Marianne CannonHow to grow curry leaf tree

Curry leaf tree provides that wonderfully fragrant addition to southern Indian curries, soups, dhal and chutney. Although the main reason you would grow it is for its aromatic leaves, it’s also a good hedge, screen or pot plant. Usually known botanically as Murraya koenigii, it’s had a recent name change to Bergera koenigii (the original name given to it by Linnaeus), but you’ll still find it labelled Murraya koenigii in most nurseries.

Curry leaf tree

Curry leaf tree, Bergera koenigii, syn Murraya koenigii


Curry leaf tree grows well in tropical right through to Mediterranean and temperate climates and has compound leaves and fragrant flowers through spring and summer like its sister plant Murraya paniculata, often called orange jessamine. Don’t confuse the true curry leaf with other so-called curry leaf plants like Helichrysum italicum, a small grey-leafed perennial in the daisy family, which might smell like curry but is not the one used in cooking.


A young curry leaf tree about 1.5m (5ft) tall

A young curry leaf tree about 1.5m (5ft) tall

The best growing conditions for curry leaf tree are in full sun to light shade and it’s not at all fussy about soil type or even too particular about drainage. Anywhere that you can grow Murraya paniculata you can grow curry leaf tree, and that includes districts that have light frosts and colder winters. However like Murraya, it is also proving weedy in the bushland areas of the subtropics too, especially in southern Queensland and northern NSW. If you want to grow it there, you’ll need to make sure you pick off the berries before the birds find and spread them.

Prune your curry plant a couple of times a year to keep it bushy – and you’ll want to harvest the leaves anyway, so this should be easy. In a pot, mine has only grown to about a metre (3ft) after several years, but a Melbourne reader tells me she has some in-ground that are over 2.5m (8ft) tall. In warmer areas, they’ll easily get to around 4-6m (13-20ft) high. In ground, they’re tough and drought hardy once established but I hear they tend to sucker, so if that’s an issue for you, I’d stick to a pot, although that will mean more watering. Feed them regularly for strong, leafy growth.

Curry Leaf tree flower

Curry Leaf tree flower

Curry Leaf tree fruit both half ripe and ripe

Curry Leaf tree fruit both half ripe and ripe


You can buy curry leaf tree both as small plants from herb suppliers and also larger pots in nurseries, or you can propagate it yourself from either root cuttings or the berries, although root cuttings may increase its suckering habit. Pick berries when they’re half to fully ripe (black) and sow them in seed raising mix before they dry out, after squeezing the seed out of the fruit pulp. Only just cover the seed and keep them warm (above 21°C/70°F) and they’ll germinate in about one and a half weeks. But note, that although the flesh of the berry is edible, the seeds are poisonous.

Julia's Prawns with Curry Leaves Photo by Alpha

Julia’s Prawns with Curry Leaves Photo by Alpha

Cooking with curry leaf – many southern Indian and Sri Lankan dishes use curry leaf to add a spicy taste that isn’t hot. Strip the leaflets off the central stalk and then tear or crush them between your fingers just before frying as this releases more flavour. When making a curry, they’re usually fried in ghee with the onions but you can also add them to scrambled eggs, rice dishes, vinegars and salad oils. Sauté curry leaf with mustard seed and add to dhal or vegetable dishes.

And if you get caught with bad breath, pop a few leaves into your mouth, leave them there for a few minutes and voilà, fresh breath! Or so, I’m told…..

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Marianne Cannon

About Marianne Cannon

Marianne Cannon has been broadcasting as Real World Gardener on radio 2RRR 88.5fm in Sydney, since September 2009, and the program is now syndicated to radio stations around Australia. It's about growing your own, the abc of plants, and how to create sustainable gardens to fit into today's environment. Not just a show about plants; it has a strong green and ecological bent, with co-presenters addressing issues such as native animals and plants, water conservation, composting, reducing waste, protecting native species and more.

90 thoughts on “How to grow curry leaf tree

    • Hello Julie,
      In subbtropical or tropical climates it grows like a weed unless you have it in a pot.
      I guess you mean in ground.
      In your warmer climate it would easily get to 2 metres in 2 years.


