Learn How To Grow Krachai – an essential ingredient in Thai and Cambodian recipes. It is one of the rare herbs grown in Southeast Asia.
Growing Fingerroot is not a tough job if you know how to do it properly. Our guide on How To Grow Krachai will surely help you out!
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Krachai Plant Information
Also popular as Finger root, Kachai, Chinese keys, and Kunci, Krachai (Boesenbergia rotunda) is a relative of turmeric and ginger. Its rhizomes are used as a spice and give mild ginger and citrus-like flavor.
It grows slowly and reaches up to 2-4 feet in height. This plant looks like an Iris and produces beautiful pale pink blossoms. Unavailable fresh in most parts of the world, it makes a lot of sense to grow it in the garden.
According to research, the plant possesses anti-allergic, antibacterial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiulcer activities and has wound-healing properties. Its common phytochemical components include alkaloids, essential oils, flavonoids, and phenolics. This plant is rich in boesenbergin, krachaizin, panduratin, and pinostrobin, all of which have been reported to contribute to its remedial properties, including aphrodisiac properties.
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Krachai Growing Information
You can grow it similarly to the ginger plant. If you live in USDA Zone 9 and above or any other subtropical or tropical climates, you can easily grow Krachai as a perennial on the ground and in a container.
Cut the rhizomes (roots) into 1 to 2 inches sections and plant them in a well-draining potting mix. Cover with a thin layer, water well, and keep the pot in a warm area that gets at least 5 hours of bright indirect light. The shoots will emerge in 3-8 weeks.
If you are Growing Finger Root in Pots, then you can start the plant in a 14-18 inches container.
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Requirements for Growing Krachai
It would be a good idea to grow the plant at a spot that receives full sun but shade in the afternoon. For best tubers, the plant needs a minimum of 2-3 hours of bright sunlight every day.
For growing the Krachai plant, use well-draining, and sandy-loamy soil that is rich in compost or well-rotted cow manure. Soil that contains solid chunks blocks the root growth and traps moisture and must be avoided.
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The plant requires deep and regular watering as it prefers slightly moist soil. The best way to do this is by moistening the growing medium when the topsoil feels a little dry to the touch. Avoid letting the soil go completely dry.
This plant can’t tolerate drafts and cold temperatures. Take the plant indoors when the temperature starts to dip below the level of 50 F (10 C).
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Amend the soil with plenty of organic matter at the time of planting. You can top the pot with compost, worm castings, or well-rotted manure.
Alternatively, you can use a balanced liquid fertilizer, diluted to 1/2 of its strength, once in 4-6 weeks.
Pests and Disease
Be careful of white grub, shoot borer, and shoot boring weevil. To avoid most of the potential diseases, make sure it is never overwatered and receives 2-3 hours of direct sunlight.
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Harvesting & Uses
If you have want to Grow Finger Root from Tuber to Harvest, the plant will be ready within 7-10 months once the leaves start to become yellow. Turn the entire pot upside down, or use a mini shovel to loosen the topsoil. Once done, pull the plant out and snip away the tubers.
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Recipes with Krachai
Also known as lesser ginger, no one can replace it with ginger. You can relish it in recipes like Khanom jin, fish amok, and Khao Chae, a delicious summertime Thai dessert.