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Indian Herbs
Curry Plant
Curry Plant We are fortunate to have access to the Wake Forest Herb Fest which is put on each year in April and have gone and bought herbs and plants the past three of them. Next year’s herb fest will celebrate the 10th annual from April 17th-26th, 2009 and is held in Festival Park, Wake Forest, NC. One of the interesting things about herb fest is that beyond just culinary herbs they also sell some medicinal herbs as well. One of the interesting medicinal plants for sale is the curry plant, it really has an amazing smell too. Every time I walk by the plant you can smell the deep rich curry scent. This plant shown above is into it’s second year, as it was planted in the spring of 2007.

This plant is not to be confused with the culinary preparation, as curry is actually a blend of many different herbs. The herbs used in real curry vary from region to region, and best known for its roots in Indian, Pakistani, Afghani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Nepali, Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, and other South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines.

The most useful derivitive of the plant is the essential oil that is pressed out of the leaves and is also known as Helichrysum oil, as the scientific name for the plant is Helichrysum italicum. According to Mountain Valley Growersweb site; “Helichrysum oil has recently been reinvestigated as a medicinal herb and is said to to be good for bruises and varicose veins. But, you will probably have to make your own oil or infusion as there is very little oil commercially available which tends to make it a bit pricey”.

I have yet to actually do anything with the curry plant, but I understand that the leaves can be crushed into a mayonnaise preparation such as an aioli or stuffed into the cavity of a chicken or other poultry, but it culinary uses are very limited. I do know that when I come near the plant or touch it I will smell like an Indian restaurant for a few minutes.

+ if you try to grow plant from curry plant seed, it helps if you have seed first put in moist paper towel for several days before putting them in soil. 
+ Remove hard shell to expose the seed before planting, it may help germinate quicker. 

+ Do not saw seeds too deep in soil. SuperSoil soil (sold at home depot) works very well. 

+ I read that it works if seeds are picked and then saw'ed as soon as possible. The seeds should not be too old. 

+ Curry plants florishes well in temperature around/above 65 degree temp. 

+ Small curry plants do not do well in direct sun light during hot summer weather and don't do well if soil is too wet. Th soil needs to be well-drained soil. Also, let soil dry a bit between watering cycles. 

+ During cold winter nights, bring [young] plants inside house and at least cover the pot with shade to avoid night frost which definitely kills them. 

+ Leave small curry plants in the same pot for about an year (or about 4-5" tall) before transplanting it into a bigger pot. 

+ It's very critical that curry plant roots are not disturbed. The best way to transplant is to move the plant with root around soil into a new/bigger pot. 

+ Potted plant requires regular fertilizer, at least during spring/summer time. MicacleGrow fertilizer works fine as well. Do not give strong doze of fertilizer to young plant. 

+ Plants can be grown either seeds or from suckers around an adult tree. 


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