Apartment plants

Ginger - Zingiber spectabile

Ginger - Zingiber spectabile

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The ginger plant is native to East Asia, but has been used in Europe for medicinal purposes since ancient times. The rhizomatous root can be preserved for a long time if dried and reduced to powder; the best of itself gives it fresh. It is for this reason that in recent years interest in its cultivation has increased exponentially, even at a hobby level. On the other hand, obtaining good results, especially in pots, is not particularly difficult and the plant also has a certain ornamental value.
Zingiber spectabile, better known as ginger, is an evergreen perennial plant, with rhizomatous roots, originating in Malaysia; it belongs to the same genus as Zingiber officinalis, an aromatic and edible plant. Zingiber spectabile forms large clumps of long light green ribbon-like leaves; the tufts tend to widen a lot, reaching a height close to 50 cm and equal width, developing fleshy roots, of rhizomatous type. In the summer period from the base of the leaves grow squat stems, erect, which bear a club-like inflorescence, consisting of fleshy green bracts, which over time become yellow, red or orange.
Among the bracts small white flowers bloom, streaked with purple or purple, in succession, reminiscent of small insects, from this particularity derives the name of the flower in English language, hive flower.
These plants are grown in pots, where they remain fairly small, even if the inflorescences can easily reach 45-50 cm in height; the whole plant is very aromatic, and gives off an intense scent of ginger. Ginger inflorescences can be used as cut flowers.

Origins and description

Ginger used in cooking and herbal medicine, is a plant called Zingiber officinale, belonging to the Zinberaceae family. It is a herbaceous plant composed of a rhizomatous root that develops horizontally just below the ground level (such as the iris barbata). From this stem erect stems, similar to small canes with persistent lanceolate leaves of medium green color or, in some cultivars, with beautiful cream streaks. In summer it produces beautiful yellow flowers with purple-stained bracts.
Its origins can be found in the tropical areas of the Asian continent, particularly in India, China, and Malaysia, where it continues to grow abundantly in the spontaneous state; in these same areas, however, it is also cultivated extensively (given the strong demand both as a spice and for its medicinal virtues). The largest producer in the world today is India, but it is also growing strongly in Indonesia, China, countries of tropical Africa and Central America.

Ginger cultivation

The cultivation of the two species is very similar; they only change the ideal climatic conditions to obtain a good development and to reach also the flowering.
Climate and exposure
For the officinal species we reiterate that pot cultivation is strongly recommended almost anywhere. The plant has a vegetative activity only above 15 ° C and the ideal temperature is around 21-25 ° C.
To avoid any kind of damage it is good to repair the pots in a hot greenhouse already from the middle of October, or at the latest November to the South, or in any case when the minimum temperatures drop below 10 ° C.
In all seasons we always choose well-lit locations throughout the day or for at least 8 hours each day: ideal only for south or east exposures.
The mioga species is more tolerant: it can withstand even -15 ° C very well, provided it is placed in a sunny position even in winter and is protected from cold winds. Furthermore it is fundamental to choose a very draining substrate to avoid the onset of rot during periods of rain and intense humidity.
plant: March may
flowering: July September
collection: From May to November
division: October / March-May

Crop requirements

Ginger plants prefer shaded or semi-shaded positions, exposure to direct sun often changes the color of the bracts, which tend to become darker. These plants are not very rustic and are grown as house plants; they need minimum temperatures above 5 ° C, and tend to develop better if the minimum temperatures are above 12-15 ° C. In summer they can be placed outdoors in a well-ventilated and not too sunny place. As for irrigation, we must stress that they do not need excessive watering; moisten the soil only when it is dry, avoiding excesses and water stagnation. During the winter months we water sparingly, reminding ourselves to periodically vaporize the foliage, to increase the environmental humidity.

Species and varieties

The officinal species is the most valuable and requested, but its cultivation requires pedoclimatic conditions that are difficult to reproduce in Europe. We can then grow it in a pot or try to put it in the garden if we live in the coastal areas of the southern regions and islands. Instead, it is possible to plant the rustic species everywhere, a little less aromatic, but still having an aesthetic effect.
Zingiber officinale
It grows up to 1.5 meters in height and produces beautiful yellow or red flowers. It is a very delicate plant since it requires temperatures constantly above 15 ° C to grow well together with a high level of humidity. The root has the typical spicy and aromatic taste
Zingiber mioga
Interesting plant for cultivation in the garden throughout Italy: it resists well even at cold temperatures (about -15 ° C). It is very popular in Japan: its roots (with a more delicate taste than the officinal and with intense citrus notes) are used widely, raw or cooked, to flavor dishes, as well as a fundamental ingredient in soups. Young and tender shoots are also widely used as well as flower buds.
Family, genus, species: Zinberaceae, Zingiber Officinale and Mioga
Type of plant: Rhizomatous herbaceous root
Foliage: From persistent to deciduous
Maintenance: Medium-high
irrigations: frequent
fertilizing: Granular for green plants, every 4 months
growth: average
Resistance to cold: From delicate (maximum 15 ° C) to resistant (Mioga, even -15 ° C)
Place of cultivation: Warm, sheltered from the winds
Exposure: Full sun, South or East
Environmental humidity: high
Container: High at least 30 cm, possibly wide
Substrate: 50% sand, 50% earth of leaves
Height: Up to 1.5 meters
Flowers: Yellow or red
Propagation: division


Plant reproduction, for garden lovers, is not just a hobby but a real passion! This is because it is an operation that allows us to obtain great satisfaction simply by dedicating time and attention to our crops. Not all species reproduce in the same way! This is why it is important to know which is the best method to reproduce the species we love the most! The reproduction of the Zingiber spectabile plant generally occurs by seed, or even by cuttings; in this case, it is enough to have a branch of the plant or fragment available to be able to multiply it and obtain a copy identical to the mother one. in autumn it is possible to divide the heads of leaves, maintaining some well-developed roots for each portion practiced.

