How To Protect Ginger Plant In Winter? (+Winter Care)

Gingers are beautiful flowering plants and very easy to grow. These flowers can spread sweet fragrances in your garden. But how do you protect the ginger plant in winter? That’s what I will share today. 

Harvest the entire ginger plant in the fall before winter or overwinter the plant by mulching and reducing watering. If you live in frosty zones, dig and store the rhizomes in a cool and dry location or grow them in pots to bring them inside in winter. 

There are many things to know about the overwintering of the ginger plants. To have thorough knowledge about protecting ginger in winter, read this article till the end.

ginger in snow

How much cold ginger plants tolerate?

Ginger plants are tropical plants ideal for the hotter zones, from 7b to 12. 

So, they need warm weather to develop well.

However, the best way to plant ginger according to the temperature is the soil temperature. 

Ginger will grow best when the soil temperature is around 75°F.

Since ginger belongs to tropical areas, they can’t tolerate a cold temperature below 50°F. 

It isn’t easy to determine whether or not the ginger plants will grow at different temperatures.

If the soil temperature is around 75°F, your rhizomes will continue to grow. 

But the problem is the temperature won’t stay like this throughout the year.

It will reduce when winter arrives.

That is why it is always recommended to plant ginger in the spring and pick them up in the fall before the frost strikes. 

The minimum temperature ginger tolerates 59-60°F.

Some ginger also tolerates the temperature of zone 6B.

The lowest temperature of this zone is -5 to 0°F.

You can only plant ginger if spring has fully arrived in this region. 

But no ginger will tolerate such low soil temperatures.

That is why protection and precaution are essential.

Can ginger plants survive winter?

As long as the rhizomes are protected and stored, ginger will survive.

Since it is a tropical plant, growing it outside its native environment and growing conditions will affect its growth and health.  

If your plants are outside in winters, most of the ginger plants will not survive.

If the temperature goes below 50-60°F, the ornamental gingers will begin to suffer.  

If the temperature drops to 5°F every time, the gingers will suffer more and ultimately start rotting. 

Gingers are far away from the frozen winters.

Such cold weather doesn’t belong to their native land. 

Can ginger plants survive frost?

Ginger is not going to survive frosty weather.

If your living area gets frost, you should grow ginger in pots to take them inside in the winter.

Frost doesn’t occur in the native lands of ginger.

So, the plant will need protection.

Ginger might survive during a quick or mild cold snap, i.e., the temperature before the frost, but not direct frost.

A mild frost will not injure the plants, but a hard frost can harm and even kill the plant. 

If the rhizomes or the plant has received mild cold damage, with proper treatments, it should come back and continue growing on the warmer days. 

Save the rhizomes and plan to plant them in the next season if they do not reach their ideal sizes. 

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Should I leave ginger outside in the ground in winter?

Ginger decay

Suppose you live in a region where the temperature drops below 50°F and the ground freezes.

In that case, leaving the rhizomes outside in the ground is not a good idea. 

But, if your region is in a hotter zone and winters are subtropical or tropical, you may leave them outside.

Not only in winters, but if your region has such a warm climate, you may leave the rhizomes in the ground for years. 

Warm weather is ginger plants’ natural environment, and they have evolved to grow and develop in such tropical environments. 

Cold injury and revival

When you leave the rhizomes outside in the ground during winters, the cold weather will cause certain issues in the plant:

  • The rhizome size will decrease.
  • The rhizomes will get frozen. 
  • The rhizomes will get killed due to the damage inside the cells due to freezing.
  • Leaves will become discolored and fall off due to freezing.
  • The plant will not flower.
  • Ultimately, the plant will die.

How to revive it?

The ginger plants will only come back if the freeze is mild and stays for a short time.

But, you should not depend upon this condition and keep your plant outside in the frost. 

When winter arrives, the rhizomes become dormant.

They save their energy to use it for the coming growing season, i.e., spring and summer. 

If the rhizome freezes, the preservation gets affected, and the cells of the rhizomes get damaged inside. 

If you wish to revive the plant back to life, you must bring them inside when the temperature begins to drop.

The revival depends on the level of damage the ginger plants have received. 

If the damage is mild, the rhizomes may come back.

But, if they are frozen, the chances of sprouting from these rhizomes are very low. 

If the plant has already received frost damage and is quite high, there is no chance of return.

The rhizomes will not sprout in the next season.

How do you take care of ginger in the winter?

Ginger sprouting 2

If you want your ginger plants to remain safe throughout the year, you must protect them from the cold weather.

