Galangal (Alpinia galanga) is a member of the ginger family and forms a clump of leafy stems up to 2 metres tall. The leaves are a glossy, bright green and about 50cm long. The plant is native to south-east Asia and the rhizomes are popular in many Indonesian, Thai and Malaysian dishes.
Galangal needs full sun and a warm sheltered position in southern areas of WA but will take dappled shade in the north. The soil should be deep, fertile and free draining with plenty of organic manure added. Although galangal needs to be well watered its’ roots will rot in wet soil.
Fresh galangal rhizomes usually have to be purchased from an Asian grocer and are cut into sections about 8cm long with each having a green growing tip. The pieces should be put aside for a few days for the cut ends to dry and then they are planted horizontally about 10 cm below the surface.
Galangal should be kept well watered and those grown in pots will need watering every day in summer. Apply a controlled release fertiliser when the rhizomes are first planted and then feed every month with a liquid fertiliser.
The rhizomes of Galangal are usually lifted in autumn when the leaves begin to die down and one or two can be detached and replanted for next year. Fresh galangal can be stored for several weeks in the fridge or several months in the freezer.