Caring For Wild Ginger: How To Grow Wild Ginger Plants
Wild ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a member of the mint family. It grows in temperate regions of Europe, Asia and North America.
Its name comes from its native land of China where it was used as a medicine for centuries. In recent years, wild ginger has been cultivated all over the world with varying results. There are many different types of wild ginger available today. Some varieties have high levels of caffeine while others do not contain any at all.
The most common type of wild ginger grown commercially is Zingiber officinale var. zizanoides, which is known as “wild” because it does not come from a controlled environment like other varieties do.
These wild kinds of ginger are often referred to as “indigenous.”
In addition to being used medicinally, wild ginger is also a popular culinary ingredient. It’s flavor varies depending on what variety it is.
One type of wild ginger commonly found in Asian cuisine is called “dry” or “raw” ginger. They’re usually sold dried and ground up into powder form. Another type of wild kind, known as “fresh,” is usually eaten raw as a delicacy or used as a cooking ingredient. It is also used as a substitute for true ginger, which is more difficult to find.
The most popular type of wild ginger in the world is known as “cultivated” ginger. It was first bred in the 1800’s and has become the most common kind available today.
It is usually found sold in the produce section of most grocery stores.
Even though wild ginger can be grown in almost any temperate climate, it does best in an environment with a lot of humidity and rainfall. You can attempt to grow it in drier conditions, but the plant will be weaker and not produce as much.
It also prefers a soil that contains a lot of organic matter such as peat moss or manure.
The first step to planting wild ginger is to find a spot in your yard that receives partial shade. It does not need a lot of sun to grow, but it can’t survive in an area that is completely shaded either.
The soil should be loose, well-draining and rich in organic matter.
Properly caring for your wild ginger plant is very easy. It prefers moist soil, so you’ll need to water it every once in awhile.
Don’t over water it though. Also, like most other ginger plants, wild ginger prefers acidic soil with a pH between 5 and 6. You can buy some sulfur to sprinkle on the soil to decrease the pH, but it’s also fine without doing this.
One of the most important parts of taking care of your wild ginger is harvesting it when it’s mature enough to do so. Like many other types of plants in the mint family, it matures slowly and often over a long period of time.
It is best to wait until it is at least two years old before harvesting any part of the plant. You can tell when it’s mature enough by the height and thickness of its stem as well as the size of its leaves.
As with many other types of plants, each part of the wild ginger plant is useful for something. The rhizome is the underground stem or root, which you can harvest.
The leaves are used for ornamental purposes and have a very mild flavor. The flowers are also edible, but they taste extremely bitter.
You can use wild ginger in all kinds of ways. Some people dry some of the rhizomes and grind them up into a fine powder to make tea with.
Others like to drink it straight or mix it with lemonade. You can also eat the fresh rhizomes like a normal ginger root. You can also chop it up and put it in soups or on top of other foods to give them a little extra kick.
The flowers can be used as a garnish and the leaves can be used for decorations or to make tea. You can also dry them and then crush them up to put on your skin to act as an insect repellent.
This is useful if you’re going hiking or camping.
All parts of wild ginger are edible, but some taste better than others, especially the rhizome. If the rhizome tastes bad, don’t eat it!
That’s a good way to get sick.
Sources & references used in this article:
The Effects of Wild Ginger (Costus speciosus (Koen) Smith) Rhizome Extract and Diosgenin on Rat Uterine Contractions by W Lijuan, P Kupittayanant, N Chudapongse… – Reproductive …, 2011 – Springer
Cytotoxic activity of leaf and rhizome extracts of Alpinia scabra (Blume) Nves, a wild ginger from Peninsular Malaysia by H Ibrahim, KS Sim, DR Syamsir… – African Journal of …, 2010 – academicjournals.org
Wild ginger: A novel by A Min – 2004 – books.google.com
Analysis of products suspected of containing Aristolochia or Asarum species by BT Schaneberg, IA Khan – Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2004 – Elsevier
Finding new agents in medicinal plants to act on the myometrium by S Kupittayanant, P Munglue, W Lijuan… – Experimental …, 2014 – Wiley Online Library