For overwintering the ginger rhizomes, follow the steps below:

  1. If you live in colder zones, start ginger in pots. When the temperature begins to drop below 50-60°F, take the pot inside.
  2. Indoors, keep the pot near a window receiving a good amount of sunlight for 2-5 hours. A south or west-facing window would be great.
  3. You can also use LED Grow lights. With these lights, the plant may not go fully dormant and keep growing slowly.
  4. Don’t water or fertilize the plant if it is dormant. You can keep the soil moist if it is partially dormant. The plant will grow very slowly, requiring less water than in other seasons. 
  5. If your ginger plant is in the ground, remove the vegetation above the soil surface, dig up the rhizomes, and store them in dry peat in a cool and dry place where the temperature stays above 60°F. It stops the rhizomes from growing and rotting in the ground. 
  6. You can also grow the ginger plants in glasshouses or poly-tunnels to maintain adequate heat and temperature. This way, the plant won’t get much affected by the cold winter.
  7. Check the rhizomes every few days in winter for their growth and texture. The rhizomes need to be firm and in good health. 
  8. If you live in the warmer zones, you don’t have to bring the rhizomes inside. Protect them from the cold by mulching, reduced watering, and no fertilizing. Allow them to have some amount of sunlight to stay warm. 
  9. Once the danger of frost is over and spring arrives, you can shift the pot outside. For the rhizomes you have stored in dry places, replant them again in the spring. In the fall, you get to have bigger rhizomes and colorful flowers. 

Will ginger plants live throughout the winter season?

Not all the varieties will live in winter.

The common and edible ginger will become dormant in the winter seasons. 

However, some ornamental ginger plants can stay alive.

It completely depends on the cold level of the winter season.

If the winter is mild, the ornamental ginger will be fine, but if it is harsh, ginger will be dormant and suffer badly if not protected.  

Can I grow ginger in colder climates?

You must follow certain things if you wish to grow in colder climates. 

First, you must have a sunny spot in your garden or house where the temperature doesn’t drop below 60°F.

If your region is prone to frost, grow them in pots instead. 

Grow them in pots so that you can bring them inside in winter and keep them near a sunny window. 

Find a suitable pot with drainage holes, and make a good, well-drained soil amended with organic matter. 

Try to keep the moisture content around 60%.

In winters, it should be a little less. 

The ginger takes a little longer to develop in colder climates than in warmer climates. 

Generally, ginger takes 8-10 months to mature.

In colder months, it may take nearly one year to reach maturity. 

What challenges do ginger plants face in colder climates?

Ginger in raised bed 2

Since ginger plants enjoy warm and humid climates, they will face a few challenges in cold climates. 

The plant takes time to produce flowers.

For blooming, ginger requires 2-5 hours of direct sunlight daily.

It is difficult in colder climates because the intensity and weather are not warm enough, especially in winters.

You have to use artificial lights to fulfill their light demands. 

The next challenge is soil temperature.

Since the climate is very cold in winters, you must ensure that the soil doesn’t freeze.

Grow them in pots as a precaution. 

Activities of some bugs increase during the cold weather.

So, you must keep an eye on the plants to spot their presence and take immediate steps to eliminate them.

In colder climates, harvesting is quite a job.

The plant takes longer to reach maturity than those growing in hotter climates.

So, you have to wait till the late fall or early winter. 

If you still wish to grow ginger plants in colder climates, consider growing some cold hardy plants that can tolerate low temperatures in winters. 

Some cold-hardy gingers

Though most gingers are cold-tender, you can grow some cold-hardy ginger plants if your area gets hard winters. 

Some varieties were known to have endured temperatures around -10°F. 

So, these gingers can be easily grown in hardiness zones of 6 and above. 

Most of the ginger will lose their leaves and die at such temperatures. 

Below are some hardy gingers for areas with very cold winters:

Native Redback ginger (20°F)

  • Thai ginger (10°F)
  • Japanese ginger (10°F)
  • Variegated Shell ginger (0°F)
  • Crepe ginger (0°F)
  • Mango ginger (20°F)
  • Round rooted ginger (15°F)
  • Myoga ginger (-10°F)
  • Canada Wild ginger (14°F)

Final thoughts

Growing ginger is very easy. But protect them in winters to keep them alive throughout the year. 

If you live in hotter climates, you can grow ginger in the ground throughout the year. Let them have some sunlight in winters, reduce watering, and stop fertilizing. You can also add some mulch to protect the roots from cold weather. 

If you live in colder climates, grow ginger in pots to bring them inside in winters. It saves them from frost. Keep them near a sunny window, keep the soil moist and not soggy, and avoid fertilizing. 

If you have grown ginger on grounds or raised beds in cold climates, cut off the plant, dig up the rhizomes, and store them in a dry and dark location to prevent them from rotting and growing. It would be best to keep the rhizomes dormant so you can replant them in the next season.

You can try some cold-hardy gingers like Canada wild, Japanese ginger, Mango ginger, Thai ginger, etc.

Reference: Ginger Production, Texas AgriLife ExtensionUSDAWikipedia


Hello everyone, My name is Richa and I am here to make you a better gardener by creating an in-depth and helpful resource for all the fellow gardeners out there. If I could help even a few people understand their plants better then I call it a success for my efforts.

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