My Kitchen Garden

Curry Plant: How to Grow Curry Leaf Tree

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 Curry leaf plant, Kari patta, Kadipatta, Karivepallai, Curry Patta, Curry Leaf, Karivepalla, Murraya koenigii spreng, Sweet Neem tree, etc.

Detailed tips on how to grow and care for curry leaf plant at home in pots and ground including how to prune curry leaf tree, fertilizer and curry leaf plant diseases are given.

How To Grow A Curry Leaf Tree (Sweet Neem Tree)?

Curry tree is grown in tropical to subtropical to Mediterranean and temperate climates and has compound leaves areas where it can grow up to 6 meter tall. In general, the curry leaf tree can grow 4–6 m high with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter. Its green elongated pinnate leaves have 11–21 leaflets which are glossy, aromatic and beautiful. The curry leaf plant produces white fragrant flowers [1-3]. Benefits of curry leaves


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.).

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 easily.

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

Varieties and Types of Curry Leaf Tree

Curry leaf plant is of three different varieties or types.
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.

Picture of Curry Leaves
Curry 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 For Curry Plant

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 Leaf Tree

  1. You can grow the plant from seeds or stem cutting (Growing of curry leaf plant from cuttings and seeds). 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 For Curry Plant

  1. Do not give strong fertilizer to young curry plant. In pots, apply fertilizer at the rim of the pot and if grown in the ground, fertilize at the canopy of the curry leaves plant.
  2. Feed your curry 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) in 1 liter water and feed to the curry leaf plant when it is dry. Give Epsom salt every 3 months. Your curry leaf plant will grow faster and very well. The plant will grow green leaves throughout the spring, summer and fall.
  5. Buttermilk (diluted curd, yogurt) is said to be the best homemade fertilizer for curry leaf plants.

Watering Curry Plant

  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 of Curry Leaf Tree: Pinch the tips of the branches when they are young to have a multiple- branches that will encourage the plant to grow curry leaves faster that will give you more leaves for harvesting.

    Prune the curry leaf 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 5 years. The curry leaf 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 curry leaf 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. Care 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 I used to travel, my friend used to water my curry plant. Now I installed an automatic watering system which opens at a pre-fixed time and duration. The system has an electronic timer which you can program.

Harvesting Curry Leaves

Curry Leaf  Plant Berries Fruits
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. These seeds can be used to grow new curry leaf plants. Actually, in many areas, curry leaf tree flowers can spread easily from birds and wind to make it a weed potential.

Curry Leaf Plant Diseases

The plant is normally free of pests and diseases. The curry leaves have a strong smell that deters many insect pests and keeps the disease away. However, depending on the weather, there are some pests that create problems to the plant.

You can see white spots, black spots, brown spots, white fungus, etc on the curry leaves and stems. Also sometimes the leavers turn curly or become sticky. Aphids, scales, Citrus mealybugs and Psyllids are responsible for these diseases.

The tiny scales and aphids suck on the leaves that cause the curry leaves to wilt and turn yellow. Ants and ladybugs on the plant are natural predators that will control the problem of scales.

Citrus mealybugs, the pinkish-white insects feed on plant sap which lay hundreds of eggs on the surface of the leaf, hatching into yellow nymphs.

Spraying neem oil (1 ml in 1 liter water), pest oil or horticultural oil regularly will control the curry lea plant diseases and problems. natural horticultural oil. Sprinkle salt water on the leaves once in two weeks to keep it healthy.

Video of Growing Growing curry leaves plant faster

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References


1. Murraya koenigii information from NPGS/GRIN
2. Henry, Trimen, A hand-book to the flora of Ceylon. London: Dulau & Co. p. 219 (1893). 3. Curry tree




39 comments

PK February 29, 2016 7:58 AM

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?
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P. Mehta February 29, 2016 8:06 AM

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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Anonymous May 17, 2016 7:36 AM

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.



