Woo hooo! We're delighted to announce the return of these incredibly popular plants
We have been growing these popular Indian herbs at our Sussex nursery for over 10 years and they have always sold out really quickly. However in the past few years we have simply not been able to keep up with demand. At one point we had over 1000 people on our waiting list for these rare plants. Each year we have grown more and more plants and been slowly catching up on our reserve list and this year it's such a relief to finally have been able to increase our production enough to catch up. Not only have we now contacted everyone on our waiting list to ensure they have had the opportunity to receive one of these precious Bergera koenigii plants but we now we're now excited to be able to release the remaining stock of over 1500 young plants for general sale.
Why are curry leaf plants so popular?
The True curry leaf or Sweet neem tree is an essential ingredient in a wide range of traditional Indian and Southern Asian dishes. It grows abundantly and easily in that part of the world, but it's an ingredient that simply doesn't travel well. When fresh, the leaves have a lovely fragrant and savoury flavour but when they are dried they lose that magic flavour and no longer really add anything.
Not to be confused with blended curry leaf mixes, the flavour of curry leaves is not spicy or peppery but is a deep and subtle flavour, used primarily in curries but also as a flavouring for nuts, rice and traditional breads like roti and chapati.
Fresh curry leaves used to be readily available in Asian and specialist grocery stores in most big towns and cities in the UK up to 2014 when importing fresh leaves was banned due to the perceived risk of an invasive beetle coming in with consignments. Just recently (perhaps this is the only good thing to come out of Brexit) the ban seems to have been quietly lifted but presumably the supply chains into these shops have been damaged and as yet we haven't seen or heard reports of fresh leaves being available again. With no ready supply of fresh leaves we have seen more and more people looking to grow their own.
Why are curry leaf plants so hard to find in the UK?
It is possible, but very difficult to grow curry leaf plants from cuttings. The most reliable way to grow these plants is from seed but the seed has to be super fresh and they are very difficult to germinate. Imported seeds are usually dried and next to useless and you need the right conditions and pretty mature plants to produce good seed. Over the last 3 years we have been working hard to increase our own production of fresh seeds from our stock of mother plants at the nursery and alongside this we have also begun working with a partner nursery to increase our production further. It's been a long road but we can't tell you how excited we are to finally have good stocks of plants ready for sale.
Are curry leaf plants difficult to grow in the UK?
Not really. They are part of the wider Rutacea or citrus family so do need a little bit of attention then some plants, but we have many hundreds of happy customers who have successfully grown these plants for cropping. They need a bright, sunny, spot and a regular feed and watering routine to thrive and are best kept as a houseplant or in the greenhouse in the UK.
Interested in finding out more?
Check out our top tips video and full care guide all about how to grow and get the most out of these precious plants in the UK