    • I planted my first two curry leaf plants in Brisbane about five months ago when the plants were 5 inches tall. After five months they are very healthy and just over two-feet tall (very fast growth). I knew that I should prune them sooner rather than later, so I am pruning them today to make them branch out. I now realise that the leaf harvesting is done by actually pruning the plant.

      • Neighbour has one but when you crush the leaves it doesn’t smell like curry . It tends to be very weedy as he doesn’t stop it seeding . It smells like kero or an odd chemical type smell when you crush the leaves so reluctant to use them although he does & he’s Asian .

  1. I love my Curry Tree and planted it about 3 yrs ago as a tiny cheap sapling. It is now the most beautiful shrub, planted in my berry patch and is so pretty when it flowers and then produces those stunning berries. It’s about 6′ tall and a beautiful additiion to the garden. I feed mine with alpaca manure and must say it is truly a hardy plant.

  2. Love your site Marianne.

    I’ve got a curry tree growing in a large terracotta pot. It’s grown from a tiny 30cm plant into a little tree about 150cm tall in about 2 years.We are in Melbourne. It produced quite a few seeds early in the year but the birds got to them before I had the chance to pot them. My questions are: what’s the best food for the tree? How often should I prune? and how do I encourage the trunk to widen?


    • Hello Mel,

      Treat your curry tree like any other exotic shrub, feed during the warmer months with just about anything,eg pelletised manure or liquid fertilisers are all fine.
      I also recommend tip pruning at the beginning of Spring to promote bushiness.


  3. Hello, I am wondering how aggressive the roots are? If I plant this near my in ground water tanks, will the roots cause problems?

    • Hello Amanda,

      Not a good idea to plant a curry tree near your water tanks. Although no more vigorous than
      Murraya tree roots, the tree has a tendency to sucker even in temperate climates.


  4. About to put mine in the ground in central Victoria. Wanted to ask about the suckering nature – how to best keep this under control?

    • Hello Lauren

      Suckering can’t really be kept under control if the plant is in the ground because it does grow into a largish shrub. Quite a few plants throw out suckers that actually don’t go to far from the central trunk. Grow it in a large pot if you think the suckering is going to cause problems in your garden.
      Some people cut the bottom out of an old metal rubbish bin and plant the tree into that to control the suckering.
      Might be worth a try.

      good luck


  5. I live in the Barossa where frost can be quite bad. I’ve brought my young (about 6 months) potted curry leaf tree under the patio but it’s still getting blackened by what I’m assuming is frost damage. Would it survive a winter indoors next to a window?

    • Hello Karina,

      The curry leaf tree is not really an indoor plant, however, if your window is north facing, then it should survive.
      Plants that are affected by frost can be protected with a fleecy covering, much like the wadding you can buy in dress material stores. There is also a polymer that you can spray on the leaves, such as Yates Drought Guard. this helps protect from frost. But not a good idea if you intend to use the leaves in cooking.
      Another suggestion is regular dosing of seaweed solution every fortnight, helps strengthen the plant cells to survive frost better.

      Hope that helps.

  6. i have had my tree here in kurtistown hawaii for 25 years and would like to add it takes to pruning and shaping very well. i sell seeds on my website

  7. I’m happy to find a curry leaf tree thread that is current. Relevant threads up til now all seem to be five years old !.

    I’m in Richmond VA and was lucky enough three years ago to receive a 24″ tall dwarf curry leaf tree from an Indian friend who lives nearby. I’ve somehow managed to not only keep my tree alive but encourage it to sprout new growth over the winter! The tree is now 28″ tall and producing new growth at a phenomenal rate.

    This is what I’ve learned (mostly the hard way). Hope it helps someone and your mileage may vary:

    Curry leaf trees do well indoors during colder weather if you keep them “hydrated” so to speak. Heating a home can dry out a curry leaf tree and make it susceptible to “scale” – small brown mite-looking things.

    Scale can be removed with Q-tips and rubbing alcohol. It can also be prevented with the use of neem oil spray. Mix 1 tablespoon of neem oil concentrate in a gallon of water and mist both tops and bottoms of the leaves as well as the branches. I spray mine every 6 – 8 weeks. It puts something of a protective shine on the leaves and branches. I wipe the leaves down with a damp paper towel before adding them to Indian dishes I prepare.

    Curry leaf trees also respond well to epsom salts in water (magnesium sulfate). One teaspooon per gallon of water and give your curry tree a small drink once a month.

