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How to Grow Curcuma Plants

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Curcuma zedoaria, also called turmeric, belongs within the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It can act as a perennial or annual in the garden. The plant is grown throughout frost-free regions of the United States, as plants are frost-sensitive. Plants grow up to 6 feet in height and have lancelike foliage. The flowers are yellowish and trumpet-shaped. It spreads by underground rhizomes. Once plants mature, gardeners can dig up the finger-shaped rhizomes, dry them and use them as a culinary spice. Curcuma zedoaria works well planted directly into the garden or grown in containers.

Plant Curcuma zedoaria in springtime when temperatures have warmed the soil and cold weather no longer threatens your region. Select a location in full to partial sun for best growth. Plant the rhizomes in rich, well-drained soil.

Remove any weeds from a planting site that is approximately 3 feet in diameter. Hand-pull, rake or spray the unwanted vegetation with a grass-killing herbicide.

Layer the top of the soil with 6 to 8 inches of compost or manure. Work the substance into the planting site approximately 6 to 8 inches.

Form a raised bed if your soil contains a lot of clay or retains too much water. Pile the garden soil up to approximately 1 foot in height. Amend with compost or manure to improve drainage.

Fill a 3-gallon, draining container with a rich, well-drained potting mix amended with a slow-release fertilizer, if growing Curcuma zedoaria in a container. Mix the fertilizer into the soil according to label directions. Plant one rhizome per container, approximately 2 to 3 inches deep into the soil and laying the rhizome sideways.

Plant the Curcuma zedoaria rhizomes into the outdoor planting site. Plant each rhizome 2 to 3 inches deep into the soil and lay it sideways. Space multiple rhizomes approximately 2 feet apart.

Water the planting site or container after planting. Saturate the soil thoroughly. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.

Treat pest problems such as aphids or red spider mites. Use a product such as insecticidal soap and spray the pests. Apply and mix the insecticide according to package directions.

Treat fungal problems by spraying the foliage with fungicide. Select a product safe for use on Curcuma zedoaria plants and apply according to package instructions.

Harvest the Curcuma zedoaria rhizomes in approximately nine months. Dig up the rhizome when the plant’s foliage begins yellowing and dying.


To use the Curcuma zedoaria rhizomes as a spice, boil it after harvesting and allow it to completely dry. You can then grind the spice into a fine powder and store in an airtight container. Spread manure or compost over the planting site’s soil approximately three months after planting. This adds more nutrients to the soil and promotes better growth.

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