Pot plants: Turmeric, Curcuma alismatifolia

Pot plants: Turmeric, Curcuma alismatifolia

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Classification, origin and description

Common name: Turmeric.
Kind: Turmeric.

Family: Zingiberaceae.

provenance: originating in the Far East and Australia.

Genre description: includes about forty species; C. alismatifolia is native to Thailand and Burma.

Turmeric alismatifolia (photo Nelli Elena)

Species and varieties

Turmeric alismatifolia: has long lanceolate, shiny, light green leaves; in summer, large pinkish flowers bloom at the apex of 60-70 cm tall stems, erect. Curcume develop fleshy rhizomes, which in Asia are used, dried and shredded, as a coloring agent and as a food spice. The flowers have a very particular shape, the flowering lasts a long time. The exotic beauty of the flowers, very similar to the Lotus Flowers, in the colors white, pink, purple and yellow, the very long duration if cut (three weeks or more), the erect behavior of both the flowers and the lanceolate foliage, has meant that was positively introduced commercially both as a cut flower and as a potted flowering plant. The rhizomes are kept in a cool and dry place, with a minimum temperature above 15 ° C.

Turmeric longa

Turmeric alismatifolia (photo Nelli Elena)

Curcuma longa (Berlin Botanical Garden) (photo website)

Environmental requirements, substrate, fertilizations and special precautions

Temperature: needs temperatures above 12-15 ° C, even during the winter months. It prefers bright positions, but not directly exposed to sunlight.
Substrate: it needs soft and light soil, well endowed with organic substance, well drained, neutral or slightly acidic.
watering: being a plant of tropical origins, it needs a warm, humid environment; from early spring to early autumn it must be watered regularly and in abundance, avoiding stagnant water in the saucer. If the climate is very dry, it is better to periodically vaporize the leaves. Towards the beginning of autumn the leaves begin to turn yellow: from this moment the administration of water must be suspended, allowing the leaves to dry out. The rhizome will enter a dormant period, during which watering is avoided, leaving the pot in a cool and dry place, with temperatures above 15 ° C. It starts to water again when the buds of the new leaves sprout from the ground.


Year after year, the rhizomatous roots tend to form large tufts, small portions can be removed, potted individually, giving rise to new plants.

Diseases, pests and adversities

- They can rarely be affected by cochineal; if watered during the winter months, root rot can occur, which can quickly lead to the death of the plant.

- During warm periods the plant can be attacked by red spider mite and aphids.

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