Cooking ginger (zingiber officinale roscoe) is a perennial tropical plant that's grown and harvested for its rhizomes, which are used to flavor a wide variety of cuisine. True ginger has 2- to 3-foot-tall stalks and narrow leaves. Ginger plants have plump, heavily fragrant rhizomes and bloom in dense spikes of yellowish-green flowers with purple petal tips. You can grow your own ginger plant indoors from green ginger roots purchased at your local grocery store or health food market.
Purchase a ginger root that's fresh and has some shoot buds beginning to grow on it. Snap off the "finger" pieces from the ginger root "hand," and then cut off at least 2 inches of the bud on the finger.
Plant ginger roots in late winter or early spring. Fill an 8-inch-diameter planter pot with a loam-based compost mix. Bury the ginger root finger into the compost with the bud pointing upwards and about 1 inch below the soil surface.
Place the pot in partial to full shade, away from direct sun. Keep the potting compost warm at around 80 degrees.
Water the ginger plant daily to once every three days to keep the potting compost moist at all times. Reduce watering in autumn, allowing the potting compost to dry out so that you induce the ginger plant to grow rhizomes.
Feed the ginger plant once every two or three weeks with an all-purpose potted plant fertilizer. Begin feeding the ginger plant after it starts growing and follow the dosage instructions on the label.
Harvest the ginger root by gently lifting up the rhizomes from the soil. The normal harvest time is about six to nine months after planting the ginger root, usually in fall.