How to Plant, Grow and Care Curry Leaves Plant

The Curry Leaf Tree is native to India. Its botanical name was Murraya Koenigii, but its name has been changed to Bergera Koenigii. It is known by different names as Kari patta, Kadipatta, Karivepallai, Curry Patta, Curry Leaf, Karivepalla, Murraya koenigii spreng, Sweet Neem, etc.

Learn how to grow and care curry leaf tree at home in pots and ground.


How To Grow A Curry Leaf Tree?

Benefits of curry leaves

Curry tree is grown in tropical to subtropical to Mediterranean and temperate climates and has compound leaves areas where it can grow up to 5 - 6 metres high. Its green elongated leaves are glossy, aromatic and beautiful. The plant produces white fragrant flowers.

The curry leaves are very popular in India and Sri Lanka where they are used in cooking to add a distinctive aroma and flavor to the dishes (Sambhar, Upma, etc.).

Curry Leaves
Curry Leaves


I am growing curry patta plant in a pot in Sydney for many years and it can be grown in other parts of Australia as well.

The plant can be grown indoors at home for most USA zones.

Varieties of Curry Leaf Tree

Curry leaf plant comes in three different varieties.
Regular: grows tall and fast and looks like the curry leaves available at the grocery store.
Dwarf: does not grow as tall the normal tree and the leaves are longer.
Gamthi: the most fragrant, grows very slowly and has thick but smaller leaves.

Position: Where to Grow a Curry Leaf Tree?

  1. The plant grows well in full to part sun, so it is better to grow it outdoors. However, it does not need full intense sun.
  2. If you live in an apartment, any area indoors where you get direct sunlight is good for the plant.
  3. You can grow the plant in pots in balconies or terrace.
  4. If you place your plant indoors, select a warm place with plenty of light-direct or indirect sun light or artificial white light.

Soil

Use well-drained and slightly acidic soil. Add some compost (composting at home), cow manure and river sand in the soil to make it fertile and draining.

Planting a Curry Plant

  1. You can grow the plant from seeds or stem cutting (Propagation of curry leaf plant). It would take 1-2 years for the seedlings to become established.
  2. It is better to buy a curry leaf plant from a garden shop. Water the plant and tip around the pot. Take out the plant carefully and replant in another pot.

Fertilizer

  1. Do not give strong fertilizer to young plant. In pots, apply fertilizer at the rim of the pot and if grown in the ground, fertilize at the canopy of the plant.
  2. Feed your plant every 3rd or 4th week with a liquid fertilizer for leafy growth.
  3. Give 3 teaspoons of iron sulfate or 1 teaspoon of iron chelate every 4-5 weeks to keep the foliage healthy.
  4. Dissolve about 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) or common salt in 1 liter water and feed to the plant when it is dry. Give Epsom salt every 3 months and salt water every 3rd week. Your curry leaf plant will grow very well. The plant will grow green leaves throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Watering

  1. Allow the plant to dry out completely between watering.
  2. Curry plant benefits with warm water feeding.
  3. In winter when the plant goes dormant, reduce watering in order to prevent root rot.

Curry Leaf Plant Care and Tips

Curry Leaf Plant Growing in a Pot
Curry Leaf Tree Growing in a Pot
  1. Small young curry plants do not like direct sun light during hot summer weather. They also don't like too wet soil.
  2. Pruning and Pinching: Pinch the tips of the branches when they are young to have a multiple- branches that will give you more leaves for harvesting.

    Prune the plant during the spring in order to keep the plant producing large number of good leaves. The more you harvest, the bushier the plant will become.
  3. My potted plant has grown to about a meter height in about 10 years. The tree growing in ground at my friend's house in Sydney has grown to about 5 meter height with dense foliage. He prunes the tree several times a year.
  4. Pluck the flower buds when they appear on the branches of the plant. This will conserve plant's energy to encourage new leaf growth, otherwise the plant will be growing the flowers instead of the leaves.
  5. Transplant the plant to a bigger container, when you see the roots coming out of the the bottom holes. These plants do not like their roots to be disturbed, so transplant very carefully with root around soil into a bigger pot.
  6. During Winter: In winter, the plant goes dormant, leaves turn yellow or pale yellow and loose most of its leaves. The curry leaf tree needs protection from the frost. I move my potted curry leaf plant in a verandah or even indoors during the cold months.

    If you want to leave your plant outside in winter, insert a big black garbage bag from the top of the plant and tie at the other end.  You can use many bags to cover different portions of the plant if your curry plant has grow like a tree.  Plastic bag protects the plant from cold winds.
  7. Earlier when used to travel, my friend used to water my curry plant. Now I install an automatic watering system which openes at a pre-fixed time and duration. The system has an electronic timer which you can program.

Pest and Diseases

The plant is normally free of pests and diseases. Sprinkle salt water on the leaves once in two weeks to keep it healthy.

Harvesting Curry Leaves

Curry Leaf Plant Fruit
Curry Leaf Plant Fruit
  1. The Curry leaves can be harvested at any time and used fresh for the best flavor.
  2. I simply pluck off the leaves as and when I need them for cooking.
  3. The leaves can be dried or frozen for later use.

