How to Care for Curcuma in South Florida

Growing Curcuma in South Florida

How To Care For Curcuma In Winter-a-curcuma-flowering-plant
A Curcuma Flowering Plant

Curcuma is a perennial plant that’s native to tropical South Asia and belongs to the ginger family Zingiberaceae, there are some 80 species of these garden beauties that are scattered throughout northern Australia, Papua New Guinea, China, and India. Thirty species of Curcuma are said to be “discovered in Thailand”. Curcuma produces large green Canna-like foliage (leaves) and pine cone-shaped flowers.

These beautiful flowers range in colors from white, pink, or purple, the addition of Curcuma to your borders or flower beds will help to provide the color pop. While some species of Curcuma are used as ornamental plants others are said to be used as “dyes and foods”.

Curcuma can be grown in coastal areas where there is moderate salt spray and can be seen growing along the Florida coast. Curcuma can either be purchased as a potted plant or grow from rhizomes.

Planting Location

Curcuma grows best when exposed to six hours of sunlight so ensure when installing, install in an area that gets this amount of light.

Soil Type

Curcuma loves well-drained soil, the addition of organics before planting for example compost, well-aged chicken manure, cow manure or peat moss will aid in onditioning your soil to retain the right amount of moisture but will allow excess to drain through.

Watering Method

During the spring and summer months water Curcuma once weekly, don’t allow the soil to dry out. The soil should be moist at all times not waterlogged or water-saturated for plants to thrive. During the winter months decrease watering.

Fertilizing Methods

In the spring and summer fertilize Curcuma with a water- souble fertilizers for example 20-20-20 for healthy growth. Before applying fertilizers read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results.

Temperature and Humidity

The ideal conditions for the proper growth of Curcuma are humid environments along with sufficient rainfall and moderate to warm temperatures.

How To Care For Curcuman South Florida-curcuma-flowers
A Curcuma Flowers

Pest Control of Curcuma

  • Keep a watch for slugs and spider mites, slugs will eat the small tender leaves, and signs of slug are either parts or the entire leaves will be missing besides seeing them. Bring control by handpicking and throwing them in a container of soapy water. Using slug or snail bait will also bring control.
  • Spider mites are tiny insects that are difficult to spot with the naked eye, these insects do damage by sucking the plant’s fluid which will cause the leaves to turn yellow followed by browning and leaf drop.  If spider webbing is present is another indication of spider mite infestation. To bring control apply insecticidal soap mildly or read the manufacturer’s directions for the best results.

Disease Control of Curcuma

  • Root rot is encouraged because of excess moisture or overwatering, in this case, cut back on the amount of moisture that’s applied and monitor irrigation practices.
  • Bacterial wilt is encouraged when the soil’s temperatures rise, signs of this disease are yellowing and spotting on Curcuma leaves and leaf curl. If this disease is allowed to persist decay will set in causing the stem to become hollow. The use of synthetic fungicides will bring control, before applying read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results.
  • Leaf spot and leaf blotch are encouraged by high temperatures or overwatering, reduce water application and apply Carbendazim @ 1g/liter; 2-3 sprays or mancozeb @ 2.5 g/litre of water at fortnightly intervals. Leaves that are infected and dried should be collected and properly disposed of.

Bonus Just for You

  • Moist well-drained soil will encourage flower bloom
  • Sufficient light and Nutrients will also encourage flower bloom
  • Insufficient water will cause leaves to brown
  • Browning of the leaves also occurs when Curcuma goes into dormancy at the end of the bloom season
  •  Like perennials in the north Curcuma will go dormant during the winter months so expect the leaves and the flowers to disappear from November to March and in some cases even April.

Winter Care of Curcuma in South Florida

During the winter months when the temperatures are mild and not freezing for example South Florida, you can still get the most out of your Curcuma by allowing them to remain outdoors in your garden where they will continue to bloom beautifully.

In other areas where the temperatures are expected to freeze, remove the tubers in the fall gently by digging them up, next clean the remaining loose soil from the tubers. Now place your tubers in a warm sunny location and allow them to dry for about two days. Once the tubers have dried store them in a container with peat moss or coarse sand, don’t place a lid on the container but leave the container unsealed for your tubers to breathe.

Place the container in a cool place during the winter months, the location that’s chosen should have a temperature of no more than (50F/10C),  every couple of days sprinkle small amounts of water over the tubers to keep them somewhat moist so that tubers don’t completely dry out.

The final word on how to care for curcuma in South Florida

Whether growing Curcuma during the spring or summer months or even allowing them to continue into the winter months is possible by following this guide that will help you succeed. Curcuma is a garden beauty that’s worth adding to your garden and landscapes. The colors are amazing bringing that color pop, if you have never grown or cared for Curcuma before then this guide is also for you. You will be happy with the results as your Curcuma goes to work for you bringing that much-needed flavor.

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About the author

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Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.