Many vegetable growers reached out to us, asking why their curry leaf plant is not growing, so we thought we put together this resource to hopefully fix the issue.
The Kadi Patta (botanical name Murraya koenigii) is native to south India and other Asian countries. This plant needs some special care to grow, particularly if you’re living in Europe or the US.
Why is my Curry Leaf Plant not growing? Curry Leaf plants often face stunted growth in unfavorable conditions. Peak growth performance is reached in full sunlight, slightly acidic soil, and temperatures around 60°F (15°C) with sufficient nitrogen, calcium, and magnesium concentration in the soil.
Here’s what this blog will teach you:
- All the different curry leaf plant varieties
- Common problems with curry leaf plant
- What makes curry leaf plants grow
- How to Keep your plant healthy
- Time a curry plant takes to grow.
Now we’re all set to go!
Common reasons Curry Leaf Plants aren’t growing
If you are trying to grow curry plants in your garden for some time and don’t know why your curry plant is not growing, you might have planted the wrong variety.
This exotic herb with aromatic, pungent leaves – an essential ingredient to many desi dishes – comes in three different varieties. In other words, there is a chance that you bought a variety that isn’t suited for your place and climate. Before buying a curry plant for your garden, consider three things;
- Where are you going to plant it in your garden or a container?
- Plant the curry leaf tree at a spot where it gets enough sunlight to thrive. If you’re planting indoors, buy a good quality grow light or place your pot in an area where it gets 6-8 hours of max sunlight.
- Curry Leaf Trees aren’t exactly the fastest growing plants out there. They take quite some time to produce large leaves, which makes growing them a test of patients.
Let’s take a close look at these 3 important topics – starting with the different curry leaf varieties for different spaces. Curry plants grow from small to medium size and have three distinct types, and all have their goods and bad.
Understanding the different Curry Plant Varieties
The three types are gamthi, regular, and dwarf. With 6-15 feet high and 4-12 feet wide, a regular curry leaf tree is the most common cultivated plant among the three options. Typically, this variety takes a large space to grow. Hence, if space is the issue, try your hand at gamthi or dwarf variety.
Dwarf curry plants merely grow 10-12 inches in height when fully mature. This version is best to grow indoors and during winters. It is much smaller than regular, but counterintuitively has the largest leaves of all the curry plant varieties.
If you plant a dwarf in your garden, then make a boundary around it to keep it in the desired location. This variety spreads out once planted; growing them in containers is usually the best approach.
With only 6-8 inches in height, gamthi is the smallest curry plant of all three options. Unlike a dwarf variety, it does not spread out, but it isn’t the fastest grower either. Besides, gamthi favors full sun and well-drained soil, as well as light fertilization during hot months only.
Fortunately, the Curry plant isn’t affected by most pest and insects, but it might struggle with adverse weather conditions. More importantly, all three types of curry leaf plants are first tender.
Problems that Curry Plant Face
Usually, the curry plant doesn’t have problems with pests and disease because of its strong aroma, which keeps them away. Still, some insects such as scales, mealybugs, and aphids are sometimes messing with curry plants.
A change of color or appearance of the leaves is an indicator of infections or infestations. Here’s a tip: If you see signs of infestations, for instance, sticky leaves, spots, bugs, or bite marks, spray your plant with saltwater once every two weeks besides regular watering. However, Try to avoid getting too much salt into your soil.
Alternatively, you can spray horticultural oil or diluted neem oil to keep insects and diseases away from your curry plant. Another crucial element to healthy plant-growth is covering all the basic requirements to make a plant happy. Let’s take a look at what curry plants need to thrive.
How to grow a Curry Leaf Plant
Growing a curry plant requires the right amount of water and sun, suitable temperature and soil, and sometimes a good fertilizer. Your plant might stop growing once one of these requirements goes amiss.
The curry plant needs full sun (at least 6-8 hours of daylight) to grow. Make sure air is circulating properly around the plant to avoid cooking it. Curry plant seeds need a hot place for germination. A temperature around 68 degrees F will work best for these seeds.
Besides, avoid excessive heat – a lot of sun exposure could be harmful to the plant’s health and cause sunburn. Consider moving your plant indoors, to partial shade, or building a shader during the summer.
Sunlight protects the curry plant from losing its leaves. That’s why place the plant in the sunniest area of your garden during the cold season. Bring them indoors when it’s cold outside. Can you grow curry leaf plants indoors? Yes, you can; providing them with good indoor grow light will keep them growing, especially in cold climate areas.
Water your curry plant regularly during spring and other mild months of the year. Watering once a week is usually enough. Curry plants love warm weather but don’t survive drought conditions so consider watering twice a week during the hot summer days.
On the contrary, water your plant less during winter. Over-watering might be the reason your curry leaf plant is not growing. Water only when the soil is dry; over-watering can cause serious damage to the roots, causing them to stop growing.
Now you know that curry plants don’t like overwatering, so water it infrequently but deeply. Deep watering helps to establish an extensive root system.
Curry leaf prefers slightly acidic soil with good drainage for seed germination and plant growth. So if your plant is facing problems growing, double-check the quality of your soil. This plant cannot grow on poor-quality soil. Add sand and manure to make your soil well-drained and fertile.
If your curry plant suddenly stops growing, chances are the temperature might be unfavorable. Tropical plants struggle with growth below 40°F but thrive around 65°F or above.
If your curry plant stops growing, It might be because you are not feeding your curry plant enough. Although curry leaf plants do not need a lot of fertilizer to grow, feeding your plant once in a while is key.
Typically, Curry leaf plants lack Iron, which slows down the growth process of the plant. So adding a teaspoon of iron sulfate to your soil will do the work. Iron sulfate will help boost the leaves’ growth and give your plant better-looking foliage.