Curry Leaf Plant Flowers

The flowers develop into black berries, which can be squeezed to extract seeds.

References

1. Murraya koenigii information from NPGS/GRIN
2. Henry, Trimen (1893). A hand-book to the flora of Ceylon. London: Dulau & Co. p. 219.


25 comments

I ahve a small curry leaf plant, about 5 years old. it is not growing properly. How can I make my curry patta tree to grow more leaves?
Reply

Trim the growing tips in the growing season. Feed your tree with some Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate)dissolved in water 2 times a month.
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Mine is almost 2 years old. where i live is freezing cold. i keep the curry leaf plant indoors when temp is < 50. And leave it out if the temp goes up higher than 50.

It is not giving a lot of leaves. I dont harvest as i am scared if i will destroy it. My mother in law visited me and pluck the leaves alone as she wont cook with no curry leaves. now the plant is with bunch of Sticks :-(

please advise, what i can do to get more leaves.



Reply

Trim the branches before the new leaves start in spring so that they branch further , it will come back. It grows very slow or gets damaged if the temperature is too high. I keep it in a sort of shade and not full sun during the non-winter months and move it indoor during the fall and winter months.
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Sir can you explain in detail how to plant curry leaves by cutting method?
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You can find a step by step guide on how to plant curry leaves by cutting at the following page
http://www.mykitchengarden.info/2015/08/propagation-of-curry-leaf-plant.html
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I have a small plant and it's leaves r turning curly and the tip of plant is turning black. I put fertilizer for every 4 weeks.
Can I pinch the tip of plant now? I am thinking of taking it inside home as the temperature is going down here.
Thanks a lot..
Reply

Remove the black turning tip. You can move the plant indoor if the night temperature goes below 10 deg C.
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hi I have a dry curry leaves can i plant them it will be grow? pls advice I'm staying in jordan nd here no curry plant so how I will plant pls advice
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I have searched around newcastle NSW for a curry leaf plant to buy without success. Do you know anywhere I can buy one? I am occasionally in Sydney so anywhere around there would be useful too. Thanks!
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The dry curry leaves will not regrow. You can grow it from a fresh cutting or from seeds. Try to buy a plant or seeds online.
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My curry leaves plant is almost dead. It dried up suddenly. How can i revive it back.. I added water mixed with sea salt but it did not give any effect. Pls help.
Reply

Try feeding some dilute solution of seaweed, spray on leaves and feed the roots.
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Guy from AustraliaDecember 09, 2016 11:40 PM

My curry leaf plant is about 4 years old and suddenly it is growing white leaves. These are new leaves, they smell the same but are white. What do I do to get that green colour back? Are they alright to consume?
Reply

If the leaves are of lighter color, that may be due to magnesium deficiency. Feed the curry leaf plant with a dilute solution of Epsom salt in water. Epsom salt is available in Woolworth. Also, after one week, sprinkle some iron sulfate on the soil and water the plant. See the results in 3-4 weeks.
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I have curry leaf plant about 3 years old in a pot. I pruned it last winter for the first time, new shoots have appeared in summer(December) the new shoots do not look healthy, the leaves not growing and turned to curl up, drying and then die

I grow it in my tea house (like a glass house) and put it outside in late spring. now again i moved it inside

Pleas advise how to get healthy leaves ?
Reply

1. Move the plant outside in sun, it is summer in NZ at this time.
2. Feed a liquid fertiliser like power-feed with Seasol (seaweed solution).
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My tree is 1.5 metres tall and about 4yrs old. Before I knew about harvesting the petiole, I was picking random leaves so the lower petioles don't look as good as I'd want.
I also haven't ever pruned it, so, will it be ok to prune it next Spring quite low on the trunk as in maybe 12" from the bottom & expect it to come back nicely..? So far it is very healthy & I can smell it sometimes when I walk outside, which is surprising as I have never used salt, epsom salts or iron sulfate on it.

Thanks!
Reply

You should not prune the trunk of your curry tree plant, however, you can trim the branches if they have grown quite long. It is better to pinch only the growing tips to make the plant denser. Cutting the trunk will produce new branches, but with smaller leaves. The soil of your curry tree is good with needed nutrients,so it does not need any thing to be added. You can top up the soil with cow manure and then cover with sugarcane mulch leaving the trunk side clear of the much.
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Hi I have transferred my money plant from bottle to plastic pot but after some days it has changed yellow leaves, branches and roots also spoiled,so what can I do.
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If you have transferred the plant from water to the pot containing soil, then the leaves may turn yellow, particularly if the plant is quite grown up. You can feed seaweed liquid to the plant.
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I have a money plant in a vine bottle in my room. Can I change it in a big bottle.
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Yes, you can transfer your money plant to a bigger bottle.
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Hi,

Where can i get the curry leave seeds. Please can you provide some links.
Reply

The seeds of curry leaf plant are not sold in garden shops. You can get them from a curry plant at your friend's house. It is better to buy a small plant.
Reply

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