There are about forty species of curcumas as well as a few cultivars. The most frequently cultivated as an indoor plant and easily found in florists or garden centers is the splendid Curcuma alismatifolia whose pink bracts are sculptural. More generally, Turmeric (vs. longa) nicknamed Turmeric is a rhizomatous plant of the family of Zingiberaceae (like Ginger). It is also sometimes called the Tulip of Siam. Let’s see how to maintain this plant of Indian origin from which we extract the eponymous spice from its rhizome and also see how to winter it in good conditions.
Plant a Turmeric
Turmeric likes to be installed in a potting soil for flowering plants or for green plants, rich in nutrients. He 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 fine sheer curtain is ideal. But it can easily be installed in the garden in summer or on the terrace, provided it is in partial shade.
For plant a Turmeric in a pot, here’s how to do it.
- Fill a pot with a pierced bottom with a planting soil rich in trace elements,
- Insert the turmeric rhizome to a depth of 5 or 6 cm,
- Install it in the light and wait.
The young plants do not take long 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 the month of May, or even later in the geographical areas where late frosts are still possible. We offer him a slightly acidic soil, rich in humus, well-drained, deep and moist in nature.
Note that Turmeric is interesting for magnifying a rock garden or a massif. It can be used alone or in combination with multiple flowering plants such as Phlox and Dahlia…
Caring for Turmeric
Turmeric grown as a houseplant likes to be out during the summer. It can spend a few months outdoors sheltered from wind and direct light where it will thrive without difficulty. But it is imperative to enter it from the first cooling 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, during the entire period of vegetation, the Turmeric must benefit from watering regular but not excessive for keep the earth moist. In summer, it is watered more abundantly if it is very hot and there is no 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 a size that is, to say the least, amazing.
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 a supply of liquid fertilizer diluted in the irrigation water once a month, from spring to the end of summer. a liquid rose fertilizer suits him perfectly.
In spring, we can multiply the Turmeric by division of rhizomes. But we will have to wait for three years before seeing the new plants bloom.
Parasites and diseases
No parasite is to be feared, and Turmeric is not susceptible to any particular disease. However, as is the case with many plants, overwatering causes the rhizomes to rot.
Winterizing Turmeric: two solutions
It is strongly advised to protect Turmeric from the cold, and this goes for all varieties. To do this, you just need to overwinter it in October, when its leaves are dry, because this is a sign that the dormant period has started.
Store Turmeric in a pot over the winter
It is possible to overwinter the Turmeric in a pot 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. During the entire 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 necessary to repot the Turmeric in a new soil and gradually resume watering and fertilization.
Digging up the turmeric rhizome to overwinter it
If you choose to overwinter a Curcuma out of the ground or its soil, you cut back the dried out 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 mold. 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 time chosen to divide them in order to multiply his turmeric plants.
Just before wintering the orange-yellow aromatic rhizomes, do not hesitate to take a few as soon as they are healthy. Powdered turmeric is a subtle flavor spice which allows you to flavor many dishes and you can also enjoy its multiple benefits for the body thanks to its active ingredient, the curcumin and its many components. This yellow spice is called the poor saffron and this without any pejorative connotation.
Depending on the planting period, the Turmeric flowers flourish between May and September. Against good care, in a substrate or good soil maintaining constant humidity and if you think about putting 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 and a beautiful uniform green. When the flowers are 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 beauty, we take care to cut the faded flowers as and the leaves which dry out.