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Turmeric Cultivation, Planting, Harvesting Guide

Turmeric Cultivation Guide:

Introduction to Turmeric:- Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant which is called as “Curcuma longa” scientifically. Turmeric belongs to of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. Turmeric plant can reach up to 1-meter height and is highly branched with yellow to orange, cylindrical, aromatic rhizomes. Turmeric is native to southern Asia and is being used as condiment, dye, drug and cosmetic in addition to its use in religious ceremonies. Turmeric is one of key and major ingredients of Asian dishes. People often use the turmeric powder in marinating of meats apart from the regular culinary use. Turmeric can be used as natural home remedies for many common health problems since it has excellent medicinal value. India is the top producer of turmeric in the world. Root and rhizome are the parts used in turmeric cultivation. Ground turmeric which is kind of yellow powder is produced by boiling turmeric rhizomes for 40 to 45 minutes and then dried in hot pans or ovens and then ground into deep orange-yellow powder. Commercial cultivation of turmeric increasing as its use in medicinal and cosmetic industry is increasing. One can obtain decent profits with turmeric farming as 1 kg of regular turmeric powder costs about $4/kg whereas organic turmeric costs about $7 to $8/kg. Turmeric roots are also used for religious ceremonies. Turmeric can be grown hydroponically in much the same way as ginger and used fresh or dried produce. Turmeric can be grown in a greenhouse / polyhouse / shade net although they may not achieve the same stature as the plants grown outdoors in hot, humid climates. Turmeric has been used in Asia for thousands of years and is a major part of Siddha medicine. Turmeric can be grown in a pot or containers. Some people grow turmeric indoors as well. In the following article, let us talk about growing turmeric from planting to harvest.

Scientific Name or Botanical Name of Turmeric:-  Curcuma longa.

Family Name of Turmeric:- Zingiberaceae.

Genus of Turmeric:- Curcuma.

Turmeric Common Names:- Turmeric, Curcuma, Ukon, Goeratji, Kakoenji, Oendre, Rame, Renet, Temu kuning, Koenjet, Haridra, Haldi, Indian Saffron, Arishina, Kondin, Kunir, Kunyit, Temu kunyit and Tius.

Turmeric Names in other Countries:-  Curcuma longa (Dutch), Kurkuma (German), Borrie (Afrikaans), Curcuma (Scottish), Huruud (Somali), Shafran i Indisë (Albanian), kurkuma (Bosnian), dulaw (Cebuano),  Harilik kurkuma (Estonian), Kitrinoriza / Kourkoumás (Greek), kanghwang (Korean), besār (Nepali), curcuma (Portuguese), Cúrcuma / Curcuma longa (Spanish), Kurkum (Arabic), Kurkuma (Bulgarian), Jiānghuáng (Chinese), Curcuma (Italian), Gurkemeie (Norwegian), Konéng (Sundanese), Kha min (Thai), nghệ (Vietnamese), T́urmerig (Armenian), Na Nwin (Burmese), Kurkuma (Croatian), kurkuma (Finnish), Kurkum (Hebrew), Ukon (Japanese), Kurkuma (Latvian), Curcuma (Romanian), Kaha (Sinhalese), Kurkuma (Czech), Curcuma (French), Куркума (Macedonian), gurkmeja (Swedish), Zerdeçal (Turkish), Gurkemeje (Danish), Turmeric (Georgian), Kurkuma (Hungarian), Kunyit (Malay), Zardchubeh (Persian), Bột nghệ (Taiwanese), Binzari (Swahili).

Turmeric Names in Indian Languages:- Turmeric Powder (English),  Haldi / Hardhar (Hindi), Halad / Halede (Marathi), Hardhar / Haldi (Gujarati),  Pasupu (Telugu),  Manjalpodi (Tamil), Haladpito (Konkani), Arashina / Harasina Pudi (Kannada), Haldar / Haldi (Punjabi), Halood (Bengali), Manjalpodi (Malayalam), Haladi Gunda (Oriya), Haladi (Urdu), Lader (Kashmiri).

Top 10 Production Countries of Turmeric:- The following are the top ten production countries of Turmeric.

  1. India
  2. Bangladesh
  3. Pakistan
  4. Sri Lanka
  5. Taiwan
  6. China
  7. Myanmar
  8. Indonesia
  9. Mozambique
  10. Jamaica

Health Benefits and Uses of Turmeric:- The following are some of the health benefits of Turmeric.

