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Growing Turmeric

Growing Turmeric


Turmeric item #04474


Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a tender tropical perennial plant with wide, dark green leaves and attractive flowers. Its rhizomatous roots used as a culinary herb and it is most commonly used in Indian, Indonesian, and Malaysian cuisine. It is native to India and requires a very mild (zone 8 or warmer) climate to be grown outdoors year-round. In cold climates, turmeric can be grown as seasonal outdoor container plants and brought indoors in fall.

How To Plant

Use a well-drained potting soil and a large (14 inch diameter or larger) container. Larger containers are easier to maintain than smaller containers as plants mature. Plant as deeply as in the starter container when transplanting.

Turmeric is a tropical plant and prefers warm, humid growing conditions. It needs a moist, well-drained soil and grows poorly in continually wet or heavy soils. It prefers in full sun to light shade, but tolerates growing in partial to full shade. When grown in shade, plants will grow slower and have reduced yield. Plants require more regular watering when grown in full sun.

Plants can be somewhat slow to establish, especially if temperatures are cooler than optimal.


Even in mild climates, turmeric goes dormant for the winter. Plants will survive outdoors only in mild areas where the soil does not freeze. In marginal areas, mulching the soil around plants with 4 to 6 inches of organic material may help plants to survive over winter.

In cold areas, bring plants indoors before the temperatures begin to consistently fall below 55 to 60°F. Put plants in a cool, semi-sunny spot indoors, and reduce watering to allow the plants to go dormant. After the leaves yellow and begin to die back, they can be cut off and watering discontinued. Begin watering again in spring to stimulate new growth and begin fertilizing regularly once growth resumes. Return pots to the outdoors once temperatures consistently average 60 to 65°F.

Fertilizer Recommendations

While actively growing, fertilize every 2 weeks with a balanced fertilizer like ALGOplus All Purpose 6-6-6 liquid fertilizer

Common Problems

Turmeric is generally free from pest and disease problems as long as culture is good and it is grown in well-drained soil.

Alternative Products

Ginger is a related tropical herb grown for its rhizome.

Product Recommendations

Black Gold Earthworm Castings can be used to enrich the soil at planting.

Turmeric Facts

All parts of the turmeric plant are edible. It has been used as a culinary herb and herbal medicine for over 3,000 years.


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Growing Tips