Potted plant

The rhizomes can be found on the market at the beginning of spring, at specialized retailers. You can also try burying the roots that are for sale in the grocery department of the supermarket. In this case we choose an organic product: we will be sure that no anti-sprouting products have been used.
We put the root vertically in a jar and then fill it by half water: it will be ready when several secondary roots will be visible.
We therefore choose a container at least 30 cm deep; we prefer large bowls or rectangular vases so that its natural horizontal development can be exploited to the maximum, avoiding continual scaling.
On the bottom we create a thick draining layer with gravel or expanded clay. The ideal substrate will be obtained by mixing in equal parts sand and woodland, enriching with a little mature manure.
We insert the root superficially, burying it at the most 2/3 cm: if too deep we will risk rot or grow tired.

Earth installation

The mioga species is interesting for its beautiful semi-persistent leaves (depending on our winter climate). We are looking for potted seedlings at the beginning of spring, at specialist aromatic retailers. For best results, we work the area thoroughly, we create a draining layer on the bottom and lighten the soil with sand if it is too compact and clayey. Insert the specimens without burying the collar too much. Let us water abundantly.

Irrigation and environmental humidity

For both species it is important to water copiously only during the first weeks after planting. Afterwards it will be sufficient to keep the substratum slightly damp: both in pots and in the ground it is advisable to prepare a thick mulch so as to constantly maintain freshness and reduce interventions.
In pot we distribute water every other day, checking before the 2 cm more superficial are dry; we always avoid the use of saucers.
These plants also like a high level of environmental humidity: especially from spring to autumn, during the hottest hours of the day, it is recommended to abundantly spray the foliage.

Ginger harvest

For both species it is possible to wait for the autumn to complete the collection. Mioga ginger is ready for use 6 months after implantation: the younger parts retain a more delicate and citrusy aroma.
In any case we can extract the roots and then take portions of them using a sharp knife. It is advisable to dust the cuts with sulfur and immediately put them back down.

Pests and diseases

As for the development of pests and diseases, ginger plants fear root rot, which quickly causes the decay of the plant; they can also be affected by cochineal and aphids. They are pests of tiny dimensions (1-3 millimeters) which, sucking the sap of the plants, weaken them by making the leaves curl and depriving them of their main source of livelihood. To solve the problem, use specific pesticide products.
The rustic garden species is extremely resistant and is rarely attacked by pests. The only problem we can face is the rotting of the rhizome: it is prevented by preparing a well-draining soil at the time of planting
The officinal species is more delicate and, especially if cultivated in an apartment or following environmental stress (cold, low humidity) it can be attacked by the cochineal. We manually remove the insects and disinfect with alcohol.


The ideal is to use this spice as soon as possible. The root segments can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for a few days, until they maintain a firm consistency. It's fine to put them even in the cellar, in a cool and dark place (for example with potatoes and onions).
It should be emphasized, however, that the more delicate aromatic notes are lost in a short time, leaving only the spicy notes.
A good alternative is also freezing: however, we will have to grate what we need without defrosting: in fact, it would acquire a too soft consistency, making it unusable.
We can also obtain a powder by grinding slices that we have previously dried in a ventilated oven, at about 60 ° C for a few hours. This guarantees us a very long conservation, but many aromatic notes and the vitamin content will inevitably be lost.

Ginger - Zingiber spectabile: Culinary and medicinal uses of ginger

Ginger is one of the most used spices in oriental cuisine. It is one of the fundamental components, together with turmeric, of curry. It cannot be lacking as flavoring of dishes sautéed in the wok, typical of China and Indonesia. The Japanese marinate it and combine it with sushi, while the candied one is widespread in the Middle East and Africa. Together with other spices it is used for the preparation of biscuits and breads, especially suitable for Christmas festivities.
It has also become an indispensable ingredient for many drinks, both refreshing in summer and warm in winter: it is inevitable in Christmas punches, widespread in all Central European countries.
This root is rich in minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and iron. Moreover, several vitamins are abundant, such as those of group B and C.
It is well known that it encourages the production of bile and is recommended for those who follow chemotherapeutic therapies: it stimulates the appetite and is able to reduce the sense of nausea.
The sensation of spiciness and freshness that it is capable of transmitting to the mucous membranes is due to the presence of alkaloids called gingerols and shogaoli.
  • Ginger plant

    The ginger plant is a rhizomatous evergreen perennial that is part of the zingiberaceae family and is of the type z

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