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Anonymous July 01, 2016 1:22 AM

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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Anonymous September 22, 2016 7:01 PM

Sir can you explain in detail how to plant curry leaves by cutting method?
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P. Mehta September 23, 2016 7:15 AM

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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umarasale October 06, 2016 1:04 AM

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..
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P. Mehta October 06, 2016 7:36 AM

Remove the black turning tip. You can move the plant indoor if the night temperature goes below 10 deg C.
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Prerna Khanna October 08, 2016 10:58 PM

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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Matthew Howes October 09, 2016 10:38 AM

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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P. Mehta October 09, 2016 11:18 AM

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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Miss. November 08, 2016 4:39 AM

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.
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P. Mehta November 08, 2016 7:26 AM

Try feeding some dilute solution of seaweed, spray on leaves and feed the roots.
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Guy from Australia December 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?
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P. Mehta December 10, 2016 7:46 AM

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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Nikini from NZ January 08, 2017 9:19 AM

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 ?
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P. Mehta January 08, 2017 11:05 AM

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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Dave January 24, 2017 8:25 PM

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!
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P. Mehta January 25, 2017 7:36 AM

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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binodini rout March 19, 2017 9:19 AM

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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P. Mehta March 19, 2017 9:19 AM

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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Ali Raza March 19, 2017 9:21 AM

I have a money plant in a vine bottle in my room. Can I change it in a big bottle.
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P. Mehta March 19, 2017 9:22 AM

Yes, you can transfer your money plant to a bigger bottle.
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Arun March 27, 2017 7:30 AM

Hi,

Where can i get the curry leave seeds. Please can you provide some links.
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P. Mehta March 27, 2017 8:04 AM

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.
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Shaila June 11, 2017 12:47 AM

My 10 year curry plant all of sudden losing all it's leaves. Plant is not dry. Leaves are curlying up and falling. I use neem oil spray once a month. Thanks for your help in advance.
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P. Mehta June 11, 2017 4:44 AM

It may just be mormal, curry leaf plant drop leaves once a year. Ser that plant is not water stressed.
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Geo June 15, 2017 11:10 AM

Hello everyone! My 5months old curry plants here in Sp, Brazil are happily growing in my backyard but one of them is always drooping it's leaves even though I water regularly, any tips? Regards
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MUA Sital August 23, 2017 3:01 PM

When is the best time to transplant curry leave plant from one pot to another as my plant is not growing much and there are lots of new shoots at the bottom so I think it needs bigger pot and what soil is best to use. I live in New Jersey. Please help
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MAUSital August 26, 2017 2:37 PM

Anyone? Please help as this was given as gift and first time I am growing the curry leaf plant it and I don't want it to die.
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Anonymous November 09, 2017 5:51 PM

Hi! Can I add the coffee grounds into the curry leaves plant? Also when I reported my curry plant, I have added mushroom compost in sept. 2017. Once I moved the plant indoor(Chicago), I see white mushrooms growing in the pot and I keep removing them. Is it okay? Or if not, how do I rectify this? It’s a small plant that I got it from a friend. Thanks in advance. Please help
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P. Mehta November 10, 2017 8:34 AM

Adding coffee grounds to the soil will increase its acidity, that is good for curry plant. Keep on removing the mushroom and other weed growth.
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sameer ahmed November 13, 2017 3:45 AM

Enter your comment...Unfortunately the salt is spryed on the curry plant. now the growth of the plant is reducing... How would reduce the salt content.. please give me the solution...
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P. Mehta November 14, 2017 6:43 AM

You may wash the leaves with water. Give seaweed solution to roots and also spray on the leaves.
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P. Mehta December 02, 2017 11:47 AM

Mua Sita, you can repot now in a bigger pot and water well. You can move the plant indoors in winter.
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Wildbrain December 05, 2017 12:15 AM

Very informative and useful article on curry leaf tree. I understand from the article that GAMTHI variety is the most fragrant. Can you please help me to get two plants of Gamthi variety. Thank you. I have a six year old curry leaf plant at home but it got dried up suddenly one month ago.However, leaves of that tree were not very fragrant. I am writing from Kochi/Cochin, Kerala.
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Gypsy March 15, 2018 7:24 PM

G'day
I have just removed some of the seeds off my curry plant as I want to try growing more curry plants.
I'm planning on drying the seeds for a couple of days & then planting in premium potting mix. I will then put them in my heated propagator.
How long can I expect to wait for them to germinate please.
Cheers
Gypsy
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P. Mehta March 15, 2018 8:41 PM

Hi Gypdy, the dried seeda may take many many days to germinate or may not germinate. Fresh seeds will germinate in a few days. Good luck!
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P. Mehta July 20, 2018 9:12 AM

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