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How to Grow Turmeric Herb Plants

Curcuma longa

Turmeric is a tropical herb plant. It is grown for its rhizome, or root. Turmeric is a pungent, yellow spice. Closely related to the ginger family, Turmeric is native to South and Southeast Asia, where it has been used for thousands of years for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It is very popular in Indian and Thai cuisine. It is also used as a cosmetic, most notably skin lightening.

Note: While Turmeric is grown primarily for its roots, the leaves and flowers are also edible.

Turmeric has attractive foliage and is easy to grow. This plant grows up to 3 feet tall..The root has a rich, deep orange color. a 7-10 month frost free growig period is required to produce a good crop of roots for harveting. The plant produces beautiful, large, green and white flowers.

Did You Know? Turmeric is also called "Indian Saffron", as it is sometimes used in recipes as a replacement to the more expensive Saffron.


Medicinal Benefits and Applications:

Turmeric is considered one of the world's most healthiest food. It is used for a wide variety of medicinal applications, including:

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Liver disease

  • Cystic fibrosis

  • Gastric ulcer

  • Cancer of the breast, prostate and intestines

  • Lowers Cholesterol

  • Arthritis

  • Joint pain

Tea Time Anyone? To make a healthy Turmeric Tea, simmer 2 teaspoons of turmeric in 4 cups of water for 10 minutes, then strain  the tea through a cheesecloth. You can add lemon honey, or stevia for flavoring and sweetening.


Turmeric Plant Propagation:

Turmeric is grown from rhizomes (roots). You can start them indoors, in a large container o5r  pot. You can also plant them directly into the garden in zone 9 or warmer. Cut the roots, leaving 2 to 3 buds on each piece. Plant the piece 2 to 3 inches deep, with the bud pointed up, on top of the rhizome. The plants will sprout in about a month.

If started indoors, transplant them after the last frost. Space plants 12 to 16 inches apart.

Note: You can also grow the plant in a container or pot indoors, or on your patio or deck. Use a 14 inch or larger container.

The flowers on the plants will not produce seeds.


How to Grow Turmeric Plants:

Turmeric plants are easy to grow. They need a long, 7-10 month growing season. They grow best in hot and humid tropical areas with plenty of rainfall, similar to their native area. Low temperatures should not go below 65° Farenheit.

Plant them in a location that receives full sun to light, partial shade. The plants prefer moist, not wet soil that is well-drained. The soil should be rich with plenty of nutrients.

Fertilize plants regularly, every other week, with a balanced fertilizer.

Weed around young plants. Add a thick layer of mulch, to help retain soil moisture and to keep weeds down.

Water plants regularly and deeply.


Harvesting and Storing Turmeric Roots:

Turmeric plants need a 7 to 10 month growing season, to allow them to produce a good crop of roots. Harvest the roots when the plant's leaves and stems being to turn brown and dry looking.

Turmeric roots are boiled for 45 minutes, then dried, peeled and ground into a fine yellow powder. They can be sun dried, or with a food dehydrator. The powder is used as a spice, or as a medicine.

Roots can be stored up to 6 months in the refrigerator, or a cool, dark place.


Insects and Disease:

Turmeric plants are seldom bothered by insects of plant disease.

On occasion, aphids or spider mites may infest the plants. Use insecticides only as needed.

Leaf spots may occur. This is a fungal infection that can be treated with fungicide.

More Information:

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