    Over-watering is not a good idea. One-quarter cup of tap water every other day seems to work well – perhaps a little more if the tree is outside on hot days. Use tepid water, not cold. The only fertilizer I’ve ever used is Osmocote.

    My tree winters in the sitting room near the south-facing windows. It lives in a shady spot on the deck during warm months, subjected to morning and evening sun. I’m not really a “talk to plants” person but after spending years searching for a curry leaf tree, I fuss over it. It gets a daily spritz of tepid tap water along with a pep talk and a close inspection of all the beautiful green leaves. My Indian friend swears that tree did something very right in a past life in order to have ended up in my care.

    There’s now a large cluster of buds at the top of the tree. Based on everything I’ve read, the flowers bloom (and they really do smell like jasmine) then fall off and berries grow in. I had flowers but no berries last year. Other trivia: curry leaf trees are self-pollinating and the seeds are poisonous.

    I’m botanically-impaired.. typically the kiss of death to anything that grows.. Somehow I’ve managed to coax a shaggy little curry leaf tree to grow several inches and produce (as of this afternoon) 25 new sprouts that will each unfurl into springs of 12-16 leaves. I also learned today that curry leaves can be frozen but to not strip the leaves from the sprig before freezing them.

    I’m hoping this is the year I get berries (and with them, seeds). Hopes this info helps someone else !

    • Hello Tara,

      thanks for that comprehensive note about your curry tree. Just a note for those living in the Southern Hemisphere. A north facing window is recommended if you’re overwintering your curry tree indoors.

      Treatment of scale is best done with a botanical oil such as eco oil which has no withholding period and is also safe for beneficial insects. Spraying is done when the pests are likely to be active, that is, the warmer months of the year.
      If you don’t have a large outbreak of scale you can scrub them off with an old toothbrush instead.


      • a toothbrush – brilliant !!! (How did I not think of that????) Are Neem oil and eco oil similar? I’m ridiculously excited to have found your curry leaf tree guidance – thank you !

        • Hello Tara,

          How nice to find another excited gardener!
          The two products are different.
          eco oil is 100% plant oils, and oils are effective on insects such as scale.
          Neem oil, although being derived from the Neem tree, is more effective on pests such as caterpillars, aphids, grasshoppers and whitefly to name a few.
          In Australia, neem oil is not registered for controlling scale. However, horticultural oils, like eco oil (which is actually plant based) or Pest oil (which is petroleum based) are registered and are effective in controlling scale when used at the right time of the scale’s lifecycle.
          Hope that’s helpful and I am glad you found the information you’re looking for.
          if you visit my blog post or facebook page you’ll find more information on the curry leaf tree. just put in curry leaf in the search box to bring up the information. (,


          • Hi Marianne, thanks for this thread. Do you know if or of anyone who grows curry leaf tree in Tasmania successfully?

    • For folks who want to freeze curry leaves (good for when you buy them from the market, and don’t have a plant), try this, it works beautifully for me. Spray the fresh leaves with oil or rub them with cooking oil (I use Canola) and then place them in a ziplock bag and freeze them. Using this method, the leaves stay moist and you can use them in your cooking with the fragrance intact.

      • I just put mine in a zip lock bag after washing lightly and then put the bag into the freezer. Have been using the leaves for more than 2 years, still taste great.

  8. At what height/ age should I begin to prune my curry leaf plant and how much of the plant should be pruned during the first trimming. I purchased a Murraya koenigii about 4 months ago in a 2.5 inch (7cm) pot and its about 8 inches (20cm) tall. I repotted it to an 8 inch (20cm) container. It looks to still be a young frail plant with one thin stem and leaves about the size of a fingernail.

    • Hello Jane,
      At this small size, only tip prune your curry leaf plant, so just 5 cm or so.
      Perhaps some controlled release fertiliser and seaweed solution to help the plant along.


  9. my curry leaf tree has turned yellow last autumn and all leaves dropped off. it is now spring and shows no sign of new growth. Had now trouble in the last 4 yrs with growth.

      • Hello Beverley and Selwyn,

        Plants lose their leaves due to stress factors such as drought, and cold, or hot drying winds, and being too wet for too long.

