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Curry leaf plants are a component of the Indian seasoning called curry. Curry seasoning is a compilation of many herbs and spices, whose flavour can sometimes come from curry leaf plants. Curry leaf herb is a culinary plant whose leaves are used as an aromatic and the fruit of the plant is a component of desserts in some Eastern nations.
Curry leaves as well all know is a herb profusely used in many Indian dishes and has a distinct flavour. The dal tadka is incomplete without curry leaves splattered in oil and its aroma will linger around the whole house.
Many people have curry leaves plant as this is a simple plant and very easy to grow. You can also grow it with cuttings of thick stems of a curry leaves plant.
Since the curry leaves plant does not require direct sunlight it can be grown in a partially shaded area or a kitchen window sill.The curry tree (Murraya koenigii) is a tropical to sub-tropical tree in the family Rutaceae, which is native to India and Sri Lanka.
Its leaves are used in many dishes in India and neighbouring countries. Often used in curries, the leaves generally called by the name "curry leaves", though they are also translated as "sweet neem leaves" in most Indian languages (as opposed to ordinary neem leaves which are bitter).
Curry leaves are derived from beautiful, aromatic and more or less deciduous shrub growing up to 0.9 metres, or a small downy tree, up 6 meters in height and 15 to 40 cms. in diameter. The leave are slightly bitter and aromatic.
The curry tree is a native of India and Sri Lanka. Their minerals and vitamin contents are calcium ,phosphorus, iron, nicotinic acid and Vitamin C. Fresh leaves on steam distillation under pressure yield a volatile.
Common name: curry tree, sweet neem leaves
Height: It’s a slow grower reach height of 6 inches in a year, so give it time to settle.
Difficulty level: Easy
Planting & Care
Curry leaf plants may be grown from cuttings or seed. The seed is the pit of the fruit and can either be cleaned or the entire fruit may be sown. Fresh seed shows the greatest rate of germination. Sow the seeds in potting soil and keep them damp but not wet. They will need a warm area of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 C.) to germinate. Growing curry leaf tree from seed is not an easy task because germination is fickle. Other methods are more consistent.
Sunlight: The curry leaf tree performs best when grown under full sun exposure but it should be gradually acclimated to full sun exposure as during hot summer months it can be sunburned when temps are above 100* F especially when the plant is container grown.
Soil: Curry leaf requires moderately moist soil.
Fertilizer: I would fertilize the curry leaf plant once a month from March to October with a slow-release dry granular product such as Osmacote ( for acid-loving plants) and also feed it a liquid product such as liquid fish fertilizer(Atlas or Alaska brand) available at most OSH hardware stores. I like to use the 3 Tablespoons per gallon dilution rate and I would add 6 cupfuls of the diluted fish solution to each curry leaf.
Also, the curry leaf has a tendency to become iron deficient so every other month or so it would be a good idea to apply some form of iron based product to it as well. Try using approximately 20% iron sulfate (Green colored, sand textured, dry product) at the rate of only two tablespoons per plant and increase the quantity as the plant grows.
- In Container: It can be container grown, if over the years you remember to increase the size of the container.
- Please keep in mind that I do not suggest transplanting the curry leaf into a very large container now.
- You should gradually move the plant into larger containers over the years as it out grows the present container that it is currently housed in.
- For example, it is presently housed in a two gallon size container and perhaps next year in spring could be transplanted into a five gallon sized container.
- Potting Mix Equally as important is the use of a quality potting/planting mix when the time comes to transplant into a larger container or into the ground.
- I recommend the use of 50%Supersoil brand Palm&Cactus mix and either 50% native soil (If planting into the ground) or 50% Azalea/Camellia mix (Acid Mix) if transplanting into a larger container.
- Eventually ( in 5-10 years or so ), the container size should be increased to at least a 30 gallon size.
- If the container you choose to house the plant in is made of black plastic, you should either paint it white or wrap the container with heavy duty aluminum foil to protect the roots from sun exposure in the valley areas.
- Propagation: You can propagate curry leaf by seed.
- It will take 1-2 years for the seedlings to become established.
- You should pinch and prune them while they are young in order to have a multiple-branched plant that will give you more leaves for harvesting.
- If you propagate from seed, you might want to remove the hard outer shell before planting to help it germinate quicker.
- Make sure to use fresh seeds.
Harvesting: Curry Leaf is easy to harvest: simply pluck off leaves as you need them for cooking. These leaves have the best flavor when they are used fresh instead of dried. The more you harvest, the bushier the plant will become, meaning that harvesting encourages the growth for future harvesting.
Curry leaves have the strongest flavour and aroma when fresh. You can use them in soups, sauces and stews as you would use a bay leaf and fish it out when the leaf has steeped. You can also dry the leaves and crush them for use. Store them in a sealed glass jar out of light and use within a couple of months. Because they lose flavour quickly, growing curry leaf tree is the best way to have a good, constant supply of this flavourful herb.
- Curry leaves possess the qualities of a herbal tonic .
- they strengthen the functions of stomach and promote its action.
- They are also used as a mild laxative.
- The leaves may be taken mixed with other mild tasting herbs.
- It is used for digestive disorders, diabetes, burns & bruises, eye disorders, insect bites etc.
- It has a fragrant, citrus-like flavour and not only has amazing uses for culinary purposes, but also has been used in Ayruvedic medicine for centuries.