Galangal (Blue Ginger or Laos Ginger)
The Galangal plant is also known as Blue Ginger and Laos Ginger. It is grown for the rhizome or root which is an essential, and popular ingredient in Lao and Thai food amongst many other cuisines. The botanical name is Alpinia galanga..
The root of this plant that looks like a large version of ginger, however it a pale yellow with a pinkish skin. A fiery but sweeter and more delicate taste than that of ginger. Often used as a ginger substitute where a more subtle taste is required.
How to grow Galangal
Best planted in early spring, Galangal is not difficult to grow given good soil, moisture and warmth.
It grows from a rhizome, so you can start it of with a piece from a market or supermarket.
- Choose a warm protected position, dappled shade is good.
- Prepare the soil well digging in well rotted compost and aged cow manure.
- Ensure that drainage is good. Although Galangal does like moisture it also requires good drainage.
- The rhizome should be planted just below the surface.
- Plant rhizomes around 25 cm apart to allow for good root development.
- Keep moist through the growing season.
- Use a low nitrogen type fertiliser, we use Seamungus.
- A foliar spray every few weeks can also be beneficial.
- In cooler climates start Galangal off in spring under a mini greenhouse for extra warmth.
- Harvest in late summer to autumn. You can dig around gently and find the biggest rhizomes rather than harvest all at once.
Yes you can grow Galangal in containers if you wish. Try a mixture of 50% potting mix, 40% compost 10% perlite (for drainage).
Curcuma xanthorrhiza is greater galangle while Alpinia officinarum syn. A. galangal is lesser galangle. Now we are really not to sure about the difference between these two, they are both similar to ginger
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Galangal is available from good grocery stores and markets. Rhizomes are also offered for sale online.