Growing Turmeric in a pot... yes you can

I've always wanted to have a go at growing turmeric. I'd heard that whilst it is a tropical plant, turmeric can be successfully grown in the UK.

Most of us are familiar with Turmeric because of bright yellow colour it brings to our curry dishes. But it has had quite a bit of press lately, with claims that it is a natural anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant and supports detoxification. Turmeric is considered a superfood by many, with serious medicinal benefits.

Finding Turmeric to Grow in a Pot

Turmeric and ginger both belong to the ginger family. And like ginger, you grow Turmeric from roots rather than from seed. I knew that turmeric roots look similar to ginger, but had struggled to find any. Then at the end of last year we visited Tablehurst Biodynamic Farm in Forest Row, East Sussex. There they had some fresh turmeric roots for sale. I selected 3 roots with little 'buds' on them which looked like they stood a chance of sprouting. We brought them home and popped them in a tray on the windowsill above the radiator. We misted them occasionally with water, and waited. Just when I was about to give up hope, one started to show signs of life, followed by the other two. 

Turmeric sprouting

Growing on the Turmeric in a Pot

I planted all 3 turmeric roots in a pot of compost. I put them about 5 cm below the surface with the buds (which had indeed shooted) facing upwards. Then things started to happen quite quickly. It was the initial sprouting which took the longest time. When the risk of frost was past, I put the pot outside. The logic for keeping them in a pot if you don't live in a hot climate is that the roots won't survive frost. So the plants need to come inside when the weather starts getting cold again. I repotted the Turmeric to a much larger pot once the roots were established. To my amazement, when I repotted the plants, two new roots immediately fell out!

Harvesting Turmeric from a Pot

That makes me think there are quite a few more in there... and we'll find out in a few weeks when we bring the plants in. The plant will become dormant soon, we'll harvest some of the roots and leave the rest to hopefully shoot again next Spring.

What to do with Fresh Turmeric

The fun will begin as we work out what to do with them. It seems you need to boil them, then dry them. After that you grind them to the yellow powder with which we are most familiar. But it seems you can also enjoy fresh turmeric in soups, salads and dressing. I've found a few recipes online using fresh turmeric that I'm keen to try... we will let you know how we get on.

So if you come across some turmeric, do have a go. If I can do it, anyone can :)


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  • They do indeed Donny. I think the aphids descended when the pot was indoors – the ladybirds probably took care of things when it was outside!

  • Ladybirds love aphids.

  • I think it was just aphids, which is the risk when you don’t use pesticides (which we don’t). Soapy water is a great idea, what I would do differently this time is spray it a bit more regularly, even when there’s no sign of aphids. Once they come, they take over very quickly unless you’re very vigilant.

    So glad I found your article and fortunate enough to live near Forest Row, so stopped by a couple of weeks ago and bought some fresh Turmeric.
    I’ve tried it grated over a salad, added to homemade soup and grated it into scrambled egg… Omg, that was THE best scrambled egg!

    I’m really keen to give growing it a go and maybe some ginger. I’ve been meaning to grow ginger for years.
    I’ve picked out 4 little tubers with nobbly bits on to grow (one has a slightly hairy root) and have a 2 foot long trough I may use to plant them in.

    Do you know what predators attacked last year’s crop?
    I also hate using pesticide and rather use methods such as soapy water for aphids and have used nematodes for slugs in the past that were wiping out my beetroots and everything else I grew in a veggie patch.

    Thanks Bev and happy growing!

  • Interesting question! Year 1 we got some lovely turmeric when we poured out the contents of the pot. Second year I did the same thing but the plant was rather destroyed by bugs. I try not to use pesticides on my plants, but in this case I should have given it a go I think, because once they took hold the plant never really recovered so it didn’t product very much. I plan to have another go this year. One thing I have learned though: if you only put it in a small pot (because the plant looks small) it can only produce a limited amount of turmeric. My next experiment is to put it in a large pot in the hope that I get more!


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