Ginger plants are used for various purposes, and if you are growing them, it is frustrating to witness no growth or development in them. So, today, we will go through the reasons behind this problem.
The ginger plants don’t grow well if they don’t receive favorable conditions like proper sun, nutrients, moisture, and warmth. Apart from that, pests and diseases like fungal disease, root rot, etc., can also lead to stunted growth of a ginger plant.
To figure out what conditions are responsible for affecting the growth of ginger plants and how we can fix them, go through this article till the end. We will also share some tips for caring gingers.
Why are my ginger plants not growing?
Ginger plants can easily grow and develop well if given the right care and requirements on time.
But, if you do something wrong or if there’s any pest or disease attack, your ginger plants will face problems.
Let’s look at the situations where the ginger plants might stop growing.
1. Lack of moisture
Gingers love plenty of moisture.
Their moisture levels have to be around 60%.
You must water the plant at least once a week to keep them moist consistently.
If you keep it dry for a long time, you will not see any development.
First, the plant will stop growing, and then the leaves will become dry, yellow, and papery.
The same happens when the humidity levels are very low.
Gingers need at least 70-80% humidity levels.
Though the problem is rare outside, gingers will still have issues with low humidity.
The summers are so hot and dry that the plants lack moisture.
Even the humidity levels get lower.
If the condition prolongs for a very long time, your plant will have stunted growth and ultimately die.
How do I correct the moisture levels?
If you want your plant to grow back again, you have to identify the reason for it.
Check the soil if your plant is not growing.
If it is very dry, then water the plant thoroughly and immediately.
If ginger was not growing due to moisture levels, it should start showing growth signs within some days or weeks.
If the problem is humidity, use a mulch to prevent moisture evaporation from the soil.
Mist your ginger plants regularly to keep the plant close to the water source.
You can also try other ways like keeping water trays around the plant or water pebbles if you grow ginger in pots.
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2. Lack of nutrients
Ginger plants are high feeders and need a lot of nutrients to survive in the long run.
Adding some composted manure 2-3 times a year or liquid fertilizer once a month keeps the plant in good health.
If your plant suddenly shows signs like brown edges and yellow centers on the leaves, it is dealing with low nutrient levels.
Over time, the plant will stop growing because they are not getting enough nutrients required for good growth and development.
How to deal with the problem?
If you see that your plants have brown leaf tips and yellow centers and the plant is not showing any visible growth, recall the last time you fertilized your plant.
If you have not added compost to your soil before planting, add it now.
Once the new shoots appear in the plant, start fertilizing your plant every month with a liquid fertilizer having a 10-20-20 NPK value.
It will give the plant adequate nutrients and help them thrive and grow well.
If you haven’t done it, start right after seeing those signs.
However, you may not see such signs if you have used compost at the beginning of planting.
You can also add chicken manure two to three times per year.
Another option is to use seaweed or fish emulsion every 6-8 weeks.
Your plant should start growing within a few weeks after fertilizer application if the reason behind no growth is poor nutrition.
3. Poor soil quality
Ginger plants need well-drained, fertile soil to remain healthy.
A bad quality soil can give rise to various issues and stunt plant growth.
Ginger plants don’t grow well in clayey or sandy soils.
Clay soil retains moisture for a very long time and becomes compact over time.
It hinders not only plant growth but also rhizome development.
Sandy soil, on the other hand, drains water so fast that the plant doesn’t get the chance to absorb it.
Even the nutrients don’t get absorbed well and drain faster.
The best soil is loamy soil or compost soil.
How do I improve the soil quality?
You must add compost to your soil bed before planting the ginger rhizomes.
It improves soil drainage, retention, and fertility.
Add sand, perlite, peat moss, or vermiculite to amend the soil and improve drainage if it is very clayey.
Adding a layer of mulch is also beneficial.
Mulch improves soil fertility when it breaks down and mixes with the soil.
If your soil is nutrient deficient, mulching can help improve it.
4. Weed growth
While growing the ginger plants, you must ensure that the location is free from weeds.
Excessive weed growth can stunt plant growth.
How? Let’s understand.
When there are many weeds around your ginger plants, both fight for sunlight, water, and nutrients.
Due to this, the weeds keep taking up all the moisture and nutrients you provide your ginger plants.
As a result, the gingers don’t receive anything, for which they can’t develop or grow well.
The weeds are of no use to us, but the gingers are.
So, if weeds keep taking the nutrients that gingers require, the latter will suffer from stunted growth.
Weeds can also attract several bugs and pathogens.
So, removing them is very important.
How to control weed growth?
The easy way to get rid of the weeds is to remove them with your hands from time to time.
Grab them and pull them out of the ground.
The fewer the weeds, the healthier your gingers will be.
Add a layer of mulch around the ginger plants.