Health Benefits of Turmeric.
Health Benefits of Turmeric.
  • Turmeric has natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties, hence used for wound/cut/burn healing.
  • Turmeric helps boost the immune system.
  • Turmeric protects against liver diseases.
  • Turmeric has Anti-inflammatory and Anti-oxidant properties.
  • Turmeric helps promote weight loss.
  • Turmeric is good for skin health.
  • Turmeric is good for hair health.
  • Turmeric helps in relieving common cold, cough, and fever.
  • Turmeric controls type-2 diabetes
  • Turmeric improves rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Turmeric treats sprains and swellings.
  • Turmeric can be used as a home remedy for a chronic cough.
  • Turmeric may prevent and help in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Apart from the above benefits, it is heavily used in herbal (Ayurveda) medicines and cosmetic industry.

Varieties of Turmeric:- There are many improved commercial varieties of turmeric are cultivated. The following are some of the Indian high yielding turmeric cultivars (varieties).

Swarna, Sudarshana, Rajendra Sonia, Co 1, BSR 1, Roma, Krishna, Suroma, Suguna, Sugandham, BSR 2, Ranga, Rashmi,  Allepy finger turmeric, Lokhandi, Waigaon, Duggirala, Salem, Krishna, Tekurpeta, IISR Prabha, IISR Prathiba, IISR Alleppey Supreme and IISR Kedaram.

Climate Requirement for Turmeric:- Turmeric is a warm season crop and thrives best in humid climatic conditions. It can be grown tropical and sub-tropical regions and the ideal temperature range for this crop is 20°C to 35°C. Temperatures less than 20°C will result in reduced yield. Turmeric crop requires an annual rainfall of 80 to 250 cm. Turmeric crop can be grown under both irrigated and rainfed conditions. Turmeric can be grown at an altitude of 1500 meters (mean sea level).

Soil Requirement for Turmeric:- Turmeric crop can be grown on a wide variety of soils. However, it thrives best in well-drained sandy or clay loam soils rich in organic matter and uniform in texture. The ideal soil pH range for this crop is 4.5 to 7.5. If you are planning for growing commercially, it is recommended going for a soil test to find out the fertility and suitability of the soil.  Avoid soils that are more prone to water stagnation and alkalinity.

Turmeric Flowering.
Turmeric Flowering.

How to Select Planting Material of  Turmeric:- Seed selection is one of the key tasks for best turmeric growth and yield. As we know, the seed of turmeric consists of rhizomes and care should be taken in the selection process. Both mother and finger rhizomes can be used for propagation of the crop. The fingers should be cut into pieces of 4 to 5 cm long with 1 to 2 buds. Mother rhizomes should be planted as such or split into 2, each having one sound bud.

Mother rhizomes should be preferred as they result in 40 to 50 % more yield along with good growth when compared to finger rhizome. Make sure to select large sized, plumy & healthy mother rhizomes at least 100 grams in weight should be selected as planting material..

Propagation, Seed Rate and Seed Treatment of Turmeric:- Turmeric is propagated by whole or split mother and finger rhizomes. You must select well-developed healthy & disease free rhizomes as planting material. After the selection of quality seed rhizomes, they should be treated with mancozeb 0.3% (3 grams/Liter of water) for 25 to 30. These treated rhizomes should be dried under shade for 4 hours before planting in the field. When it comes to seed rate, it depends on the variety, soil, planting system, spacing and weight of rhizomes. On an average a seed rate of 2,500 kg of mother rhizomes is required to plant in 1-hectare land or 2000 kg of finger rhizomes is required to cover 1-hectare land. Turmeric can also be grown as intercrop. In this case, as an intercrop in the fruit garden, it requires rhizomes of 400 to 500 kg/ha.

Turmeric Rhizomes (Roots).
Turmeric Rhizomes (Roots).

Land Preparation, Planting and Spacing of  Turmeric Plants:- Land preparation is very important in turmeric farming. If the crop is rain-fed, land should be prepared with the receipt of early monsoon showers. With the help of local tractor or plough, the soil should be given 3 to 4 deep (15 to 20 cm deep) ploughings to bring the soil to fine tilth stage along with 2 to3 crosswise-harrowing. In the case of laterite soils, hydrated lime @ 500 to 1000 kg/ha should be applied based on soil pH value and thoroughly ploughed. Prepare the beds with 1-meter width and 30 cm height of convenient length. Maintain 50 cm space in between beds. You can also plant by forming furrows and ridges. Flat-bed method of planting is used under rainfed conditions, Ridges and Furrows are being used under irrigated conditions. Turmeric rhizomes should be planted at 1/3 d height of ridge on the broad ridge.

