Known in recent times for its many beneficial properties, the curcuma plant also very beautiful, can be grown both in soil and in pots as an ornamental indoor plant.
Curcuma longa, commonly known only as curcuma, is also known as indian saffron or, more rarely, turmeric, and is a herbaceous, perennial, rhizomatous plant belonging to the Zingiberaceae family.
There are different varieties of turmeric, these plants are all native to south-east Asia. It is mainly cultivated for the production of spices, obtained from the dried roots, often utilized in the Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
However, this plant, as we mentioned, is also grown in pots as an ornamental plant because during the flowering period the turmeric produces beautiful flowers.
As we have said, turmeric is a perennial herb, it can reach a maximum height of about one metre, planted in the ground.
The leaves are large, with a length varying from 20 to 45 cm, with an elongated petiole.
The flowers are collected in a showy inflorescence rich in large green bracts at the bottom and white or purple at the top. The green bracts form a series of pockets, which house large yellow flowers (with possible orange hues).
The flowers of Curcuma have a remarkable height, they can reach 50cm, and its flowering takes place in summer.
The root is a large cylindrical rhizome, branched, yellow or orange, strongly aromatic, which is the part of greatest commercial interest of the plant. From the dried root of this plant is produced a well-known spice, the saffron of the indies, from which it takes its name.
Over time, given its growing popularity, several varieties of this species have been developed.
The Curcuma plant, which grows spontaneously in southern Asia, from India to Malaysia, in tropical climate regions, with temperatures normally between the 20 °C and the 35 °C and with high rainfall, is nowadays cultivated in very many tropical or subtropical areas, in particular in Asia and in Africa. India is nowadays the first world producer of turmeric.
Turmeric: Cultivation and Care
The plant Curcuma of easy cultivation, can be planted either in the ground in the garden or in pots, some varieties are grown as ornamental indoor plants.
When to Plant Turmeric
Spring is the best time to plant turmeric, to give the plant the chance to grow strong and lush in the summer.
Ideal Exposure And Climate For The Turmeric Plant
Being a plant native to warm countries, it prefers temperate and fairly bright climates, it fears the cold so it should be sheltered during the coldest periods.
Soft, rich in organic substances, well drained and slightly acidic, the soil prefers turmeric.
Turmeric: How Often Should the Plant be Watered?
Frequent and regular watering in the warm periods, useful also to spray the leaves in the particularly humid periods, the watering will be suspended in the winter period, in the resting period of the plant.
Like many other plants, it fears water stagnations, therefore to avoid damages to the plant before watering, make sure that the soil is dry and well drained.
The turmeric, if planted in the garden, does not need particular fertilizations, however, if it is cultivated in pot in order to help the plant in its vegetative restart and to make it grow luxuriant, about once a month (then it depends on the specific product utilized), to administer a specific liquid fertilizer for plants and flowers diluted in water during the watering.
Propagation and Multiplication of Turmeric
Turmeric, like many other herbaceous species, can be multiplied either by division of the heads or through the rhizomes of the plant.
- Multiplication of turmeric by rhizome. The rhizome is a modification of the stem with the main function of reservoir of nutrients. Generally, this portion of the stem is buried and also has a function in the vegetative reproduction of the plant itself: in fact, it has buds that, removed and planted in pots with appropriate soil, allow the development of a new individual.
- Multiplication of the Curcuma by division of the tufts. This practice, used for the multiplication of herbaceous plants, consists in removing the plant from the ground, and physically divide the heads from the plant that we consider most appropriate and then plant them in different pots or flowerpots to obtain a new plant from the first.
Other Uses of Turmeric
Although cultivated for the production of spices for its taste and beneficial properties and as an ornamental plant, turmeric has been known and used since ancient times as a dye for fabrics. Although from this point of view, however, it is not very valuable because it tends to discolor in the sun.
Turmeric, besides giving taste, is a food coloring. In addition to various recipes, it has application in drinks, baked goods, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, biscuits, popcorn, cakes, cereals, sauces, jellies, etc..
Turmeric Medicinal Plant: Properties
Since ancient times, curcuma has been known not only as a spice, but also as an anti-inflammatory.
Moreover, this plant has an important depurative function, helping our body to expel toxins, and is a known antioxidant and antitumor.
The turmeric medicinal plant has countless beneficial properties as well as being a beautiful ornamental plant with beautiful flowers.