Learn how to grow curry tree or curry leaves plant. Growing curry plant is easy though you need to fulfill a few basic requirements.
Curry leaves plant is native to the Indian subcontinent and is often mixed with Helichrysum Italicum (which is also called curry plant in confusion). Its leaves are aromatic— sweet and pungent, which releases mouthwatering brisk odor akin to no other plant. A must add herb in curry recipes prepared in South Asia; it’s a good choice for gardeners who love to grow exotic plants.
Murraya koenigii (scientific name), curry tree, curry leaves tree, curry plant, sweet neem, meethi neem or kadhi patta.
Curry tree plant loves the warm, humid surroundings and loves subtropical and tropical heat. There, it is easy to grow even for a beginner. It needs full sun and moderate watering to thrive.
Planting Curry Tree
Planting curry tree in warmer regions
If you’re living in USDA Zone 9-11, grow it outside. Plant it in the sunniest spot in your garden, do regular watering in the next two months and pinch off its white flowers in the first two years to appreciate healthy growth. Once settled, it’ll start to grow up quickly.
Planting curry tree in cooler areas
Gardeners below USDA Zone 9 or where winters are harsh should grow it in a container. Spring is the best season for planting. Plant this in a 5-gallon container and upgrade the size of it as the growth progresses. It can tolerate mild freezing temperature but needs a lot of care in winter, in too much cold it shed its leaves and goes dormant until spring and start a new growth again.
Propagate it from cuttings (suckers of the plant) or seeds— remove hard outer shell before sowing for faster germination. Use fresh seeds for high germination rate. Sow them in good quality potting soil. If your temperature is not warm around 65 F (20 C), layer it with polyethylene or keep it in the greenhouse because the seeds germinate in warm temperature.
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.
In the natural tropical conditions, this plant is hardy when matured and doesn’t die even in the severest of conditions like drought, extreme temperatures, and infertile soil.
Regular pruning or picking of leaves is essential to promote the fresh foliage growth. Use nitrogen rich fertilizer in a month or two to boost the growth (don’t fertilize in dormant stage of the plant, which occurs in the winter in cooler areas).
Varieties and Types
There are three varieties of curry tree: Regular, which is a common variety grown everywhere and tallest of all. A dwarf variety, which is good for container though less aromatic and third variety is called ‘gamthi’, which is the highly aromatic and pungent variety in all the three.
- 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 of the container to the next one as the plant progress its growth.
- Place it (colder zones) 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 as it grows upright and have weak limbs and trunk.
Pick fresh leaves when you need it, harvesting encourages new growth in curry plant.