There are about forty species of turmeric as well as a few cultivars. The most frequently grown as a houseplant and easily found at florists or garden centers is the splendid Curcuma alismatifolia whose pink bracts are sculptural. More generally, Turmeric (C. longa) nicknamed Turmeric is a rhizome plant of the family of Zingiberaceae (like Ginger). It is also sometimes called Siam Tulip. Let’s see how to care for this plant of Indian origin from which we get the eponymous spice from its rhizome and also see how to overwinter it in good conditions.
Planter un Curcuma
Curcuma likes to be installed in a potting soil for flowering plants or for green plants, rich in nutrients. It particularly appreciates temperatures between 15 and 24°C and exposure to indirect light. He must be protected from direct sunlight and strong winds. The proximity of a bay window to the North equipped with a thin curtain is ideal. But it can easily be installed in the garden in summer or on the terrace, provided it is in partial shade.
Culture in a pot
Pour planter a Curcuma in a pot, here’s how.
- Fill a pot with a pierced bottom with a planting soil rich in trace elements,
- Push in the Turmeric rhizome to a depth of 5 or 6 cm,
- Install it in the light and wait.
The young plants soon to appear. The Indian saffron can then be installed in a larger pot, always with a pierced bottom, and containing a good well-draining soil mixed with a handful of river sand.
Cultivation in the ground
If you want to plant a Turmeric directly in the ground, it is necessary to wait until May, or even later in geographical areas where late frosts are still possible. He is offered a slightly acidic soil, rich in humuswell-drained, deep and moist in nature.
Note that Turmeric is interesting to magnify a rock garden or a massif. It can be used alone or in association with multiple flowering plants such as Phlox and Dahlia…
Caring for Turmeric
Turmeric grown as a houseplant likes to be out in the summer. It can spend a few months outside sheltered from the wind and direct light where it will thrive without difficulty. But it is essential to bring it in as soon as it cools for the first time because it is better that it does not have to undergo temperatures below 12°C.
In pots or in the ground, the first waterings are very moderate. Then, throughout the vegetation period, the Turmeric must benefit from watering regular but not excessive pour keep the soil moist. In summer, it is watered more copiously if it is very hot and it does not rain, so that the substrate does not dry out in any case. The regularity helps the plant to develop without interruption and therefore allows its rhizome to reach an astonishing size to say the least.
As Turmeric likes humid atmospheres, the good idea is to mist its foliage. The ambient humidity must be at least 50%. However, it is absolutely necessary to prevent water from stagnating in the saucer.
This decorative plant needs liquid fertilizer diluted in the irrigation water. once a month, from spring until the end of summer. A liquid fertilizer for roses suits him perfectly.
In spring, Turmeric can be multiplied by division of rhizomes. But it will take three years to see the new plants bloom.
Pests and diseases
No parasite is to be feared, and Turmeric is not sensitive to any particular disease. However, as is the case for many plants, excessive watering causes the rotting of its rhizomes.
Wintering Turmeric: two solutions
It is strongly advised to protect turmeric from the coldand this holds for all varieties. To do this, it suffices to overwinter it from October, when its leaves are dry, as this is the sign that the dormant period has begun.
Storing turmeric in pots over winter
It is possible to overwinter potted Turmeric by installing it in a cool room, at about 18°C. You just have to be careful throughout the off-season to keep your soil just moist. Throughout the period of vegetative rest, watering is therefore reduced so that the roots do not rot. In March, the plant is placed in a warmer room, between 20 and 22°C. In no time, a new vegetative cycle begins. It is then appropriate to repot turmeric in new potting soil and gradually resume watering and fertilizing.
Dig up the Turmeric rhizome to overwinter it
If you choose to overwinter a Turmeric out of the ground or its potting soil, cut back the dry foliage, dig up the rhizomes and place them in a box whose bottom is covered with a layer of sand. It is recommended to add a few pieces of charcoal to avoid any risk of mould. Stored in the winter garden or in a healthy room where the temperature is around 10 or 12°C, all the rhizomes will keep until they are replanted in the spring. This is the moment chosen to divide them in order to multiply its turmeric plants.
Just before wintering orange-yellow aromatic rhizomes, do not hesitate to take some as soon as they are healthy. Powdered turmeric is a spice with a subtle flavor which allows you to flavor many dishes and you can also enjoy its multiple benefits for the body thanks to its active principle, the curcumin and its many components. This yellow spice is called the saffron of the poor and this, without any pejorative connotation.
Flowering of Turmeric
Depending on the planting period, the Turmeric flowers flourish between May and September. Against good care, in a substrate or good soil that maintains constant humidity and if you remember to put fertilizer every four weeks, this plant remains in bloom for at least three months.
All species are ornamental with their pink, white, purple or yellow flowers, which emerge from a tuft of long spearhead leaves of a beautiful uniform green. When the flowers have all faded, towards the end of September, and the foliage has completely yellowed, the Turmeric is entering its period of vegetative rest. But in the meantime, from spring to autumn, so that it retains all its beautycare is taken to cut off the faded flowers as you go, as well as the leaves that dry out.