Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is an herb-like plant that’s grown for its long, thin rhizomes that are used to flavor cuisine and as dyes. Turmeric is a tropical perennial plant that requires constantly warm temperatures and higher humidity. You can grow your own turmeric plants from the rhizomes sold at health and ethnic food stores. Turmeric also contains curcumin, a substance that medical researchers are discovering that can treat a wide range of illnesses. In fact, many cultures have used turmeric plants for medicinal purposes throughout the past 4,000 years.
Water your turmeric plants thoroughly every three to five days until the water begins to drain from the bottom of the pot. Keep the potting soil damp at all times, not dry or soggy.
Keep your turmeric plants in a partially shaded spot. Maintain warm air temperatures around the plants of no cooler than 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Feed the turmeric plants once every week during the spring, summer and early autumn, while the plants are actively growing. Apply an all-purpose liquid plant fertilizer at the recommended dosage rate on the label.
Mist the turmeric plants lightly with rainwater every day during dry weather. Mist the plants when the humidity is low or temperatures are especially hot.
Keep the turmeric plants slightly dry during winter by gradually reducing the watering frequency to once every week or two beginning in fall. Move the turmeric plants into brighter light during winter, and water them frequently enough to prevent the potting soil from drying out.
Things You Will Need
- All-purpose liquid plant fertilizer
- Water spray bottle
- Keep in mind that turmeric plants grown indoors or in a home greenhouse will likely not produce usable rhizomes, but you can harvest the leaves to use as flavoring for cuisine.
- Watch out for red spider mites infesting your turmeric plants. Mist the foliage daily, and wash the leaves with a dilute solution of liquid dish soap and water to keep the spider mites at bay.
- Be careful when handling the turmeric roots and cutting into them, because they contain a yellow sap that will stain your fingers and clothing.