Home & Garden

Galangal Plant Care: Growing Ginger’s Cousin

In the Middle Ages, the spicy and spicy root of galangal was a hot commodity, and it was widely traded throughout Europe from its origin Indonesia and China. It has declined in popularity in the Western world and would have been hard to find until recently. Galangal is gaining popularity in a wide variety of Asian cuisines, especially Thai food, and the appreciation of galangal is increasing.

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Procuring fresh galangal roots can be difficult with increasing popularity. ? Galangal belongs to the cardamom family and grows on the root or rhizome. Galangal grows easily. It is a relatively low maintenance plant. Originally a charming plant that grows in Indonesia and southwest China, it’s a charming plant that makes your garden look tropical.


Galangal has two forms: larger (Alpinia galanga) and less (A. The first is large, as it can grow up to six feet, and is a common root for cooking. The small variety has a strong taste and is used for medicinal purposes. It has a small stem, which reaches the best Galangal Planting Products:

Quick Care Guide

Galangal plant
Not only does the galangal plant have tropical foliage, but edible rhizomes too. Source: thomaswanhoff
Common Name(s) Galangal, Thai ginger
Scientific Name Alpinia galanga, Alpinia officinarum
Days to Harvest Roughly a year to harvest
Light Full sun, partial shade when above 90 degrees
Water: Moist soil, avoid soggy conditions
Soil Well-draining, moist soil
Fertilizer Periodic application of balanced blend
Pests Borers, grasshoppers, aphids, spider mites
Diseases ‌Root rot, rust

All About Galangal

Let’s compares the two types you’ll have to choose from when you choose to grow galangal. Both is popular to grow, but one is a bit wider.

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Greater Galangal

Alpinia galanga flower
The flowers of Alpinia galanga can be rather showy. Source: Dick Culbert

Greater galangal (Alpinia galanga) is maybe the foremost acquainted because it is that the version utilized in cookery applications. it’s native to Indonesia and grows concerning six feet tall and has wide blade-like leaves. the tiny flowers area unit greenish-white with a dark-red patterned tip. The flowers turn out red berries. Galangal grows as a perennial and also the rhizomes, or roots, area unit what’s harvested and used when concerning one year of growth.


This version of galangal is common in several Asian cuisines and is that the main ingredient in creating Thai curry pastes, significantly those used with food. Its use is comparable to ginger, however it’s rather more dense and rigid. This density lends itself to being grated instead of shredded. The rhizomes have a zingy ginger-reminiscent flavor however area unit a lot of pungent with a pine aroma. These rhizomes area unit most frequently yellowness to white in color however some varieties area unit blue-tinged, giving it another name of blue ginger. once dried they need a lightweight brown color.

Lesser Galangal

Lesser galangal (Alpinia officinalis) is most frequently utilized in healthful applications instead of preparation. it’s a a lot of pungent and healthful flavor. The rhizomes also are a lightweight brown to orange in color. It grows smaller and reaches solely three feet tall and has skinny, long leaves. Flowers also are white with red streaks or tips. Its native territory is on the southeast Chinese coast.


Planting Galangal

Alpinia officinarum produces spikes of smaller, less-showy flowers. Source: petahopkins

Growing galangal is simple in gardens settled in hotter climates like zones nine or higher. It needs very little attention throughout the season. the foremost troublesome is to attend to urge it established before gathering. Climates with harsher winter can have some problem and should need further mulching and use of greenhouse to forestall roots from decay.

Plant the galangal rootstock once soil has warm within the spring. as an alternative, you’ll begin inside in a very heat location to urge a vantage. Avoid soggy or water-logged conditions. Galangal won’t tolerate however will want it dampish therefore often water in well-drained soil.

To start to grow galangal, you may want heat conditions. It’s counseled to start out rhizomes inside with a heat mat. this can reduce the time for the foundation to sit down and look ahead to the proper conditions to start out to sprout. merely place a rootstock in dampish, well-draining soil and canopy it with many inches of soil. many shoots can emerge.

Transplant plants to the garden once any danger of frost has passed. choose a location with full sun. every rootstock can doubtless have many eyes or points wherever shoots can emerge. Place rhizomes twelve inches apart to permit for area of what is going to ultimately be a bigger bushy plant.

Galangal is fully grown in a very instrumentality, raised bed, or in-ground. as a result of it’s a perennial which will need a year to urge established before gathering, think about this long wait in your designing stages. Galangal is frost sensitive therefore if trying in a very cooler zone you will wish to think about a instrumentality which will be rapt inside or into a greenhouse.


Also, note that it will get quite tall, up to six feet for the larger selection. you are doing not wish to excessively shade close garden plants, however you will be able to use the shade to your advantage. Once established it’s comparatively simple to maneuver, however if attainable choose a permanent location for planting.

Galangal Plant Care

The base of galangal plants is a mass of thick, woody stalks. Source: Ahmad Fuad Morad

Galangal could be a low-maintenance plant and conditions ar similar for each galangal sorts.

Sun and Temperature

Provide a location within the garden that may receive full sun for abundant of the day, notably in winter. Galangal originates from tropical zones and is best fully grown in zones nine and better. Those areas that get excessive heat ought to be ready to water additional ofttimes to produce afternoon shade throughout the foremost intense time of the year, notably if your plants are  younger. throughout winter in cooler zones the galangal can got to have the employment of a greenhouse or indoor growing location. Galangal is incredibly sensitive to frost and cold conditions.