Irrigation for Turmeric Crop:- Frequency of irrigation depends on the soil type (moisture holding capacity) and climatic conditions. However, in turmeric cultivation,  First irrigation should be given before planting the seed material and the next one should be given just after planting in the field. Subsequent irrigations should be carried out at 7 to 10 days interval. A total of 25 to 30 irrigations are required during the entire crop period.

Intercrops in Turmeric Production:- Mixed crops like chilli, onion, french beans, eggplant (brinjal) and maize can be cultivated. Turmeric can also be grown as intercrop in coconut and arecanut plantations.

Growing in the Pot.
Growing in the Pot.

Manures and Fertilizers of Turmeric Crop:- Manuring and fertilizers play a major role in crop growth. The following manure and fertilizer dose are recommended in turmeric cultivation:

  • Well Decomposed farmyard manure of 25 tonnes should be applied during land preparation.
  • N: P: K ratio should be 120:50:50 kg/ha.
  • 50 kg of “P” and 50 kg of “K” should be applied as a basal application. After 1 month of planting apply 60 kg of “N”. Remaining “N” should be applied after 2 months of planting.   

Intercultural Operations of Turmeric Crop:- For any crop, carrying proper and timely intercultural operations are essential.

  • Mulching: Mulching can be done to control weeds, prevent water/moisture loss and soil erosion. Mulching should be done immediately after planting with green leaves @ 15 tonnes/ha. Subsequent mulching tasks should be done 40 and 90 days with green leaves of 8 tonnes/ha after planting (after weeding, earthing up, fertilizer application).
  • Earthing Up: Earthing up should be done with light digging 2 months after planting to avoid any sunlight exposure to developing underground rhizomes.
  • Weeding: Weed free field is very important to prevent from low yielding by saving fertilizers and any other inputs. Depending on the intensity of weeds, 4 to 5 weeding should be carried out. Pits should be kept clean (weed-free) during the initial 5 to 6 weeks period. If you are planning for organic turmeric, don’t use any weedicides or herbicides to control weeds rather use natural methods of removing/controlling weeds.

Pests and Diseases of Turmeric:- Controlling pests and diseases is essential in any crop cultivation.

  • Insect Pests: Thrips, Rhizome scale, Nematode pests, and Shoot borer are common pests found in turmeric cultivation. For symptoms and preventive measures, contact the local horticulture or agriculture department.
  • Diseases: Leaf blotch, Leaf spot, Leaf blight, Rhizome rot are common diseases found in turmeric cultivation. For symptoms and control measures of these diseases, contact your local horticulture/agriculture department.

Note: Your local Horticulture is a good source for finding suitable solutions for controlling pests and diseases in Turmeric Cultivation.

Harvesting of Turmeric:- The turmeric crop should be ready for harvest in 8 to 9 months depending on variety and time of sowing. Usually, the turmeric leaves turn dry and yellowish color on maturity. Manual and machine harvesting can be done in the crop. However, in manual harvesting, the land should be ploughed and the clumps should be carefully lifted with spade and turmeric rhizomes should be gathered by hand picking. Make sure extraneous matter adhering to rhizomes is cleared.

Freshly Harvested Roots.
Freshly Harvested Roots.

Preservation of Seed Rhizomes:- Rhizomes for seed purpose should be heaped in the shade of trees or in well-ventilated sheds/rooms and covered with turmeric leaves. The seed rhizomes can also be stored in pits with saw dust sand along with leaves of Stychnos The rhizomes should be dipped in quinalphos (0.075%) solution for 30 minutes if scale infestations are observed and in mancozeb (0.3%) to avoid storage losses due to fungi.

Post-Harvesting of Turmeric:- The harvested turmeric rhizomes should be processed some operations before entering into the market. The post-harvest process includes boiling, drying and polishing.

The Yield of Turmeric:- Yield of any crop depends on many factors such as variety, soil type, climate, irrigation conditions, and other agriculture crop management practices. One can obtain 250 to 300 quintals/ha of fresh rhizomes under ideal farming conditions.

Marketing of Turmeric:- Turmeric can be marketed to local wholesale dealers or cosmetic industries or herbal companies. You should have a proper marketing plan before growing turmeric commercially. Usually, we get this product in the market in powder, root, and turmeric supplements form.

Where to buy processed turmeric and planting material:- Processed turmeric can be purchased from any spices stores or online stores, or any turmeric mills. Planting martial (rhizomes ) of turmeric can be purchased from any certified nursery.

For Ginger Farming: Read here.

Read: How to Grow Hydroponic Lettuce.


  1. Iam a farmer in Zimbabwe growing horticulture crops and would like to get into Tumeric production and export how can you help on the market/


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