How to Grow Curcuma Plants


Curcuma zedoaria, also called turmeric, belongs within the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It can act as a perennial or annual in the garden. The plant is grown throughout frost-free regions of the United States, as plants are frost-sensitive. Plants grow up to 6 feet in height and have lancelike foliage. The flowers are yellowish and trumpet-shaped. It spreads by underground rhizomes. Once plants mature, gardeners can dig up the finger-shaped rhizomes, dry them and use them as a culinary spice. Curcuma zedoaria works well planted directly into the garden or grown in containers.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Herbicide
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Shovel
  • Container
  • Potting mix
  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • Insecticidal soap
  • Fungicide
  • Plant Curcuma zedoaria in springtime when temperatures have warmed the soil and cold weather no longer threatens your region. Select a location in full to partial sun for best growth. Plant the rhizomes in rich, well-drained soil.

  • Remove any weeds from a planting site that is approximately 3 feet in diameter. Hand-pull, rake or spray the unwanted vegetation with a grass-killing herbicide.

  • Layer the top of the soil with 6 to 8 inches of compost or manure. Work the substance into the planting site approximately 6 to 8 inches.

  • Form a raised bed if your soil contains a lot of clay or retains too much water. Pile the garden soil up to approximately 1 foot in height. Amend with compost or manure to improve drainage.

  • Fill a 3-gallon, draining container with a rich, well-drained potting mix amended with a slow-release fertilizer, if growing Curcuma zedoaria in a container. Mix the fertilizer into the soil according to label directions. Plant one rhizome per container, approximately 2 to 3 inches deep into the soil and laying the rhizome sideways.

  • Plant the Curcuma zedoaria rhizomes into the outdoor planting site. Plant each rhizome 2 to 3 inches deep into the soil and lay it sideways. Space multiple rhizomes approximately 2 feet apart.

  • Water the planting site or container after planting. Saturate the soil thoroughly. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.

  • Treat pest problems such as aphids or red spider mites. Use a product such as insecticidal soap and spray the pests. Apply and mix the insecticide according to package directions.

  • Treat fungal problems by spraying the foliage with fungicide. Select a product safe for use on Curcuma zedoaria plants and apply according to package instructions.

  • Harvest the Curcuma zedoaria rhizomes in approximately nine months. Dig up the rhizome when the plant’s foliage begins yellowing and dying.

Tips & Warnings

  • To use the Curcuma zedoaria rhizomes as a spice, boil it after harvesting and allow it to completely dry. You can then grind the spice into a fine powder and store in an airtight container.
  • Spread manure or compost over the planting site’s soil approximately three months after planting. This adds more nutrients to the soil and promotes better growth.

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  • Photo Credit David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images
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