        If you scratch the bark with your fingernail and it is still green underneath there is hope for your plant.
        I don’t know if your plants are in pots or in the ground but I’m going to suggest that if they’re in pots, have a look at the root system and decided if it needs re-potting.
        If it’s in the ground, proceed with watering in a couple of litres of made up seaweed solution. This is a plant tonic that helps plants under stress.
        In Australia we have a number of products that contain seaweed such as Seasol and eco C- Weed.
        Same goes for the potted plant.
        Do this every couple of weeks, but also keep watering regularly if the plant needs a drink.
        New leaves that are yellow suggest a nutrient deficiency. In this case, add a complete fertiliser (preferably organic) at half the regular dose.
        Curry leaf trees are pretty tough and should recover soon.


  10. Hello Jane,

    My thoughts on pruning your curry leaf plant do it is as soon as it puts on some new growth from now on, then tip prune. That just means nip off the top pair of leaves with your fingers. You will get two new shoots and when they have put on several pairs of leaves, tip prune again. This will mean a much bushier, leafier plant in the end.


  11. I live in Melbourne.
    I have grown my curry plant in ground, thinking that would be best. It has not died but is just spindly looking and slow growing. It used to be in a pot but it did not take too well, so we placed it into the ground in semi sun. Does this plant need any nourishment, someone said cow manure, and how do I encourage more branch growth? Currently it is just a spindly plant growing upwards.

    • Hello Karine,
      Not sure why your specimen didn’t take to being in a pot. I’ve had one in pot for several years.
      Spindly growth indicates not enough sun and/or nutrients.
      Semi shade can mean different things to different people. Curry tree needs full some for at least half the day particularly in winter in Melbourne.
      Can you move it to a sunnier location?
      Fertilise it with just about anything really.
      I occasionally feed my potted specimen with Aquasol, or controlled release fertiliser that last 3 months.


  12. Dear Marianne
    I am thinking of planting a plant unattended in at in Tarragona, Spain, where average temperate during winter (Nov-Dec) is 12 degree centigrade during day time and 4 degrees centigrade during night. Though it is unlikely, we can get frosty overnight in Tarragona.
    I am south Indian (living in the UK) and use a lot of curry leaves. My plan is to bring the leaves with me to the UK whenever I visit Tarragona, Spain. I would love to knew whether the plant going to grow healthy in Tarragona, Spain.

    • Hi Rajesh
      Although curry leaf tree will probably cope with the overnight minimum temperatures, Tarragona has very dry and hot summers, especially during July. Like many plants from the subtropics, curry leaf tree needs higher humidity during the hot months, or regular watering. If it has to rely on rainwater only, especially if it’s not protected from drying winds, it may not survive the summer. But it’s always worth trying! It’s quite easy to grow curry leaf tree indoors in a pot near a sunny window, even in the UK, so that’s worth trying too.

      • thanks for your advise Marianne, especially about the humidity levels and moisture zapping dryness of the region in summer. I will definitely try to grow them in the UK (i heard a lot of people doing this already)

  13. Hi Marianne, we live in apartment in Melbourne city. I would love to have this tree but we have a small balcony. Is it possible that I can grow this plant in my balcony in a small pot? And is it better to bring seeds or directly a small plant?


  14. Hello Prabhu,

    yes, you can definitely grow a curry tree in a pot, but when you say small, I would recommend 20 cm in diameter to begin with and then moving to 30cm or more when the tree grows. I imagine you’re getting at least 4 – 6 hours of sun on your balcony, otherwise it would be too difficult to try and grow it. It doesn’t really matter whether you start with seeds or a small plant, both will grow exactly the same way.


  15. Hi, I’m growing my curry leaf plant in a pot in Belgrave Victoria & have just noticed small flowers starting at the very top of the plant. Does this mean the plant has gone to seed? Will it change the flavor of the leaves? Do I get rid of the flowers or just leave them be? Also, just wondering the best way to pick the leaves: do I take the leaves off directly from the twiggy stem or is it best to remove the whole stem with the line of leave? Thanks for the great info on your website,
    Many thanks. Sasha.

  16. Hello Sasha,

    When curry trees set flowers, it’s like every other normal fruit tree and means, these will be followed by black berries which can also be used in Indian cooking.

    Setting seed is usually a term used for annual vegies that have bolted to seed before they can be harvested and there’s no return but is in now way bad for perennial plants which includes bushes and trees.
    Leave the flowers.