Water and humidness

Galangal would force regular ample water within the starting.  Once the plants ar more experienced throughout the autumn and winter months, less wetness is needed. Water ofttimes and deeply to ascertain those roots. A drip or soaker hose is incredibly useful. Then, once the plant is established, container be dialed back to simply maintaining dampish soil. Being a tropical plant, it will like humidness, therefore if growing during a naturally dry place think about inserting it close to a fountain or pool.


To grow galangal, you’ll additionally would like well-draining soil. A garden combine with legion organic matter can allow evacuation whereas additionally retentive wetness. The soil mustn’t be allowed to utterly dry out or be overly wet or water-logged. sporadically top-dress with compost and mulch.



Galangal can take pleasure in regular balanced fertilizing. Use liquid fertilizers on a monthly basis, or once leaves ar wanting stressed. Imping up the water also will facilitate.


To keep your growing galangal plant wanting healthy you’ll prune away brown, dead leaves or bloomed-out flower stalks with some clean shear. New growth can continue. however note that galangal won’t shrivel up like ginger. Browning is a sign of a tangle like underwatering.


Galangal grows from its tasty stem, therefore make certain to not consume everything you harvest. Leave a number of the rhizomes growing to possess a continuous provide. you’ll additionally transplant rhizomes to new planting locations and begin new plants.

Harvesting and Storing

Storing galangal
Freeze galangal whole or chopped for later use. Source: skrubtudse

It is counseled to let your galangal stand to induce well established and grow for ten months to a year before gathering the roots. The larger galangal selection ought to be around six feet tall and therefore the Alpinia officinarum selection ought to be a pair of ½ – three feet tall before harvest home.


Galangal harvests is worn out 2 alternative ways. you’ll either search out your entire patch, or harvest some roots at a time.

When doing an oversized harvest, employing a pitchfork or potato fork is most well-liked to pry out the rhizomes. use caution to induce beneath the rhizomes to avoid breaking injury. If growing in an exceedingly instrumentality, it’s going to be easier to dump the contents out. avoid wasting of the rhizomes and plant once more. launder all dirt and interrupt the little, stringy roots and therefore the stem. The larger galangal root can scab over and is way denser and durable than different roots like ginger or turmeric.

If gathering all provides you an excessive amount of to method or maybe you like contemporary over dried you will need to reap some roots at a time on a continuous basis. try this by dig round the base of the clump, revealing the roots, and employing a sharp clean knife to chop off what you would like. lay the foundation mass. choose a special facet of the patch whenever to permit antecedently harvested areas to recover.


Galangal can store contemporary in AN airtight instrumentality for some of weeks however is vulnerable to drying out quickly. To store whole roots, wrap in an exceedingly damp fabric and place within the icebox or freeze. It may also be dehydrated and fine-grained. Store the dried forms in AN air-tight instrumentality for months. Dried slices is rehydrated before cookery. Dried includes a a lot of focused intensity therefore modify the formula consequently.


Galangal root
The rhizomes or roots of galangal are commonly used culinarily. Source: Farmanac

Because galangal may be a tropical plant, most issues area unit associated with conditions that area unit too dry or cold than its natural territory. luckily, there don’t seem to be several blighter and malady problems once planting galangal.

Growing issues

Galangal leaves ought to seem shiny and inexperienced. Yellowing would possibly indicate that it doesn’t have enough nutrients. got wind of the soil with nutrients at the onset of planting and maintain regular feeding. it’s additionally doable that the galangal plants area unit overcrowded and competitor for nutrients. Place rhizomes a minimum of twelve inches apart, and if they’re big to the adult size it should be time to reap and skinny out the plants.



Galangal will be stricken by many pests that eat the underground roots like borers. once you harvest, if you notice pits on the rhizomes, it’d be best to dig all of them up and notice a brand new spot with cleaner soil. don’t plant alveolate rhizomes. amount rotating of the galangal location can facilitate over the long-run.

Grasshoppers, aphids, and presumably spider mites may be interested in your galangal. If your plants area unit well established the simplest resolution may be to chop off infected leaves. For a moderate infestation, nim tree oil can handle the aphids and spider mites, whereas BT could assist with the grasshoppers. giant infestations could need applications of pyrethrin or spinode.

Ensuring plants area unit well patterned and fertile can create them less at risk of these pests. Unhealthy plants attract a lot of pests.


Rust may be a problem for your galangal, notably if there’s an excessive amount of wetness and wetness. If you reside in an exceedingly} very wet space, avoid watering prime growth to reduce rust conditions and spreading to clean areas. Prune off any infected parts. each sulfur and copper primarily based fungicides will be effective for treating giant scale infections.

Root rot of the rhizomes will occur if soils area unit too cold and soggy. beware to pick out the correct location making certain lots of sun and emptying.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is galangal and ginger identical thing?

A: No, galangal and ginger ar a part of identical family, monocot family, and thus have similar-looking and growing properties. however the style and preparation uses ar distinct.

Q: What will galangal style like?

A:  Galangal may be a hot, ginger-like flavor. Alpinia officinarum is additional pungent and medicative than bigger galangal.

Q: are you able to eat galangal leaves?

A: Yes! Galangal leaves ar most typically wont to impart flavor in a very broth or soup.

The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:

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