Curcuma [KER-koo-muh] is an elegant perennial summer plant with over 100 species.
It belongs to the family Zingiberaceae (ginger), which consists of notable species such as Siam Tulip and turmeric.
Curcuma and its species are native to Southern China, Southeast Asia, Northern Australia, and New Guinea.
Reportedly, some species of the tropical plant are naturalized in warmer regions of the world such as Florida, Central America, tropical Africa, and several islands (Indian, Pacific Ocean, and Atlantic Oceans).
The term “Curcuma” is derived from the Sanskrit word Kunkuma, which means turmeric.
Linnaeus (a Swedish botanist and zoologist) originally named this summer ginger in 1753.
Since then, almost 130 species of the genus have been named and described so far.
However, descriptions of some of the tropical species have remained unclear.
The two widely-known Curcuma species are Curcuma longa of the ginger family and Curcuma zedoaria.
- Exotic Curcuma Quick Care Tips
- Unlock the Secrets of Exotic Curcuma Plant Care
- Size & Growth: Embrace Curcuma's Vibrant Potential
- Flowering & Fragrance: Revel in Curcuma Flower's Aromatic Charm
- Light & Temperature: Create the Perfect Environment for Curcuma
- Watering & Feeding: Nourish Your Curcuma Plant
- How to Lay a Strong Base for Curcuma: Soil & Transplanting
- How To Keep Your Curcuma Flourishing: Grooming & Maintenance Tips
- How to Spread the Curcuma Love: Propagating the Turmeric Plant
- Protecting Your Exotic Treasure: Tackling Curcuma Pests & Diseases
- Discovering the Versatility and Uses of Curcuma Plants
The common name of Curcuma longa is “common turmeric,” while Curcuma zedoaria is Curcumanown as “white turmeric” or “zedoary.”
Exotic Curcuma Quick Care Tips
- Botanical Name: Curcuma longa
- Common Name(s): Turmeric, Indian Saffron
- Synonyms: Curcuma domestica, Curcuma aromatica
- Family & Origin: Zingiberaceae family, native to Southern China, Southeast Asia, Northern Australia, and New Guinea.
- Growability: Easy to grow
- Grow Zone: 8-11
- Size: Grows up to 3 feet tall
- Flowering: Produces small, white flowers
- Light: Prefers bright, indirect light
- Humidity: Thrives in high humidity
- Temperature: Requires warm temperatures between between 68° – 95° degrees Fahrenheit (20° – 35° C).
- Soil: Well-draining soil with a pH of 4.5-7.5
- Water: Keep soil moist but not waterlogged
- Fertilizer: Feed with a balanced fertilizer every 2-3 months
- Pests & Diseases: Susceptible to spider mites and fungal diseases
- Propagation: Propagate through rhizome division
- Plant Uses: Used in cooking, medicinal purposes, and as a natural dye
Unlock the Secrets of Exotic Curcuma Plant Care
Size & Growth: Embrace Curcuma’s Vibrant Potential
The Curcuma gingers are small, outdoor plants. They do not spread and remain to be the same size throughout the season.
During mid-summer, dense spikes of clustered flowers grace the plant. These mildly-fragrant flowers last for three weeks.
Once the flowering period is over, the turmeric becomes dormant.
The heat-loving turmeric is usually cultivated in nursery pots from rhizomes planted in early spring.
While cultivating rhizomes, make sure to plant them at a depth of 2″ – 4″ inches.
Potted plants must be set into the soil at the same level at which they typically grow in the pot.
When curcumas are grown with other flowers, they spike up to 18″ – 24″ inches in height.
Flowering & Fragrance: Revel in Curcuma Flower’s Aromatic Charm
The ginger Curcuma is recognized as one of the most vibrant summer garden plants.
During its flowering season, this plant produces bright, trumpet-shaped flower bracts with blooms in pink, white, orange, yellow, and purple hues.
They also produce bitter-smelling leaves, which make them stand out from the crowd.