    I can’t say that the flavour of the leaves change significantly when there’s flowers or berries on it.
    When using the leaves in cooking it’s best to remove the whole stem with the “line of leaves.” In fact this is botanically considered a compound leaf!
    You can then throw that compound leaf into your cooking without the need to strip it from the stem, after washing it of course.


  17. Hi Dear Marianne,

    I really love your advice and useful information. I live in Melbourne and I have just bought curry leaf tree before 3 days and is in the black plastic pot.
    I want to know about do I need to replant it in new pot because I don’t know which soil did they use to plant it and when did they fertilize?

    Also do curry leaf tree survive in windy day it that alright to put pot outside or its better to put it in shade to protect from very heavy wind?

    what is the good time to water plant i mean morning or evening, I heard that do not water plants at night time.

    • Hello Tina,

      if you bought your plant from a garden centre, it should be a good quality potting mix which includes some controlled release fertiliser.
      I would lift it out of the pot to see if the roots are crowded and possibly circling the plant.
      If that’s the case, then I would repot into the next size up pot using good quality potting mix which includes fertiliser.
      I’m not sure how windy your location is but heavy wind dries plants out especially if they’re in pots.
      There’s no need to bring it inside though unless you’re expecting gale force wind.
      Try putting your curry tree near some kind of wind break, either another plant or screen so it won’t dry out too much.


  18. Hi Marianne, I have a curry leaf tree, and I’d like to use the leaves for cooking, I would like to know if it is best to harvest the leaves and dry them ( if so how ) before I use them for cooking or are they best used when fresh. Thank you, aldo

    • Hello Aldo,

      Using your curry leaves fresh in cooking is the best way.
      If you still want to dry your leaves, wait until there’s less humidity in the air then hang in a bunch then in a dark place until dry.


  19. I have a curry leaf tree which is about 4 years old it is growing well in Eynesbury Victoria. Last year I did not use any leaves thinking I could use them as I needed them. However, they appeared to dry around the tip of the leaves making them look half dead. Therefore is it better to remove them from the tree prior to winter and freeze them? Or would a change of position be more appropriate. It gets very cold at night in Eynesbury as we are a small township on the Keilor plains.

  20. Hello Dian,

    I would definitely remove the leaves you need for cooking prior to winter in your area and freeze them. Curry trees can tolerate cold down to about 5 degrees, but will be frost affected. If you have can easily move it to another position I would move it as long as it then doesn’t get burned by hot summer sun.
    An alternative, if you’re expecting a hard frost and if the tree’s not too big is to cover it with what’s called fleece but looks more like wadding that you can buy from dress material stores.


  21. Help! A co-worker and good friend of my wife gave me a Curry Tree about 3 years ago. I keep it outside most of the year and bring it inside for the winter. It’s in a 10″ pot and has grown to about 3′ now. It’s done very well in the past. But, so far this spring it’s leaves are yellowing and falling off. There’s no new growth and I am worried about it. Any suggestions? Oh yes, I live in the United States . . . central Mississippi.

  22. Hello Toby,
    ah yes, the yellowing leaves that drop off signifies stress of some kind.
    Yellowing leaves on plants may often be a sign of too little or too much water or nutrients which can affect plant performance.
    I’m thinking your climate is not too stressful for your plant however, drying out too much between watering can be a cause.
    If you can lift it out of the pot, have a look to see if the plant’s roots have completely filled the pot.
    This might explain the drying out even if you have been regularly watering your plant.
    If that’s the case, you’ll need to pot it up into the next size pot with some fresh potting mix.

    • Thank you very much, Marianne! Today I carefully lifted the curry tree out of it’s 10″ pot. And the roots were pretty thick at the bottom. So, I went and bought a 12″ pot and repotted it. Thanks again!

  23. Hi everyone, I live in Melbourne and i have about six months old curry plant. It is about 16-18 inches tall. I feed it with cow manure and liquid fertiliser every 4-5 weeks. I water it twice a week. I repotted it in big pot and it seemed to be doing well with growth. but lately I notice that the very tip of leaves are drying also some leaves are green but have some random drying spot on them that actually you can see the dried up veins in them. Please any one help me out. I love my plant and I don’t want to lose it.Thank you.