Fertilizers for Curry Leaf Plant
First and foremost, curry leaf plants don’t need many fertilizers unless you are growing them in a container. Curry plants growing in the ground can get most of their nutrients and minerals from the soil without additives.
On the other hand, container curry leaf plants might lack nutrients and minerals as they wash away from pot soil with regular watering. Hence, container plants require fertilizer for healthier, bushier, and faster growth.
Let’s review some homemade and natural fertilizers for curry leaf plants, how they help curry leaf plants, and how to use them.
Homemade fertilizers are easy to make and are cost-effective.
Calcium Foliar Spray
Why use Foliar Spray? It provides the fastest way for the plant to absorb nutrients. Using calcium gives sturdy growth, green leaves, and a robust root system to curry leaf plants.
How to Use
- You can use purchased or homemade Calcium Foliar Spray
- For the homemade solution, mix 4tbsp. of calcium chloride or calcium nitrate per gallon of water
- Fill the solution into a spray bottle and apply a thin layer to your plant’s leaves
- You can apply the spray twice a week.
Alfalfa or Canola Meal
Alfalfa or Canola Meal is an excellent fertilizer for curry plants. It has a high amount of nitrogen which curry leaf plants need the most.
How to Use
- Before starting the procedure, allow the soil container to dry out a little.
- Apply Canola Meal (6.4-0.8-1.3)² according to your soil’s deficiencies
- Gently apply the mixture around the curry leaf plant base and work it into the topmost soil layer.
- Applying Canola Meal every few months should suffice.
Tough Homemade fertilizers are less costly and good, but they alone are not enough for plants. Still, plants need some liquid fertilizer and some solid/granular fertilizer to feed plants nutrients for a long time.
Compost improves soil structure, loosens the soil, and makes it easier for root penetration. Additionally, it helps hold water in potting soil.
Before using Compost for your curry leaf plant, make sure to bake or dehydrate it properly; otherwise, it can burn your plant or cause the soil to turn acidic.
How to Use
- Add a trowel full of Compost to a 14 diameter soil pot and add comparatively more for the larger pot.
- Gently mix the top layer of the soil, avoid damaging the roots.
- Water thoroughly
- Applying compost every 3-6 months as needed
Homemade All-in-one fertilizer
To make our own homemade fertilizer we need to mix:
- 4x Alfalfa or canola meal for nitrogen
- 1x Rock dust for added minerals
- 1x Gypsum for calcium
- 1x Rock phosphate for organic Phosphorus
- 0,5x Epson salt for Magnesium
- Lime or sulfur for pH control
Supplementing it with some fertilizer will provide nutrients to the curry leaf plant for the long term, which nourishes and is suitable for optimum plant growth.
How to Use
- Add a handful of fertilizer to a small pot (14 diameters) and add proportionally more for the larger pot.
- Mix the top layer of the soil carefully without damaging the roots.
- Water thoroughly.
Along with fertilizers that provide vital nutrients (N, P, K), the curry leaf plant needs additional nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and Iron.
If your curry plant has less green color and has a yellowish appearance, it could be a magnesium deficiency. Epsom salt consists of magnesium and sulfur. Adding it to your curry plant soil will increase chlorophyll production and restore leaves’ lush green color.
How to Use
- Add 2 tbsp of Epsom salt in 1 gallon of water.
- Gently, pour the mixture at the base of your curry plant.
- You can also spray it directly on leaves.
- Apply monthly until early fall
Pot Size Matters
The right pot size is essential for growing curry leaf plants – or any plant – successfully. However, any resin, terracotta, plastic, or ceramic container will work for curry leaf plants. But light-weight containers are more practical since you have to move your plant inside and outside seasonally.
Whatever material you select, make sure that it contains an adequate size drainage hole at the bottom. Never choose a small pot for a large plant. This won’t allow the roots to grow properly, hindering the plants’ growth-rate and survival chances.
Once the plant root touches the pot’s side, the plant will divert its energy in growing vertically by growing more leaves. A newly planted curry leaf plant will live in its pot happily for 1-2 years. In spring, check whether the plant requires a new pot or not.
As a general rule of thumb, if your plant knocks over in windy conditions, then it’s defiantly time for a bigger pot.
How Fast Does A Curry Leaf Plant Grow?
Curry leaf plant is a herb that grows slowly. It takes a few years for baby plants to develop roots and adjust to the new environment before growing height.
Anyhow, once the plant is 2-3 years old, it will be denser, taller, and you can harvest it regularly. Nurseries sell mature and young trees; make sure to select the one that fits your time frame. Buying young curry leaf plants is cheaper but takes a lot of time, so only buy them if you have patience.
Additional Tips For Best Growth
Below are some additional tips to help you with growing your curry leaf plant.
- Pinching the tips of the baby plant will encourage multiple branches and extra leaf production.
- Pruning back your plant through spring and harvesting early leaves will keep the plant producing as many leaves as it can.
- Pluck the flower right away as you see them growing on branches, enabling the plant to focus on leaf production.
- Lack of Iron turns the curry leaf plant yellow, but the leaf veins remain green. Iron deficiency in curry plants is sometimes due to high pH soil as curry leaf plants like acidic soil range between 6.4 to 6.9.
Add chelated Iron (an altered form of Iron) to the soil, making it easier for the plant to absorb and digest.
- Calcium is a critical nutrient that curry plants need for overall growth and development. It also supports root and leaf development. Gypsum is an excellent source of calcium; spread it every other month on the soil’s top layer and mix gently. Water thoroughly.
We hope we have provided you with enough information to determine why your curry plant is not growing. Not only that, but now you also know how you can produce a lush green curry plant.
Growing a curry plant at home is not as easy as it seems unless you give it proper care and time – it’s a commitment. If you still have any queries left, be sure to ask us!