A fast-growing deciduous shrub or small tree with deep roots and scented leaves.
Can be grown outside in pots during the hottest part of summer in a sheltered place but needs heated protection for the rest of the year.
The most flavourful leaves are produced when the plants are grown in hot and dry conditions.
If you have some very fresh curry leaves, you can try to root some as stem cuttings. Take some of the twigs which are not very floppy and green nor very hard and woody (this stage is called semi-ripe), and remove most of their lower leaves. Cut the stem cleanly at a node, and push the cutting a few centimetres into a 50/50 mix of potting compost and aquarium gravel, with about 3 leaves above the surface.
Put the cuttings in a propagator or covered pot, in a warm light place out of direct sunlight. Rooting will take about 3 weeks.
Alternatively, if you find some fresh curry leaves with ripe seeds on you can grow these: they require about 20°C to germinate and may take a long time to germinate.
Established plants need a sunny, well-drained place. They may easily outgrow any space you have for it!
As the plants grow, keep trimming them regularly to maintain a supply of young leaves for cooking. Water regularly and feed during the growing season.
In winter, keep the pot in a warm, frost-free place (minimum temperature 12°C.) In early April, soak the pot, repot if needed, and move the plants to a warm light place (around 18-20°C).
Usually healthy. Watch out for scale insects if you keep the same plants for a long time.
Difficult to find plants in the UK, although the fresh leaves are quite readily available in large towns. Several nurseries stock plants.