Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) plantlets were cultured in MS (Murashige and Skoog Physiol Plant 15:473–497, 1962) liquid medium with 6% sucrose. Microrhizome development was observed in the presence of methyl jasmonate (MeJa) (0, 5 and 16 μM) and benzyladenine (BA) (0, 0.32 and 1 μM). Leaf, root, rhizome growth, and sugar use were measured weekly for 6 weeks in small vessels (180 ml) and four times in 23 weeks in larger vessels (2.5 l). MeJa reduced leaf, root, and rhizome biomass. BA had a positive effect on biomass accumulation. Microrhizome mass increased at a linear rate during 6 weeks of culture while roots and leaves accumulated biomass at an exponential rate. Sugar use correlated nearly directly to whole plant dry weight (DW) in the short and long-term experiments. Microrhizomes became a larger fraction of whole plant DW as plantlets aged. After 6 weeks, about 1.8 g of microrhizome DW per liter of media had been produced (in both time courses), and after 23 weeks, about 26 g of microrhizome DW per liter of media had been produced. Secondary rhizomes were first observed at 14 weeks, and most plants had them by 23 weeks. A method for rhizome production in a long-term culture system was described. The linear relationship between DW and sugar use will be useful in the eventual development of a model for sugar use to biomass to secondary metabolite production.