If you love Indian cuisine, chances are you’re familiar with the flavor of curry leaves.
These aromatic leaves can be used to make a wide variety of dishes, from curries to chutneys.
While it’s easy to find curry leaves in most grocery stores, they can be quite expensive.
If you want to save money and have access to fresh curry leaves anytime you want them, why not grow your own plants? It’s easy to do and doesn’t require a lot of space.
Curry leaves are grown from cuttings or seed. The seed is the fruit’s pit, which may be cleaned or the entire fruit itself sown. Fresh seed has the best germination rate of all planting options. Sow the seeds in potting soil and keep them damp but not soggy. To germinate, they require a temperature of at least 68F or 20C.
What is the curry leaf plant?
The curry leaf plant, Murraya koenigii, is a tropical tree native to India and Sri Lanka. It’s part of the Rutaceae family, which also includes citrus plants.
The small tree grows to about 10 feet tall and has dark green, glossy leaves.
The flowers are white and fragrant, blooming in clusters.
The plant produces a small, black fruit that contains a single seed but it’s real value is in the foliage which is used as an aromatic spice in Indian cuisine.
Why grow curry leaf plants?
Why grow curry leaf plants?
Aside from the fact that they’re delicious, there are several reasons to grow your own curry leaf plants.
For one, they’re relatively easy to care for and don’t require a lot of space. They can be grown in pots or containers and will do well in most climates.
Another reason to grow your own is that it can be quite costly to buy curry leaves at the store.
A single plant can yield several ounces of leaves, which is a lot more than you’ll get for your money at the store.
And finally, there’s nothing quite like using freshly picked curry leaves in your cooking. The flavor is more intense and the leaves are much more fragrant.
How to grow curry leaf plants?
As mentioned, curry leaf plants can be grown from seed, cuttings, or air layering.
The most reliable method is to take stem cuttings from an existing plant.
Look for a stem that’s about 6 inches long and has several leaves.
Cut the stem just below a leaf node (the point where the leaves attach to the stem) and remove the lower leaves.
Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone and plant it in moist potting soil.
Keep the soil moist and in a few weeks, you should see new growth.
Once the plant has established itself, it can be transplanted to a larger pot or into the ground.
What conditions do curry leaf plants need
Curry leaf plants do best in full sun but will tolerate some shade.
They prefer well-drained, loamy soil and should be watered regularly, especially during the hot summer months.
Fertilize your plants every few months with a balanced fertilizer to keep them healthy and growing.
Pruning is not necessary but if you want to encourage bushier growth, you can trim the plant back after it flowers.
Curry leaf will not withstand frost so if you live in an area that has cold winters then grow your curry leaf plant in a pot so that it can be moved indoors to over winter.
How long does it take for a curry leaf plant to grow?
It takes curry leaf plants about 2-3 years to mature and reach their full size.
What pests affect curry leaf plants?
Curry leaf plants are relatively pest and disease free. The most common problem is root rot, which is caused by too much water.
To prevent this, make sure your plant has well-draining soil and don’t overwater it.
What uses do curry leaves have?
The main use for curry leaves is, of course, in cooking.
They’re used extensively in Indian cuisine and impart a unique flavor to dishes.
Curry leaves can be used fresh or dried and are often added at the beginning of cooking so that their flavor has time to infuse the dish.
In addition to being used as a spice, curry leaves are also used medicinally.
they’re said to have antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Curry leaves are also used as a natural treatment for diabetes and high cholesterol.
How to harvest curry leaves?
Curry leaves can be harvested at any time but the best time is just before the plant flowers.
To harvest, simply snip the leaves off the stem with a sharp pair of scissors.
You can also harvest by cutting back the entire plant. This will encourage bushier growth.
How to store curry leaves?
Curry leaves can be stored in a number of ways.
The easiest way is to place them in a zip-top bag and store them in the refrigerator.
They’ll stay fresh for about 2 weeks this way.
You can also freeze curry leaves.
To do this, wash the leaves and pat them dry. Then place them on a baking sheet and freeze for 2-3 hours. Once frozen, transfer the leaves to a zip-top bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
How to dry curry leaves?
Drying is another option for storing curry leaves.
To dry, wash the leaves and pat them dry. Then place them on a baking sheet and put them in a cool, dark place.
They should be dry in a few days. Once dry, store the leaves in an airtight container.
Curry leaf plants are relatively easy to grow and care for.
They’re a versatile ingredient in cooking and can also be used medicinally.
If you live in an area with cold winters, curry leaf plants can be grown in pots and brought indoors over the winter months.
With a little care and attention, your curry leaf plant will thrive and provide you with an abundance of leaves to use in your cooking.