Madonna from Brisbane Australia writes:
Thank you for your most valuable information about the curry tree. Also, many thanks your way for the delicious recipes that you share so generously. I have had your website bookmarked for some time, but only looked at the various recipe links. Only when using google to do a search on ‘curry tree’ did it lead me to your essays pages, which I will pay more attention to in the future.
A friend gave me a curry tree last year and my husband has used the leaves in his cooking (using some of your recipes needless to say). My question concerns how to look after the plant and make it grow best. I live in Brisbane, Australia. The tree is in a pot and gets mostly sun with some shade during the morning. I try to protect it from strong wind if it comes up, and water it when its soil is getting dry ie. don’t waterlog it.
It’s ‘trunk’ is very slim, about one centimeter across. It is about 70 cms tall with a group of six small ‘branches’ of leaves at the top of its spindly stem. At the moment there is a cluster of berries in the middle, but I read where you recommend taking these off so as not to detract from the leaf growth. I am wondering how best to help the trunk buttress and possibly grow more branches? Is it normal for it to grow taller with just the outcropping of a few stems at the top or should it have more branches lower down?
I hope you can give me some advice, we love the flavour of the leaves and it has certainly meant a lot in my husband’s cooking endeavours. With regards Madonna.
Hello Madonna, Thanks for your letter.
I am by no means a professional gardener, and can only share my limited experiences in growing a curry leaf plant. Alas I had to give my potted curry plants away recently since I just moved to Sydney. I’ll have to start again!
Your description of how you grow it is exactly how I used to grow mine in Perth. And when young and spindly, they do tend to sprout a few branches at their crown.
Yes, as soon as those little buds appear in their tiniest state – nip them off, and more leaves will sprout shortly after.
Regarding buttressing the trunk, I staked mine – carefully, so as not to injure the roots. As far as growing more branches, regular feeding (every two weeks) with Seasol would seem a reasonable way to go. New branches were a rarety for me – probably because my plants became too large for their pots.
Mine rarely sprouted down below till later in it’s life – but it was in a pot. I think once yours finds the optimum spot and is transplanted into your garden it will flourish.
If you don’t mind I will publish this exchange on my blog and invite any gardeners out there to share their experiences with growing curry leaf plants. Is that ok?
Hope this has helped. Best wishes, Kurma
So readers, anything to add?
Posted by Kurma on 1/2/08; 7:17:27 AM