    • Hello Megha,
      I think your plant is suffering from fertiliser toxicity, particularly as you say you add cow manure to the potted plant as well as using liquid fertilisers.
      Generally using manures is better for the garden and controlled release fertilisers, or only liquid fertilisers for potted plants.
      You can however, use pelletised manures in pot plants but only in very, very small amounts.
      I would recommend stopping any fertilising and flush the pot with water a few times. Possibly water in some seaweed solution in about a week.


  24. to grow u can use fish water just pour it on to the curry leaves and bring it inside the house if you live in canberra

  25. I’ve had a curry plant on my balcony for about 4 months now and it hasn’t grown a bit. It’s just sort of existing. I live in north west WA so it’s always warm and it’s well watered. I’ve tried moving it to different areas of the garden but It just won’t grow. Have you got any suggestions at all?

    • Hello Laura,

      from my experience Curry Leaf Tree in a pot doesn’t grow all that fast.
      If you want to give it a move along, I suggest watering with a seaweed tonic such as C-Weed from eco-organic garden or Seasol, once a fortnight from now on and add a controlled release fertiliser (Nutricote, Osmocote etc). Any will do, but follow the directions don’t be tempted to give it more that the recommended dose.
      You could also try re-potting it into a premium grade potting mix and check the drainage holes are all open.
      It is possible that the potting mix has slumped and the roots are struggling to function.


      • Hello Josh,

        Dubai outside temperatures will probably cook the plant even if you watered it every hour on the hour.
        Having a shade-house would be slightly better but I think the hot air will just dry out the leaves.
        Curry leaf trees need high humidity to do well.
        Although not really an indoor plant, the only alternative for you is to try to grow it indoors as long as it receives a good amount of light for at least 6 hours.
        I’ve grown one in a pot for several years, although outdoors.


  26. I have curry plant in pot outside and live in gulf coast side of Florida
    Mine is growing with new leave coming weekly at top. The leaves are green but
    Are hanging down is this normal.
    The limbs are sturdy but the leaves have me worried

  27. Hello Marsha

    the leaves can seem to droop a bit but they should be still firm and not limp.
    If this is not the case then it’s time to (a) re-pot the plant because it may be pot bound with circling roots or (b) re-fresh the potting mix and give it a seaweed tonic. In Australia we have something called Seasol which is a liquid seaweed extract that you dilute with water..
    I am assuming that you are using potting mix and not just soil out of the garden.


  28. Hi, is it possible to prune my potted curry leaf plant in summer? Or is it too late? I live in Sydney. I have never pruned my curry leaf plant. I just discovered yesterday through your blog and some others that it should be pruned in spring. No wonder my curry leaf plant is not bushy at all:(

  29. Hi everyone, my curry plant has some strange green thick spots at the back of leaves also I saw 10-15 black tiny eggs like thing near stem. Some of freshly grown leaves do not have it they are healthy but some of old leaves are eaten and blotched looking. Can someone please help me with identifying the issue and how to get rid of the problem? Thank you

  30. We have just bought a curry plant, but the leaves don’t smell like curry. I have stripped some off the stem and crushed them.

    • Hi Kerrie – are you sure what you’ve bought is Bergera koenigii (originally Murraya koenigii)? Have you tried frying the leaves in some hot oil after you’ve crushed them to see if that releases the right aroma?

      • Hi Catherine, we bought it from buntings and the label said bergera koenigi. I fried some in oil and there was no flavour. Do the juvenile leaves have no scent?

        • I’ll check whether Marianne knows more but I think that curry leaf tree is mostly propagated by seed so that would mean there could be a lot of seedling variation between plants – some could be more fragrant than others. Are you comparing it to imported dried curry leaf you have bought? I’ve read that the varieties of curry leaf grown in tropical countries have more rounded leaflets and a stronger fragrance than those available in Australia.

  31. Friend of mine has given me the seeds/fruit of the curry leaf in a take away container to keep in the fridge. Her husband eats the flesh around the seed to combat his sinus problem. I’m planning to pot them

  32. I have recently moved into a new compound in Bangalore, India, where there is an old curry leaf tree about 7ft tall planted in the ground. However, the tree appears woody and dry, most of the branches are empty without leaves and there are very few shoots which have small and curling leaves. Its in aplace with abundant sun. Kindly advise on how the tree can be pruned and what needs to be done to revive it.

