Edible ginger, also called Zingiber officinale, grows up to 2 to 3 feet high. It has narrow leaves and its roots, or underground rhizomes, are used as a flavoring agent for foods. The plant thrives in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8 to 12, which means it can grow outdoors as a perennial in regions where the temperature does not drop below 10 degrees F. To care for the ginger plant, create the right environment.
Plant ginger in the spring in an area with partial sun or shade and fertile, moist soil. In full sun the leaves turn brown and the plant grows poorly. Ginger can grow in almost any soil--with some amendments--as long as it is well-drained. Mix organic compost into the soil before planting. Plant the rhizomes 1 inch deep in the soil, spaced 15 inches apart from one another.
Water the ginger plants throughout the growing season, keeping them moist but not soaked. Overly saturated soil promotes root rot and stunted growth. Stop watering just before the tops die down in the fall.
Fertilize the ginger monthly during the growing season. Use a complete, balanced fertilizer and follow the directions on the package for application instructions.
Dig up some or all of the rhizomes in the fall once the tops die down. Divide and replant these rhizomes in the spring or use them for culinary purposes.