Some curcuma species emerge before the foliage (hidden gingers), making the best summer cut flowers.
These small, summery flowers adorn the plant’s lengthy stems, which boast green, lance-shaped leaves with a mild scent.
They make for a gorgeous addition to garden beds, garden borders, and container gardens.
Light & Temperature: Create the Perfect Environment for Curcuma
Curcuma plants thrive best in full sun as they stay moist and healthy in hot climatic conditions.
At times, the soil of these heat-tolerant plants may dry out in warm temperatures.
This usually happens due to a lack of watering.
In such a case, it is ideal to grow curcuma in partial shade and watering them daily.
These summer-loving plants prefer moist, well-drained soil full of organic matter like compost and humus.
For optimal performance, the soil must have a high clay content and organic matter before sowing the seeds.
The ideal temperature range for curcuma to growing curcuma is between 68° – 95° degrees Fahrenheit (20° – 35° C).
The plant suffers if the temperature drops below 50° degrees Fahrenheit (10° C).
Moreover, this plant will thrive in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 11.
Watering & Feeding: Nourish Your Curcuma Plant
Curcumas have intensive water needs, requiring well-drained and moist soil to grow.
Throughout the growing season, the soil must be moist. If an area doesn’t receive much rainfall, irrigation is required to maintain moisture.
Don’t hesitate to mist the foliage in dry weather, as it helps increase the humidity levels.
Fertilize in early spring or summer with any general-purpose fertilizer or 20-20-20 soluble fertilizer every month.
With proper fertilization, the plant produces lovely flowers, which are a sight to behold.
How to Lay a Strong Base for Curcuma: Soil & Transplanting
When transplanting, apply fertilizer to this herbaceous perennial to ensure high yields – avoid overwatering.
Overwatering turns the leaves yellow.
Watering the plant every five to seven days is crucial until the canopy is well established.
Every four or five days, touch the soil with a finger, and if it is dry down about 1½” – 2″ inches, water immediately.
Keep the soil damp but avoid overdamping at all costs.
Moreover, you can add a lot of organic matter like clay or sand before planting for optimal growth performance and achieve a loamy soil consistency.
How To Keep Your Curcuma Flourishing: Grooming & Maintenance Tips
Curcumas are low-maintenance in the garden. All they require is full/partial sun and well-moist soil to flourish.
However, they need special care and attention during winter as these house plants do not hold well to cold weather. If growing in a pot, store them in a frost-free location.
During winters, bring the Curcuma container or pot indoors and allow them to enjoy filtered light and high humidity.
How to Spread the Curcuma Love: Propagating the Turmeric Plant
Curcuma turmeric grows best outdoors in maximum sunlight or part shade.
The easiest way to grow a curcuma is in a pot.
Use a pot at least 12″ inches tall and 12″ – 18″ inches wide. Fill the pot with rich, well-drained soil.
Get one or two rhizomes from the nearest organic plant store and break them into small pieces.
Place the tubers or rhizome pieces at least 2″ inches below the soil surface.
Make sure the buds or tips are facing upward.
Water the pot regularly to ensure the healthy growth of the plant.
Protecting Your Exotic Treasure: Tackling Curcuma Pests & Diseases
Owing to their pungent odor, curcumas suffer from fungal diseases and pests.
For example, spider mites may attack when the soil becomes overly dry.
Other common pests that attack this plant, especially its young leaves, include slugs and snails.
This problem is often treated by mild insecticidal sprays or soaps.
The same is done in the case of a fungal disease.
Also, water the soil to prevent harmful diseases.
Discovering the Versatility and Uses of Curcuma Plants
Several curcuma species, such as spice turmeric, are essential culinary ingredients in South Asian cuisines.
They are savored in the form of curry powder. In addition, the Curcuma plant can also be sued as food and cosmetic dye.
The turmeric rhizomes are often used in herbal medicines and for food flavoring.
These flowering houseplants have broad green leaves and attractive flowers used for indoor decoration.