Grow Curcuma Longa, Turmeric: Popular For Its Medicinal and Culinary Properities

Curcuma Longa

Photo Compliments of Gardening Solutions

Curcuma longa, or turmeric, is a very easy to grow plant that has become wildly popular for its culinary and medicinal properties.

Turmeric is a tropical rhizomatous, herbaceous perennial, in the ginger family.  It’ll typically reach a height of 3 to 4 feet in a foliage clump of ornamentally-attractive, elliptic to lanceolate green leaves (about 3 inches in length).  Short dense spikes of pale yellow flowers are produced in summer.

Curcuma longa is most noted for its thick, branched rhizomes which are the source of the bright yellow-orange powdery spice known round the world as turmeric.  Turmeric has a number of well-known uses including culinary, medicinal, and as a dark yellow dye.  In addition to this the plant leaves are sometimes used for wrapping and cooking food; plant flowers may be eaten as a vegetable.

How To Make Your Curcuma Longa, Turmeric Thrive

Curcuma Longa

Photo Compliments of Thamizhpparithi Maari

Turmeric is winter hardy in Zones 8 to 11 where it can be easily grown in organically rich, fertile, consistently moist, but well-drained soils in full sun to part shade.  Best results will include morning sun and some afternoon shade.  Your plants will love hot summers and high humidity.

Growing options for areas where plants are not winter hardy include: growing plants as annuals, digging rhizomes in fall and storing indoors in a cool, dry location, or growing them in containers that are overwintered indoors in a cool dry location. Plants grown in large containers may require frequent repotting because the thick rhizomes quickly grow large enough to split open a pot.  Potted specimens will require lots of water during the growing season.

Rhizomes are typically harvested in fall when the foliage begins to dry off. Some of the harvested rhizomes can be set aside for propagation.

Curcuma Longa, Turmeric, General Information

Diseases and Pests

There are no serious insect or disease problems for Curcuma longa.  You may get spider mites if the soil becomes overly dry. Slugs and snails may attack young leaves.

Garden Uses

Grow this in your herb garden, or in containers.

Quick Facts

  • Family: Zingiberaceae
  • Common Name: Turmeric
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 8 to 11
  • Height: 3 to 4 feet
  • Width: 3 to 4 feet
  • Bloom Time: July to August
  • Bloom Description: Pale yellow
  • Sun: Full sun to partial shade
  • Water: Medium to wet
  • Maintenance: Medium
  • Tolerates: Wet Soil

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  1. It is so interesting to read about growing turmeric, especially that the ground around it can attract spider mites. Maybe it really is a delicious plant already as it is coming up. I love using turmeric to cook chicken – turmeric chicken goes great with rice or potatoes 🙂

  2. Without doing any research, I bought some of this last fall and put it in the greenhouse for over-wintering. It appeared to have died in the pot so I tossed the pot outside. Lo and behold, it revived itself! The stuff goes dormant! Followed you on Pinterest. Am equally fascinated with tiny houses but could never live in one full-time. Too many space-hogging hobbies.

    • I live in Zone 8 and now that I have stated to look for them, I’m finding quite a few that are thriving outdoors here in Seattle, all of my research tells me they are really vigorous. I’m really fascinated by the Tiny house movement, but I too struggle with hobbies that require a lot of stuff.

  3. I would love to grow herbs, but i think the iguanas would eat them. 🙁

  4. Very interesting. I cannot take anti-inflammatory medications and was desperate to find an herbal substitute that would help my arthritis when I found turmeric (Curcumin c-3 complex).It works!
    debsgarden recently posted..My Tree FrogMy Profile

  5. I apologize that I don’t get over here as much as I’d like… you write so many great posts!
    Turmeric is a magic potion IMO! I’ve been taking it for a skin condition for years and it helps me a lot. I can’t grow it here, however the cost is very low on Amazon 😆

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