How to Plant Turmeric


Turmeric is a flowering perennial plant with a rhizome root system. In its native India, it is used heavily in many traditional dishes. The ground root powder has an orange-yellow color that is imparted into the food it is used in. Turmeric also has a long history of medicinal use in India and increasingly in the United States. Turmeric grows best in warm, damp climates, but gardeners in USDA zones 8 to 11 should have no trouble growing this herb outside. For the cool-climate gardener, pot up your turmeric roots, and keep them inside for the colder months.

Planting Outside in the Ground

Step 1

Dig up your planting bed and add rich, well-rotted compost or aged cow manure. If your soil is heavy and claylike, dig in coarse sand and peat moss until the soil is loose and well draining.

Step 2

Build up mounds of soil that are 12 inches high. Dig holes that are 5 inches deep and 12 to 15 inches apart along the length of the mound.

Step 3

Break up your fresh turmeric rhizomes where they finger off from the main stem.

Step 4

Lay one finger into each hole and cover it with soil. Pat down the soil and water the area until the mounds are evenly damp all the way through.

Step 5

Water your turmeric crop every three to five days. In very dry weather, water as much as needed to keep the soil damp but not saturated.

Planting Inside in a Pot

Step 1

Mix equal parts peat moss, rich compost and coarse sand.

Step 2

Fill a pot half full with the potting soil mix.

Step 3

Break up your turmeric root by separating the fingers off from the main rhizome.

Step 4

Lay one turmeric rhizome finger in each pot and cover it with soil. Water the pot until it is thoroughly damp.

Step 5

Place a clear plastic bag upside down over the pot. Fasten the opening around the rim of the pot using a rubber band or large twist tie.

Step 6

Place the pot in an area where it will get plenty of indirect sunlight. Keep the soil temperature above 68 degrees. Keep the soil damp but not saturated.

Step 7

When the shoots emerge after three to four weeks, remove the plastic bag. Keep the soil damp and place the pot in a sunny window or on a covered porch.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden fork
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Coarse sand
  • Peat moss
  • 12-inch planting pot with drainage holes
  • Plastic bag
  • Rubber band or twist tie


  • Plant Cultures: Growing Tumeric
  • Plant Production Science: Optimal Planting Depth for Turmeric

Who Can Help

  • National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: plant rhizomes, growing roots, USDA hardiness zones

About this Author

Olivia Parker has been a freelance writer with Demand Studios for the past year, writing for Garden Guides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Parker is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts from Boston University Online.