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How to grow your own curcuma plant in the apartment? It’s easier than you think!

Growing the turmeric plant indoors is easy if you have a sunny spot for a large pot. Give it what it likes and it will grow like a weed, rewarding you with attractive tropical foliage and a bountiful harvest of fresh turmeric.

Turmeric as a houseplant – preparation for planting.

Turmeric as a houseplant - preparation for planting

Turmeric plant (Curcuma longa) is a tropical plant from the same family as ginger. Turmeric is not a dainty plant, but has large green leaves and grows more than 90 cm high. When the plant is mature, each stem sprouts a spike of greenish-white and occasionally pink flowers. Like ginger, turmeric thrives in warm, moist conditions and well-drained, neutral soil. The best time to grow turmeric plant indoors is in late winter.

Curcuma longa is a tropical plant from the same family as ginger

Calculate when to plant: the curcuma plant takes seven to 10 months from seed to harvest. To figure out when to plant, calculate back 10 months from when you normally experience the first frost in the fall. So if where you live the first frost is around mid-October, you should plant turmeric between mid-December and mid-March.

Source your rhizomes: the turmeric plant is grown from rhizomes, fleshy root-like structures. Your local supermarket and health food store should have fresh rhizomes for sale in the winter. Asian or Indian grocery stores are also likely to have them in stock or can order them for you. Choose plump rhizomes with as many bumps (buds) on the sides as possible.

Growing the curcuma plant indoors – Here’s how to go about it.

Growing the turmeric plant indoors - here's how to go about it

You will need a 35 to 45 cm pot or planter for each 15 to 20 cm rhizome and enough potting soil to fill it. For starters, however, it’s more practical to plant your rhizomes in smaller containers and then transplant them to the larger containers once they have a few leaves and are growing well. Here’s how:

  1. Cut your rhizomes into sections with two or three buds on each section.
  2. Fill the 7-cm pots halfway with good potting soil.
  3. Lay the rhizome sections flat on top of the soil and cover with more potting soil.
  4. Water well and place the pots in clear plastic bags.
  5. Place the pots in the warmest place you can find in your home (30 degrees Celsius is ideal). At lower temperatures, germination will be very slow and your rhizomes might even rot instead of sprouting. No warm place? You can make a great germination chamber with a heating pad or a small desk lamp and a thermometer. Or you can buy a small germination chamber for home use. Light or no light doesn’t matter at this stage.

Fun Facts: If you have pet and curcuma plant in your home, you should not worry. They are not poisonous to animals.

Take care of curcuma plant in the apartment – What you should pay attention to.

Curcuma plant care in the apartment - What you should consider

Keep everything bright and warm: check on your pots every few days and as soon as the seedlings start to sprout, move the pots to a windowsill or under a grow light. If your house is not very warm (the optimal growing temperature at this stage is 25 to 30 degrees), you should place them on a heat mat set at a low 26 degrees. When the plants grow out of the plastic covers, remove them.

Water as needed: Once you have opened the mini greenhouses, you will need to water your turmeric as needed. Keep the soil moist, but not wet, and spray the leaves with water once or twice a day to keep the humidity high. Allowing the soil to dry out at any time will reduce your final harvest.

Repot into larger pots: when your plants are 25 inches tall, carefully transplant them into larger pots of potting soil. Turn the heat mat down a few degrees each week until you reach 21 degrees. At this point, you can remove the heat mat as long as your indoor temperature averages around 20 degrees.

Otherwise, continue to use the heat mat. Plants in medium-sized pots can be repotted into their final pots or planters when they become top-heavy or form more shoots.

Harvesting, storing and eating turmeric.

Your turmeric is ready to harvest when the leaves and stems turn brown and dry

Your turmeric is ready to harvest when the leaves and stems turn brown and dry, about seven to 10 months after planting. Tip out the plants, soil and all, and shake the soil off the fresh turmeric. Cut the stems about 3 inches above the mass of the rhizomes and wash the rhizomes well.

Rhizomes will keep fresh in an airtight bag or container for up to six months in the refrigerator. Place them in the freezer to keep them longer. Set aside a few of the largest specimens for replanting!

You can also make your own turmeric powder. Put the freshly cleaned rhizomes in a pot and cover them with water. Bring them to a boil until you can easily pierce them with a fork (depending on the size, this may take 45 to 60 minutes or longer).

Drain the cooked rhizomes, rub off the skin with your fingers (optional), and dry them in the sun until they are brittle and break cleanly when you try to bend them. Grind the dried rhizomes in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle to make turmeric powder for cooking.

Tip: Wear gloves when handling turmeric rhizomes because they will stain your fingers bright orange and won’t wash off.

What are the health benefits of eating turmeric, you can learn here !