These mulches can suppress weed growth.
Keep your surroundings neat and clean, and get rid of the debris.
Some sap-sucking insects suck the sap of the plant and make the plant malnourished.
Due to the lack of nourishment, the plant stops growing further.
Notorious pests like aphids and scales are found in almost every garden.
They are very difficult to spot.
The only way to understand the presence of these pests is to watch for the signs of damage, like no growth improvement, stunted leaf growth, yellow leaves, etc.
Even the rhizomes face stunted growth.
How do I get rid of the pests?
When your plants get attacked by pests, don’t panic if the damage is at the initial stage.
With proper steps, your plant will grow back again.
Here are the steps to deter pests:
- Release natural predators like ladybugs, lacewings, birds, toads, snakes, etc.
- Use neem oil in the affected areas to remove the pests. Neem oil works great for all types of pests and is natural and safe.
- Water the plant with good force to dislodge the pests.
- Try planting some deterrent plants like mint, lemongrass, marigolds, etc. Their strong smell will keep the bugs away from the plant.
- Try killing the sap-suckers systemically by adding Imidacloprid. The chemical gets soaked by the soil and then further by the plants. When the bugs try to suck the sap, they absorb the chemical and die.
Gingers will get attacked by many diseases.
Some common diseases that cause stunted growth:
- Bacterial wilt
- Fusarium yellow
- Dry rot
- Rhizome rot
In bacterial wilt, first, the green leaves curl and roll.
Over time, the plant wilts, stop growing, and the leaves become yellow.
Along with the plant, the rhizomes also suffer from stunted growth and affect rhizome production.
The rhizomes and stems will have grayish-brown spots in the worst cases.
The pathogens cause the disease in the soil due to the previously infected plants.
In the case of Fusarium rot, the leaves become yellow, starting with the lower leaves and spreading to the other leaves.
The plant will also stop growing due to this disease.
If the condition stays long, the plant will die before harvest.
The next disease is dry rot.
The tips of the leaves will become yellow, especially the lower leaves.
As the disease progresses, the upper leaves will also turn yellow.
Eventually, the leaves will dry out, and the plant will not grow anymore.
Dry rot can result from some fungus or nematodes attacking the plant.
Rhizome rot, also called soft rot or pythium rot, rots the rhizomes and roots of the plant and prevents the plant from growing.
The stems will become yellow, and the rhizomes will smell bad.
The reason for rhizome rot is prolonged overwatering.
How do I control diseases?
All the diseases don’t have any treatment, except Rhizome rot.
You must discard the plant’s rotten parts in rhizome rot and apply some fungicides to the affected areas to reverse the problem.
If the damage level is beyond 50%, saving can be difficult.
So, try avoiding overwatering.
In case of other diseases, you must discard the whole plant to prevent the diseases from spreading.
They don’t have any treatment, and prevention is the only way out.
Some ways to control all the diseases are:
- Avoid waterlogged soil and excess watering. Ginger does require lots of moisture, but you must let the soil surface dry before the next watering.
- Make sure the soil you are using is not heavy but well-drained. Loamy soil is the best one for gingers.
- Consider crop rotation with 1,3, and 5-year gaps to prevent the pathogens from passing to the good plants.
- Plant some mints and lemongrasses before planting ginger, then plow the soil. The essential oils released from these plants will kill the present pathogens.
- Keep the surroundings of the soil clean and tidy. Solarize the soil bed for 40 days before planting ginger.
- Plant rhizomes or seeds treated with warm water.
- Whenever you use any gardening tools, disinfect them before and after use. Otherwise, the pathogens will stay and get transferred to other plants when you use them.
- Use genetically modified ginger variants. Though organic gingers are good, they have weak DNA and can be prone to diseases.
How to care for the ginger plants?
- Let gingers have dappled sunlight throughout the day or direct sunlight only for 2-5 hours.
- Water the ginger plant 1-2 times per week. Neither let the whole soil dry nor let the plant sit over a pool of water.
- Use well-drained, loamy, and fertile soil for gingers.
- Fertilize the plant every month throughout the growing seasons.
- Maintain 70-90% humidity.
- Protect them from cold temperatures.
- Control weed growth by removing them manually or adding mulch.
- Observe your plant daily for pests and diseases and take immediate action to eliminate them.
Since there are several reasons for gingers not growing, you must confirm the issue by trying every possible way to restart plant growth.
For example, try increasing the moisture content if you think the plant is not growing due to a lack of moisture. If the plant starts growing back, it is not growing due to low moisture content.
This way, try every possible method to know which situation is responsible for the problem. The common reasons are lack of moisture and nutrients, bad soil, weed growths, and pests and diseases.
Reference: Ginger Production, Texas AgriLife Extension, USDA, Wikipedia