More than 100 species of Curcuma [KER-koo-muh] are found in the wild in the summer months. It’s a member of the Zingiberaceae family, which includes such well-known plants as the Siam Tulip and turmeric. Southern China, Southeast Asia, northern Australia, and New Guinea are all home to Curcuma and its relatives.
It’s been reported that some tropical plant species have become naturalized in hotter places of the planet like Florida and Central America (Indian, Pacific Ocean, and Atlantic Oceans). Curcuma is derived from the Sanskrit word “Kunkuma,” which meaning turmeric. Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist and biologist, first gave this summer ginger its name in 1753. Since then, about 130 species of the genus have been identified and documented.
Some tropical species’ descriptions, on the other hand, remain hazy. Among the Curcuma species are the ginger family members Curcuma longa and Curcuma zedoaria. White turmeric, or zedoary, refers to curcuma longa, while “common turmeric” refers to curcuma zedoaria.
5 Things You Need to Know About Curcuma
Because it is curcuma season (we deliver them to stores in late May, June, July, and August), we are getting a lot of inquiries regarding these amazing plants. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. To make the most of your curcuma, here are five fun facts about it.
Perfect for Pots?
Curcuma can be grown as a potted plant or in garden beds and borders. Fortunately, it flourishes anyway! This plant thrives in moist, well-drained and organically rich soil if it is grown in the ground. Organic matter should be added liberally to sandy or clayey soil before planting.
Sun or Shade?
Sun or shade, these tropical beauties thrive. For me, the morning sun and a sliver of shade in the afternoon work well. It is possible, however, to grow them in a location that is always exposed to sunlight.
Do They Spread?
When it comes to curcumas, they don’t really spread, so they should be the same size when you buy them at the end of the season. Even if you leave them in the same spot year after year, they will continue to send up a few new leaves, but they will remain little.
What About Winter?
Curcumas are unable to survive cold winters because they are native to non-frosty regions. Plant new ones every year or keep them in a frost-free location throughout the winter if you live somewhere that gets freezing temperatures. Become familiar with the care of curcuma in the winter.
Is It a Houseplant?
Since curcumas go dormant (lose their leaves and blossoms) when the days get short, they aren’t good houseplants. The plant will die back in the fall and you will be left with an empty pot until late spring, even if you put it in a sunny window throughout the summer.
How to Care for Curcuma in Winter
Curcuma in winter care is a frequently asked question at this time of year. The candy-colored, pine-cone-shaped blossoms on these stunning tropical plants steal the stage. The good news is that curcuma is a tropical perennial, so if you give it the right care throughout the year, you can enjoy its beauty outdoors in your yard for years to come.
Preventing Curcuma Leaf Damage During the Winter in Cold Climates
For curcuma planted in the ground, carefully dig the tubers in fall, when the plant’s foliage begins to turn yellow. Gently clean loose soil from the tubers, then let them dry in a warm, sunny place for a day or so. Once the tubers are dry, store them in a container with coarse sand or peat moss. Allow the container to breathe by not sealing it. It’s best to store curcuma tubers in a cool place (50F/10C) over winter. You don’t want the tubers to completely dry up over winter, so sprinkle just a small splash of water in the sand/moss periodically.
In the fall, when the plant’s foliage turns yellow, carefully remove the tubers from the ground. Allow the tubers to dry for a few days in a warm, sunny location after gently cleaning off any loose soil. If you want to keep the tubers dry, mix them with coarse sand or peat moss in a container. Allow the container to breathe by not sealing it. Curcuma tubers should be kept cool (50F/10C) during the winter. Over the winter, you don’t want the tubers to entirely dry out, so sprinkle just a small splash of water in the sand/moss every now and again.
During the fall, carefully remove the curcuma tubers from the ground, when the plant’s foliage is turning yellow. You should gently clean the tubers and allow them to dry in a warm, sunny spot over night. You can store the dried tubers in sand or peat to keep them moist. Make sure the container isn’t completely sealed, so that it can breathe. Winter storage of curcuma tubers is best done in a cool location (50F/10C). You don’t want the tubers to completely dry out over the winter, so sprinkle just a small splash of water in the sand/moss periodically.
Subtropical climates are the best place to grow curcuma in containers because they don’t freeze over in the winter. During dormancy, the curcuma plants should be moved to an area where the empty pots will not bother you. Alternatively, if you want to leave the containers in place, you can plant them with vibrant winter annuals.
Curcuma’s winter upkeep is as simple as that. Ignore them as soon as they go inactive.
How To Propagate The Turmeric Plant
Curcuma turmeric thrives best in full sun or partial shade when grown in the open air.
In a pot, a curcuma is the simplest to grow.
Using a pot that is at least 12′′ tall and 12′′ – 18′′ broad is recommended. Fill the pot to the brim with nutrient-rich soil that drains nicely.
Break a few rhizomes from your local organic plant store into little pieces and place them in a ziplock bag.
When planting rhizomes and tubers, be sure that they are not visible above ground level.
Get the buds or tips pointing up.
To ensure the plant’s health, water the pot on a regular basis.
Curcuma Pests & Diseases
It is because of their pungent odor that curcuma plants are susceptible to fungal diseases and pests.
A spider mite infestation may occur if the soil becomes very dry.
Mild insecticidal sprays or soaps are frequently used to combat this issue.
In the case of a fungal disease, the same procedure is followed.
The soil should also be watered to prevent the spread of illness.
Curcuma Plant Uses
In South Asian recipes, curcuma species such as turmeric are a key element.
Curry powder is a popular way to enjoy them.
For herbal treatments and food flavoring, turmeric rhizomes are popular.
For indoor decorating, these plants offer broad green foliage and beautiful blossoms.