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How to Propagate Turmeric

By Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 21, 2017

Turmeric is a low-growing, herbaceous plant that is grown for use as a spice in Indian cuisine or as a dye. The plant grows from finger-like rhizomes and requires a warm, humid climate but can be grown indoors in areas where the temperature drops below 65 degrees F. Propagation of turmeric is through division of growing rhizomes or by sprouting purchased or dormant rhizome sections. The plants can be harvested after 8 to 10 months of growth. Store the rhizomes in a cool, dry location if they will be replanted in the spring.

Divide Potted Rhizomes

Remove the turmeric plant and root system from the growing container. Separate the rhizome and plant sections, taking care not to damage any of the rhizomes.

Choose rhizomes that are plump and healthy. Plant the separated rhizomes in a potting container filled with sterile potting soil at the same depth they were in the container.

Water the plant to moisten the soil. Continue to water the plant to keep the soil moist as turmeric does not respond well to dry conditions.

Place the turmeric plant in warm location with morning sunlight or shaded light.

Fertilize the turmeric plant with a general purpose liquid fertilizer during the summer growing season.

Outdoor Rhizomes

Purchase fresh rhizomes from an Asian food store or dig rhizomes from the ground during the dormant season. Remove soil from the rhizomes and separate those that are plump and have a side tooth-like bud for planting.

Place the rhizomes on a seed tray filled with organic compost. Lightly cover the roots and place the tray in a clear plastic bag that is sealed. Place the tray on top of a seed germination warming pad set at approximately 68 degrees F for three weeks.

Remove the plastic bag once the rhizomes begin to produce shoots. Place the tray in a warm location that has indirect sunlight and keep the tray compost moist.

Plant the rhizome shoots outdoors in the spring months of mid March through May once the soil begins to warm. Planting the roots too late in the growing season will prevent a full harvest in the fall.

Water the rhizomes after planting to moisten the soil. Continue to water the plant to keep the soil moist during the growing season.


Things You Will Need

  • Turmeric rhizomes
  • Sterile potting soil
  • Water
  • General purpose liquid fertilizer
  • Seed tray
  • Organic compost
  • Germination warming mat


  • Cut roots will bleed a yellow substance that will stain skin and clothing.

About the Author


Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.