Should You Grow Your Own Turmeric?
Because of excessive commercialization, most turmeric products are adulterated or sold in inferior quality, which is why it’s a clever idea to grow your own. For this, you don’t need much, just a place with part sun, a few pots, and this mini-guide on Growing Turmeric in Pots and its Care.
Where to Find the Rhizome or Turmeric Plant?
As you may already know, turmeric grows from the rhizomes like ginger. The easiest way to find them is to search for fresh turmeric rhizomes in organic food stores.
Also, try searching for it in the local garden center or seed store. Alternatively, you can find a turmeric plant or rhizome online.
Want to grow ginger in pots? Click here
Best Pot Size for Turmeric Plant
For growing turmeric in pots, choose a large pot as this wonderful plant can easily exceed the height of 1 meter. The pot should be at least 10-14 inches deep and 12-18 inches wide so that the plant can spread itself freely. Plant 1 or 2 rhizomes in such a pot.
You can also use wine or whiskey barrels.
Check out our article to know about the best spices you can grow in pots here
The best season to plant turmeric is spring or summer, when the temperature starts to stay above 54 F (12 C), but if you are living in a subtropical or tropical climate, it can be planted throughout the year (in pots). After you have got the rhizome, follow the steps below for planting:
- Break large rhizomes into small pieces; each one should have at least two or three buds.
- Fill a pot with rich organic soil that is pre-moistened and well-drained.
- Place it about 1 or 2 inches (4-5 cm) below the soil surface, with the buds facing up.
Best Turmeric Varieties to Grow
You can grow any type of turmeric you want, but ‘Hawaiian Red,’ ‘Indira Yellow,’ and ‘White Mango‘ are the best ones you can grow in pots. They are easy to maintain and offer a good harvest.
Requirements for Growing Turmeric in Containers
Growing turmeric is a lot similar to ginger. It requires a warm and humid climate to perform well. If you live in a cool temperate climate or if you’re short of space and want to grow your own turmeric rhizomes, then growing turmeric in pots is the only option you have.
Being native to India, turmeric requires a warm climate with 8 to 10 months of frost-free growing. The more partial light it gets, the better it is for growth. Keep the plant safe from prolonged exposure to harsh afternoon sunlight.
If you live in USDA zones 8b and higher, then grow it outside without any worries. Below that, harvest it before the first frost.
Plant turmeric in loamy soil that is rich in organic matter. Make a mix of 70% quality garden soil and 30% compost or manure for the best growth. Adding organic content like aged cow manure to the growing medium will boost the development of the plant.
Watering requirements are similar to ginger. Keep the soil moist throughout the growing season from spring to fall, and do not hesitate to mist the foliage in dry weather to increase the humidity level around the plant. You can also group it with other plants to create a microclimate.
While growing turmeric in a warmer region, keep watering the plant to maintain evenly moist soil in winter too.
The ideal temperature range for growing turmeric is between 68-95 F (20-35 C). When the temperature drops below 50 F (10 C), the plant suffers.
Turmeric Plant Care
Fertilize turmeric in pots every month with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer during the growing season. Dilute it to 1/4 of its strength. The side dressing of manure or compost also helps. You can also use kelp and neem cake meals.
Alternatively, you can also use a 4-6-4 blend diluted to half of its strength.
The turmeric plant should not be pruned. It is sufficient if you remove dried leaves from time to time.
Since you are growing turmeric in a pot, move the plant inside, even in low-light conditions. Because you have to only overwinter the roots. It is important that when you grow turmeric indoors, maintain a minimum temperature of around 60-64 F (15-18 C). At this time, you can harvest it as well. To learn more, read the harvest section below.
Overwintering Turmeric on the Ground
If you’re growing turmeric in a true tropical climate, then you don’t need to care about winter. But in warm temperate zones (below USDA Zones 9b and down to 7), to overwinter your turmeric plants, reduce watering around the end of fall, and when the leaves begin to wilt and turn yellow due to temperature drop, cut the plant back to the ground so that it can hibernate. It will perk up again in the spring.
If you want to grow turmeric in cooler areas (below zone 7), then you have to dig up the rhizomes to save them from freezing. For this, dig up the rhizomes and rinse off excess soil from them, snap off rotting pieces. Air-dry them and store them in a cool and dry place until spring.
Pests and Diseases
The turmeric plant is not prone to any serious pest problems. However, red spider mites and scales hurt it.
In diseases, it only suffers from rhizome rot and leaf spot. Rot appears when the plant is grown in waterlogged soil. Therefore, it is important to grow turmeric in well-drained soil with ample drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
When Growing Turmeric in Pots, it will take 8 to 10 months to mature. Harvesting is done once the leaves turn yellow and the stem starts to dry. Harvesting turmeric is not difficult; simply dig up the plant entirely, including the roots.
Cut the required amount and then replant the remaining part again to get a new plant growing. After you cut the rhizome, follow the steps below to process it:
- Boil the rhizomes.
- Carefully remove the skin from rhizomes.
- Place the bare rhizomes in a tray.
- Dry them by exposing them to sunlight.
- You can also use the rhizomes fresh in salad dressing or to make pickles.
When the rhizomes are dry, grind them and store your homemade organic fresh turmeric powder in an airtight container.
Turmeric Uses and Benefits
Turmeric powder has many medicinal properties that have long been known in India and China. Turmeric is termed as a ‘Super Food,’ probably the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It is used as an anti-depressant and plays a protective role against Alzheimer’s disease and against various types of cancers. Surprisingly, it’s been proven in many studies that consuming turmeric daily lower the chance of cancer.
Turmeric powder is the most prominent ingredient in almost all kinds of curry recipes; a pinch of it is used to provide pretty orange color. Its leaves are also useful. Young shoots and flowers are used in Thai cuisines, while the leaves are used to flavor the fish in Indonesia. You can also use turmeric in your garden.
One thing you did not know and surprise you is the addition of pepper to a diet, as it contains piperine that helps in the absorption of turmeric. Especially black pepper, which can multiply the benefits of this superfood.