Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a perennial tropical plant that, although attractive, is grown for its tuberous root, or rhizome. The turmeric rhizome is used much the same as ginger, a relative, and is a common ingredient in Indian cuisine, for both flavor and color. Turmeric reaches 4 feet in height and resembles canna. A low-maintenace plant, turmeric can only be grown indoors or in a greenhouse in Michigan.
Pour equal parts of compost and sand into a seed tray. Moisten the mixture until the water runs from the bottom of the tray, and allow it to drain completely.
Find the bud on the rhizome. It will look like a small tooth. Lay the rhizome on the soil, with the bud facing up, and push it in until just the roots are covered.
Place the tray in a transparent plastic bag, seal it and place it in a bright room (indirect sunlight) on the heat mat, set to 70 degrees F.
Check the soil periodically for dryness. Add water to keep the soil moist, not soggy. The rhizome should sprout within three weeks.
Remove the plastic bag as soon as the rhizome sprouts and remove the tray from the heat mat. Allow the tray to remain in indirect sun and keep the soil moist.
Transplant the turmeric sprout when it reaches 2 inches in height. Fill a 6-inch planting pot with a moist mixture of sand and potting soil. Carefully remove the sprouted rhizome from the tray and plant it the same depth at which it has been growing.
Keep the soil moist and place the pot in an indoor area that remains at least 70 degrees F and receives indirect sunlight.