Galangal question

April 23, 2003


I'm in the process of setting up a special "Thai" spice space in my greenhouse to grow a Kaffir lime tree, Holy basil and lemon grass plants. I just purchased three Galangal Rhizomes via the internet. My question may sound kind of stupid but the "rhizome" is the part you would actually use in cooking right? the leaves and such are not used? I suppose you would have to dig up the whole plant to get to the rhizome? I am totally confused here. How do you use the rhizome for cooking without killing the whole plant? I have used this herb many times before but I purchased it frozen at a Thai grocery. Can anybody shed some light on this for me? Also does the plant prefer shade to sun? I know they like humid conditions. Do they prefer any specific type of soil?


Comments (15)

  • Daisyduckworth

    You don't have to dig up the entire plant to get at usable amounts of the root. Like ginger, new bits just keep growing, and it can spread quite some distance. If your plant isn't quite ready for that sort of selective digging, you can dig up the roots, but make sure to plant some of the root back again. It will soon become a new plant. In any case, you don't harvest galangal until the plants are 4-6 years old, in autumn or winter, at the end of the growing season, when they are large enough to be of use.

  • Phyllisb914


    Thank you so much for the information!

  • Aubergine Texiana

    I want to know about the Holy Basil! is this the stuff the hindus call Tulsi or Tulasi?

    I'd be really interested in finding a source...

  • hemnancy

    I found fresh galangal at an Asian market, stored in water, and it has sprouted. I planted it outside so hope it will be hardy in z 8 and multiply.

  • gonebananas_gw

    In the same vein and with another ginger relative, I have purchased tumeric rhizomes from the vegetable bin at an organic food store and readily sprouted and grown them. They are even flowering right now.

  • lisa_amir

    Hi Gone Bananas,

    I want to sprout fresh tumeric. The leaves are essential for some indonesian curries. I bought four rhizomes that had buds that looked like they could sprout. Seems like the roots always have two rows of buds, one on each side of the root.

    How did you root it? Plant it? if so, how deep, and were buds facing up? Or, did you have it in water till it sprouted? would love your or anyone else's help! Thanks!

    Lisa Amir

  • chaman

    Hi Ana53,
    Holy Basil is same as Tulasi used by Hindus in relligious ceremonies.You may buy seeds at

  • gonebananas_gw

    The tubers of tumeric are long, so you just plant them flat (sideways). I soaked them in an abundance of tepid water for a few hours not so much to help them sprout directly but to try to soak away any sprouting inhibiter that might have been applied. I chose rhizomes that looked like they had at least one healthy plump "bud." And planted them about twice their width, about an 1-1.5 inch down.

    Regaeding growing them in z. 8, I give them a thick winter cover to keep the rhizomes from freezing but otherwize they stay outdoors.

  • LovinRoses

    Where on the internet can I purchase the Galangal rhizomes??

  • SnowKatt

    I have ginger started and I want to grow Turmeric and now I want to grow Galangal as well. I know Turmeric and Ginger both grow well indoors. What I would like to know is will Galangal grow indoors in a large pot. I live in Ontario Canada and I know that none of these plants will grow outdoors here. And if I can grow it in a pot where would I find some in Toronto.


  • rita_from_mo

    Hi. I did the ginger from the groser and it is doing great indoors,Can I have someone send my some Tumeric & Galangal root .Would gladly renburse.Thanks
    e-mail me if you can help me out .

  • lynnt

    Galangal and turmeric roots are both readily available year-round from ethnic grocers here in the Washington DC area (notably Korean or Indian places) but it's 22 degrees out and anything sent to you now from DC would be frozen and worthless by the time it reached you. I'd like to raise these again, but Han ah Reum, my favorite source, only sells the rhizomes in packages of two or three pounds, more than I want to buy for my own use.

    Soooo, if you haven't gotten any locally by, say, mid-April, contact me and for postage I will happily split a package of each among whoever wants them.


