Curcuma longa - Gingers R Us
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Catalog : Curcuma : Summer Bloomers :

Curcuma longa

Type: rhizome

In stock: yes
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Our price: US $12.95 add to cart
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This is the ginger that produces the spice "turmeric". The rhizomes are bright orange in color inside, and it is listed in "The Joy of Cooking" as the "poor man's saffron", used as a cheaper saffron substitute to color rice. It is usually sold under an INCORRECT botanical name, Curcuma domestica. I have purchased plants and rhizomes from different sources and found this plant varies in size and flowering. The plant I am offering here is from some stock that is a bit taller and blooms more easily than the ones that I bought at two other sources. It grew to nearly 5 ft. tall in my garden in rich organic soil and about 4 hours of direct sun, but only 3 ft. tall in filtered shade.

It is a very easy ginger to grow, much like Curcuma petiolata (hidden lily) in its appearance and growing requirements, except that it produces white bracts instead of pink, and of course the rhizomes produce the spice turmeric wheras C. petiolata does not. Most sources list it as hardy to zones 7 or 7B, and it has proven reliably hardy here at temps in the upper teens.

Like other Curcumas, it will go into a natural dormancy in late fall; the leaves will die back and you will think it has some fungus or that it is drying up. DO NOT WATER during dormancy; that is the quickest way to rot a Curcuma rhizome. Fortunately, this species is pretty hardy and unless you keep it in saturated soil all winter, it will do just fine. That's why I selected this one for the "beginner series", after all.

Curcuma longa should be grown in well drained, organic soil, in filtered shade to part sun. It does not seem to be too picky about its growing requirements. As with all my "beginner series" gingers, I will include detailed growing instructions with the plant.

Curcuma domestica/longa

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