Grow your own Curry Leaves
These are the real 'curry' leaves used in traditional indian cookery. Also known as sweet neem, kariveppilai, karipatta or karhi-pat the leaves of these shrubs form the basis for a huge range of dishes, soups and curries from across the indian sub-continent.
Fresh curry leaves are really hard to come by in the UK, they don't travel or dry well and nothing really compares to their distinctive curry flavour. However with a bit of care you can grow your own fresh leaves at home and get that real authentic indian flavour straight from your windowsil.
Curry leaf plants are not the easiest of plants because of course they originate in much hotter climates so they do need a little bit of extra care when growing here. They should always been grown as a houseplant in the UK and will do best in bright, warm room away from any radiators or draughts.
They are particularly sensitive to daylight length and can struggle a bit in our short dark winter days. To combat this make sure they are in as bright a spot as possible and cut right back on the watering in the winter. We don't water here them here in the nursery from December to the end of February and even then we are cautious about overwatering until they have put on some good new season growth in June.
Buy your own curry leaf plant in a range of pots from £20.
This year's plants are looking fantastic as pictured.
Our 'Big Daddy' curry leaf tree is now over 5ft tall
We grow our curry leaf plants from seed in our Sussex nursery; Order your curry leaf plant now from just £20 plus delivery
Looking after your Curry Leaf Tree
If you follow these simple rules though you will have a highly aromatic and elegant looking tree that will transform your curries and indian dishes.
Native to warmer countries, curry leaf plants (Murraya koenigii) grow best indoors in the UK. Choose a bright windowsill away from any draughts or radiators where the temperature stays above at least 12C.
Because our dark winter days are a little challenging for these sun-lovers you should only expect your plant to put on new growth in the summer from April through til the end of September. In the winter, they don't usually grow at all and can look a bit sorry for themselves particularly if it is overcast for a few weeks. For this reason, be particularly careful not to over water in the winter. You should only be watering a very small amount and only when the top of the soil dries out completely.
In the spring and summer as they start to put on new growth you will need to water more often. Again water when the top of the soil is dry, but you can be more generous allowing the water to run right through the pot. Don’t allow your plant to stand in water but you might want to add a general purpose feed every few waterings to encourage growth.
Once your plant has grown on a little you can start harvesting the leaves for cooking. Fresh leaves have by far the best flavour and experiment with adding a handful of whole leaves at a time into curries and savoury Indian dishes.
Eventually these young plants can grow into sizeable bushes and will produce white flowers followed by seed heads.
Insects seem to find these plants as tasty as we do, so watch out for aphids, scale and mealy bug, particularly on the young growth.