Growing Curry Leaves Plant is easy when you know all the right tips and tricks. Here’s everything you need to know and more!
Curry leaves are native to the Indian subcontinent and are often mixed with Helichrysum Italicum (which is also called curry plant in confusion). Its leaves are aromatic — sweet and pungent, which releases a mouthwatering fragrance and is used in cooking. Keep reading this article to learn about Growing Curry Leaves Plant!
Botanical Name: Murraya koenigii
Other Names: Curry tree, Curry leaves tree, Curry plant, Sweet neem, Meethi neem, Kadhi patta.
USDA Zones: 9-12
Best Varieties of Curry Leaves Plant
Curry leaf plant comes in three distinct varieties with their own set of pros and cons – Regular, Dwarf, and Gamthi.
- Regular Curry Tree: It grows up very fast and reaches a height of 6-15 feet and a width of 4-12 feet. The leaves of this plant are commonly found in grocery stores and are the most widely cultivated out of the three available options.
- Dwarf Variety: Helichrysum angustifolium ‘Nana’ is a short version. It is an excellent choice for a houseplant or to grow in containers to decorate your patio that could also be placed indoors during winter.
- Gamthi: It is even smaller than the dwarf variety and reaches 6-8 inches in height on full maturity. Though it does not spread as quickly but makes up for it by producing the most fragrant leaves of all curry plants.
Propagating Curry Leaves Plant
Curry Leaves tree propagation can be achieved by either seed or vegetative means. Seeds should be sown in a well-draining soil mix and placed in a warm, sunny spot.
Vegetative propagation can be accomplished by taking cuttings from mature trees and planting them in a potting mix. The cuttings should be taken from healthy branches and should be about 3-4 inches in length.
Once planted, the cuttings should be watered regularly and placed in a sunny spot.
Planting Curry Tree
Planting a Curry Tree in Warmer Regions
If you live in USDA Zone 9-11, grow it outside. Plant it in the sunniest spot in your garden, and do regular watering in the next two months. Pinch off its white flowers in the first two years to appreciate healthy growth. Once settled, it’ll start to grow up quickly.
Planting a Curry Tree in Cooler Areas
Gardeners below USDA Zone 9 or with harsh winters should grow it in a container. Spring is the best season for planting. Plant this in a 5-gallon container and upgrade its size of it as the growth progresses.
In colder climates, you may need to bring the container indoors during winter. Place the container in a cool, dark spot with temperatures between 60-70°F. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings and fertilize every few months.
With proper care, you can successfully grow a curry tree in cooler climates.
Requirements for Growing Curry Leaves Plant
Native to India, the tree loves the full sun and grows best in it. While the plant is in the growing stage, avoid exposing it to the harsh afternoon sun for a longer duration of time. Once established, you don’t have to worry much about it.
The most important factor in growing a successful curry tree is providing it with well-draining soil. A general potting soil mix or soil that is specifically designed for growing citrus trees is ideal.
The soil should be light and airy with plenty of organic matter to help retain moisture and provide nutrients. A pH of 6.5–7.5 is ideal for a curry tree. If the soil is too acidic, you can add powdered lime to raise the pH.
Curry trees thrive in a warm and humid climate and require frequent watering. The tree should be watered when the top inch of soil is dry, using enough water to saturate the root area thoroughly.
Water the tree deeply and slowly, allowing the water to penetrate the soil.
Curry Leaves Plant Care
In the beginning, it’s a slow grower and reaches a height of 6-10 inches in a year (depending on the climate and growing conditions), so give it its time to settle.
For best results, use a slow-release fertilizer specifically designed for tropical plants. This type of fertilizer should be applied every 3-4 months during the growing season.
Additionally, you may want to add a small amount of a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of 10-10-10 once a month during the growing season. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application amounts and frequency.
Pruning a curry tree is relatively easy and can be done any time of year. The best time to prune a curry tree is in the spring or early summer when the tree is actively growing. Pruning in the late summer or fall should be avoided as it can weaken the tree and cause it to be more susceptible to disease or pests.
When pruning, it is important to remove any dead, diseased, or damaged branches. This will encourage healthy new growth. It is also important to thin out the tree’s canopy to increase airflow and light. This will help reduce the disease risk and make the tree look more attractive.
When pruning, make sure to use clean and sharp pruning shears or loppers. This will reduce the risk of any damage or spreading of disease. If you are using a ladder, always use it safely and make sure you have someone to help you.
Be sure to remove any suckers that are growing from the base of the tree. These should be removed as they can take away from the growth of the main branches.
Finally, it is important to fertilize after pruning to ensure the tree stays healthy and continues to grow.
Pests and Diseases
• Leaf-feeding caterpillars: These pests feed on the leaves of the curry tree, causing them to be yellow and distorted.
• Aphids: These small, soft-bodied insects feed on the tree sap, causing the leaves to curl and distort.
• Mealybugs: These small, white insects also feed on the tree sap, causing the leaves to become yellow and distorted.
• Scale insects: These pests attach themselves to the tree’s bark and feed on the sap, causing the leaves to become yellow and distorted.
• Root rot: This is caused by a fungus that attacks the tree’s roots, causing them to become soft and discolored.
• Powdery mildew: This fungus causes a white powdery substance to appear on the leaves of the tree, causing them to become yellow and distorted.
• Leaf spot: This is caused by a fungus that attacks the tree leaves, causing them to become yellow and distorted.
• Canker: This is caused by a fungus that attacks the tree’s bark, causing it to become discolored and soft.
Use an insecticidal soap or a neem oil solution to keep pests at bay. For diseases, avoid overwatering the plant and ensure it gets plenty of sunlight.
Harvesting Curry Leaves
Curry leaves can be harvested by picking the leaves off the stem individually. You can also use scissors or pruning shears to make the process easier.
To harvest, start at the end of the stem and work your way down, picking only the leaves that are fully developed. Do not take all the leaves off the stem at once, as this will leave the plant vulnerable to damage from heat or pests.
Once the leaves are harvested, they can be used fresh or dried later.
In natural tropical conditions, the curry leaf plant is hardy when matured and doesn’t die even in the severest of conditions like drought, extreme temperatures, and infertile soil. Here are some additional tips for growing curry leaves.
- Don’t overwater it, especially in winter.
- Let the soil dry out during water spells as it likes well-drained dry soil.
- Plant it in a small container and then regularly update the size as the plant progresses its growth because it grows slowly.
- Place it (colder zones below 9) indoors or in a greenhouse in winter.
- Use compost and good quality nitrogen-rich fertilizer for lush green foliage.
- Don’t plant it in the windy spot when the plant is young, as it grows upright and has weak limbs and a trunk.
Uses of Curry Leaves
They are often used to flavor chutneys, rice, soups, stews, dals, curries, vegetable dishes, chicken dishes, and so much more. For the best flavor, it is most suggested that curry leaves should be fried first in oil. Then, you can add the sauteed leaves to the dish while other ingredients are cooking for taste.
It also offers many health benefits, mainly because of its potent plant compounds.
- May Help Reduce the Risk factor for Heart Diseases
- Helpful in Control Blood Sugar Levels
- Contains Anti-Inflammatory Compounds
- Provides Anti-Bacterial Properties
- It helps in Relieving Pain
- Contains Neuroprotective Components