    • Hello Ami,

      I would recommend deep soaking with water and any organic liquid you have available such as compost tea or seaweed solution. Prune it back 30 cm when the tree is recovering leaf growth.


  33. Hi Marianne
    Thanks for all the great information and starting starting such a good conversation!
    I have a couple of curry trees in pots here in Canberra. They are moved under cover (under a balcony) in winter where they get full sun through much of the day. In summer I move them out where they get summer sun until early afternoon (and are outside our bedroom window so we can enjoy the perfume from the flowers). The larger one is a spreading standard more than 1.5 metres high. We use the leaves in cooking, and I just love the perfume (along with cardamon leaves, and basil and lemon verbena in summer) when I brush them when enjoying the veranda or just walking past …
    * My question: I planted the larger one too low down in a large conical terracotta pot around a year or so ago. Would it be OK if I topped up the level of the potting mix by around 15 – 20 cm? That is, is it like a tomato and would like more potting mix around its stem, or is it like a lemon and would hate it … or somewhere in between …? Thanks

  34. Hello Barbara,
    Tomatoes are one of the very few plants that can cope with soil up the stem further than soil level. I don’t recommend adding more than 5cm of potting mix but you would still have to keep it away from the trunk.
    The better option would be to lift the tree out of the pot , add the potting mix and replace.


  35. Hi Marianne, I am in Christchurch NZ and my little curry tree hasn’t really grown at all. We keep it inside during our winter and I cover it at night during Spring, Summer and Autumn if there are low temperatures forecast. The plant just isn’t growing. I have had it for about 2 years. We have it in a large pot and its about 9 inches / 22 cm. I am about to feed it Seasol now. It’s in a sunny spot on our deck. Any other suggestions? I have checked under the bark and it’s still green. Thanks in advance.

  36. Please do not plant your curry tree in your garden in SE Qld. We planted one when we first moved to Caloundra in 1994. We now have 3 TREES and the suckers are impossible to deal with. We have now turned them into a hedge which contantly require pruning. ( Whenever I fill my garden bin with the cuttings, i see $ signs that we are throwing out, if only we had the time to bag and sell them). Question: Would killing the ‘Mother’ tree assist in stopping the propagation? . I would say we have over 100 plants in our garden. Also, some of the plants growing from the suckers are very difficult to pull out.

    • I have heard of it suckering but didn’t realise it could be that bad! The only way you can contain the self propagation by suckers would be to install a deep root barrier along the outside of your hedge to isolate its root system. Then when suckers appear outside of that area, don’t just pull them up as you need to kill the roots they’re growing from. I have used a scrape and glyphosate paint method (scraping the bark back to green with a sharp knife blade and then painting that scar with full-strength glypho) to kill suckers. If you allow the sucker to stay leafy and alive while the herbicide is translocating, it will effectively kill the sucker and eventually the root it’s growing from.

  37. I’m interested in understanding any potential benefit of whey for my curry leaf tree. I make yogurt in my Instant Pot and end up with whey when I strain it.

    Some articles suggests using it in the garden so I’m curious as to whether it would be safe with my potted tree.

  38. I started growing mine in a pot in my balcony in China. It gets plenty of sun light. However the new leaves started withering away soon after the sprout. I water the plant once a day. Not sure what I need to do

  39. Hello Praveen,

    After you water, test the soil with your finger to see if it’s dry 1 cm below the surface.
    If that’s the case, your soil my have become water repellant.
    You will need a wetting agent to re-wet the soil.
    Also, when you water your plant, is the water running out of the bottom?
    That’s the best way to tell that your plant is getting sufficient water, particularly in warm to hot weather.
    Your plant will need less water once the weather cools down.
    Add some seaweed solution to your watering once a week as well.
    If it’s a young tree, perhaps the leaves are getting too much sun?

  40. Hi Marianne,

    I bought a small plant and put in the ground – we have very good earth – all my chillies flourish.

    The plant has good green growth though not as much as I think – been in the ground since last summer.

    The leaves certainly smell aromatic and I have used them in curries.

    Now I am concerned that my plant is not a curry leaf and could be something else ?

    Any suggestions as to increasing the growth – have had no fruit to date.

    Thanks for listening.


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