If you love turmeric as much as we do, then no doubt growing turmeric yourself is high on your to-do list. Not only is it a fun and rewarding project to do at home, but the end result is your own fresh supply of superfood to use in recipes.
The idea of growing your very own superfood in your back garden is a pretty cool concept, and although we specialise in selling ready-made turmeric shots for those looking to reap the benefits, we wanted to share our knowledge on how to grow turmeric, fresh, yourself from the comfort of your own home.
Step 1: Source turmeric rhizomes
First things first, just like when planting any other species, you need to source some good quality seeds. When growing turmeric in the UK, you will need to get hold of the turmeric root, which is commonly known as turmeric rhizomes.
Check out this link from the Royal Horticultural Society to find out where you can by turmeric root to grow at home. If you’re really into your gardening, then definitely bookmark that link - it’s a brilliant free resource for finding unusual plants, bulbs, herbs and more.
Step 2: Creating the right environment for growing turmeric
Turmeric is part of the ginger family. To get a bit more technical, it’s the product of curcuma longa - a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the ginger family Zingiberaceae - which is native to Southeast Asia.
Don’t worry - you don’t need to know or remember any of that to be a proficient grower of turmeric, but understanding that turmeric is native to Southeast Asia is important, because this is exactly why it’s not super straightforward to grow here in the UK.
With the unpredictable nature of UK weather, we recommend growing turmeric root indoors as it will not survive if temperatures drop below 10°C. If you’re planting them inside, then they won’t need any light until you start seeing some sprouts, so don’t worry about natural light for the first few months.
If you live in the south of the UK and tend to benefit from milder winters, then you still need to be growing turmeric in a greenhouse to protect the plants from cooler temperatures.
Step 3: Planting your turmeric rhizomes
Chop or split your turmeric rhizomes into pieces 2-3 inches in size. We recommend leaving them for a day or two at room temperature (preferably in the room you will be potting them in when growing turmeric root indoors). We also recommend soaking them for an hour or two in tepid water before planting them. This will encourage sprouting.
Place your rhizomes in a pot with good drainage that is at least 30cm deep and wide. This will give them more than enough space to grow. Fill your pot to just over half full with potting soil.
Then, just like you would with any other plant, place your rhizomes with the buds facing up and cover them with about two inches of potting soil. Be careful not to plant them too deeply in your pots - these are more like bulb plants so they only really need to sit a few inches below the surface of your soil.
Once planted, give them a good amount of water (add the water slowly to avoid drowning your rhizomes).
Can you grow turmeric in the UK?
Growing turmeric in the UK can be fairly unproblematic, as turmeric is pretty resilient as long as the temperature doesn’t drop too much. From this point your turmeric should eventually flourish with a little watering and TLC every now and again. As we mentioned before, even if you don’t have a greenhouse you can still create an environment for your turmeric plant to flourish in.
However, we do have some home-grown tips for ensuring a good harvest…
Step 4: Encouraging growth
If you’re anything like us you’ll be eager to get your hands on your very own turmeric asap. The good news is that there’s loads of things you can do to encourage your turmeric to grow a little quicker.
Sit your pot on a warm mat - providing a source of heat under the roots can help your rhizomes to sprout more quickly.
- Cover your pot in a clear plastic bag - this is a great way to create extra warmth that will encourage your turmeric to grow. Essentially, the clear plastic bag will be like growing turmeric in a greenhouse if you don’t have one and are trying your hand at growing turmeric roots indoors.
- Place near sunlight - although it will be a few months before your turmeric plant sprouts and requires sunlight, there’s no harm in placing your pot on a windowsill to help light get to your pot from day one.
- Place under a lamp or heat lamp - Turmeric thrives in temperatures between 20-35°C, which is no surprise with a root native to Southeast Asia. Because of that we suggest keeping your pots in the warmest room in your house, or by placing the pot under or near a heat lamp (safely, of course).
- Water every 2 days - Keeping the soil damp is key to success, so make sure you don’t leave your turmeric too long between watering. We recommend topping the water up in the soil every couple of days. Remember, add the water slowly to avoid drowning your turmeric.
How long does turmeric take to grow?
This depends on its growing conditions, but your growing turmeric is ready for harvest when you see the leaves and stem turning brown and drying out. Don’t worry, this isn’t a sign of failed growth, it’s a sign your fresh turmeric is ready for you!
This should be at about 7 to 10 months after you planted roots. Take your turmeric out of its pot, shake loose the potting soil, and cut the stems off an inch above the rhizomes.
So, you don’t need to ask yourself how to grow turmeric in the UK, because you’ve now got a fresh supply of a home-grown superfood. When you know how to grow turmeric at home you just won’t stop, but if you’re enjoying the benefits of turmeric and don’t want to wait several months for your plants to sprout, then why not order a box of our turmeric shots while you wait? This way you will be able to reap all of the benefits turmeric has to offer while your plants are busy growing.