  • mushiman77

    am thinking about putting a galangal root in some soil here in minnesota if I can keep any from the grater. Any one have any more experince growing indoors with the tumeric, ginger, galangals? should be interestin with four hour direct light a day-if I move it around. maybe just get a lamp for it. House usually kept around 68f.

  • jufang

    I recently acquired rhizomes for Greater Galangal, Lesser Galangal, Kra Chai (Boesenbergia Pandurata), and Turmeric. I am new to growing things from rhizomes and had some questions. I haven't seen anything out of the turmeric plant yet. I just potted the rhizome, kept it moist and covered it with a clear plastic sheet with holes poked in for ventilation and kept it in partial sun at about 80-85F for 3.5 weeks. Does it just take a long time to sprout or did I do something wrong. Perhaps I planted it wrong. The instructions said plant with the crown facing up. The crown was broken, so I planted the individual pieces vertically, which according to others on this forum may have been incorrect. With the kra chai and galangal, I put the bulbous end down and left the cropped off shoot part pointing up, covering the whole thing with at least 0.5 in. soil. Is this the correct way to plant galangal?

    With regard to obtaining rhizomes, I found the ones from Uwajimaya and 99 Ranch Market didn't sprout. I believe the grocery stores may use inhibitors as others mentioned. I got my rhizomes online from Tropilab and Horizon Herbs. You can find those online.

  • trianglejohn

    I have a shady yard so gingers work well for me since they don't require full sun to grow a crop. Galangal and Ginger root tend to grow the same except that the Galangal gets much bigger. I prefer to grow it in a large pot so that it won't take over the flower bed. It is very hardy and will survive a mild winter (I'm in Raleigh NC, zone 7b). Ginger root is easy to start, just keep it moist and warm and once you see green sprouts plant it by laying it on top of moist soil either in the garden or in a pot. The roots do grow quite a bit throughout the summer so make it sure it is a wide pot otherwise you'll stunt its growth. I seem to get more root development from growing in the ground. It is not winter hardy at all and is very difficult to keep alive except in a moist and bright room inside. I often just have to buy more roots in the spring rather than even try.
    To start either of these two I simple wash them off and wrap in damp paper towels and set them on a window sill where they will be warm, preferably over 70 degrees. They should sprout in few weeks. I usually have to wash off some mold or rot before they really get going but they seem to recover just fine. If the roots start to rot I leave them unwrapped and keep them a little dryer. The secret is warmth, they will just lay there dormant if the room is cool. They like it very warm and damp when they are growing.

    I also grow Cardamom. It never blooms but the leaves are great for a tropical spicy scent with just about any type of food. It is winter hardy in this area so I grow some in the ground and some in pots just in case we have an extreme winter. It will take over a pot very fast. It never seems to go dormant. Even in the winter if I dig down through the deep layer of leaf mulch the Cardamom leaves are still green and alive. The cold does affect the health of the plant but it is such a fast grower that it recovers quickly once summer gets here.

    Turmeric is a tricky one to get sprouted. Easy to grow once you get sprouts and such a delight to have in the kitchen whenever you need it but I can never control how or when the roots will sprout. They seem to have the ability to lay dormant for years. They seem to need a certain degree of warmth and moisture in order to signal the root to sprout. Sometimes they sprout within weeks and other times (under the same conditions) they sprout in months. One thing I do with them is I leave the roots cleaned of all dirt and completely dry in a clay pot sitting in an out of the way place. I mean a small clay flowerpot with maybe 8-10 root clusters piled up together, just a jumble, no rhyme or reason. Someplace I can keep an eye on them to make sure they aren't rotting but where they won't get sun burned or rained on. I soak them if they start to shrivel but they rarely do (I have them outside where it is moist). Like I said, they can take many months to sprout but when they do they seem to build a lot of root with only a few leaves so I get a healthy supply of new roots each fall.

    I buy most of my gingers at the Asian grocery store. They are very cheap so I am not saving money growing them at home but my garden doesn't have much light so I need all the shade crops I can get. Most years I can grow a lot of roots but I tend to give them away as Christmas presents rather then save them for next years garden.

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