The Curry Leaf Plant (Murraya Koenigii) once established will/can reproduce in different ways. On its own, with a tap root deep enough to maintain its subsistence, it produces secondary roots (like mini-rhizomes) to produce little “baby” plants which can eventually exist on their on. From a gardener’s standpoint that is a good time to unearth-&-pot to create individual independent plants.
But … Curry Leaf Plants do produce flowers too, which when pollinated become fruits, bearing seeds …
Fruits ~ 1 ripened & 1 still immature (with their pollinating assistant)
and when ripened can be buried to germinate and produce seedlings.
I usually hand-pick them when they are dark burgundy and begin softening a little, then very, very gently peel off the coating and bury the aromatic seeds with their pulp intact.
A matured Curry Leaf fruit and 1 which has been peeled. This seed, with its hypocotyl visible, is still vegetal but ready to start growing into a plant.
So today, a few Curry Leaf seeds will be given new and comfortable seed cell-pots with rich growing mix, to begin their new lives.
Yes, I’m helping it to get out of its Vegetal state!
I was told that the word Pesto may be derived from Latin words, either pistus which means “crushed” or pastare which means mortar-pounded. My Italian girlfriend could not specifically tell me which held more weight.
Nevertheless, when I found that my Curry Leaf plants (Murraya Koenigii) simply grew amok (they must have loved Hurricane Matthew) … I decided it was time for another coppicing session, a severe one too.
Grew faster & thicker than usual.
I also decided, with so much Curry Leaves going to be available after the cutting and snipping, to try making Curry Leaf Pesto, out of curiousity . These days with global fusion cuisine there’s no reason why Pesto has to be Italian in taste and aroma, and only be used on pasta, right?
With the kind contribution of a Facebook friend, I got a link to a recipe from ‘The Star’ that did not look too complicated. So a portion of the tallest branch was trimmed and the leaves washed & dried.
All mentioned ingredients.
And the outcome… ?
a mildly fragrant, delicious pesto!
I think this will go very well with brown rice and on toast and am going to put it to good use for tomorrow’s lunch.
The Curry Leaf Plant or Murraya Koenigii is actually a super strong rooted plant. At the change of seasons it may shed its leaves and look dead BUT never assume it’s dead and throw it away. 99% of chances are it will come back to life when the time is right.
Today, with the weather warm and summer-like, I know that Curry Leaf Plants are raring to take root, shoot to life and grow. So I unearthed several baby-plants to put in pots.
Young and ready to spring to life
Roots are twice the stem’s length
Each plant with its root gently curled is potted.
In a month’s time, these baby Curry Leaf Plants will no longer require ‘nursing’ care and are ready to be adopted. Fellow gardeners on the waiting list, your wait is about to end.
This tall and lanky Curry Leaf plant has been coppiced every 6 months. Why? I have found out that it actually reveals the forthcoming change of seasons … micro-climatewise, i.e.
It’s springing to life!
These stalks have been almost bald for winter and that is when dried curry leaves are needed in my kitchen. In the last fortnight, tiny greens have emerged from some pretty thick stems and this tells me that the soil it’s growing in is nice and warm enough for seed sowing.
Yes, my seeds have been sown… vegetable seeds, that is.
Vigorously sprouting …
Almost Bonsai looking.
And they do scream that they are coming back to life when I’m close to them in the morning as the dew on their leaves dry … they remind me of the fragrance of curries.
This particular Curry Leaf Plant (Murraya Koenigii) was planted there specifically to help shade a south wall in summer (click link to see what I mean), see the blank wall? I thought coppicing it would make it shorter and thicker but it did not quite work out that way.
So in December, knowing that the Chinese Year of the Monkey was around the corner, I decided to experiment ~ the mad monkey way… that is, anything goes.
(See my next post.)
Mother Nature will work at her own pace, in her own time & as she pleases.
Late spring is the time when I propagate tropical herbs in preparation for their growth surge in summer. When late summer is warmer than expected, some cuttings do not make it and some just choose to hibernate. It is now Fall and it’s warmer than normal … but some “dead looking sticks” are coming back to life.
The Curry-Leaf plant (Murraya Koenigii) seems to always want do things their way, so fellow Murraya growers, do not be disheartened when you see a stick in your soil. Do not pull & discard, for they are tough dudes those Murrayas.
Murraya’s Hat Trick
Ready to grow!
This is only my 3rd year of propagating this from cuttings. My mother plant simply does not bear flowers to produce seeds.
There’s mama Murraya today.
Just for Information since I’ve had quite a few inquiries, I’m sorry to say I do not propagate to sell. I donate them to a couple of thrift shops with gardening corners & give them to some FB Friends from S.E. Asia now living in the US.
Yes, we curry cooking people just can’t do without them.
Since my post on the recent coppicing of a Curry Leaf Plant (Murraya Koenigii), I have received 5 e-messages asking if they should be planted in sun or shade. I can only provide an answer to those living in zone 8b-10a in the northern hemisphere. In summer – under the shade; in winter – indoors but at a spot with some sun.
My matured tree
My matured tree is in-ground on the south side, under partial shade in summer. It almost died when I first grew it from seed and unknowingly just shoved it in the ground ~ then winter came. I had to used warm packs each night & cover it with frost cloth and it still ended up looking like bald sticks!
I now have several 6 month old plants grown from cuttings under shade. They are growing fine like the one in this pic. They do not get full sun at all.
Sorry, these are not for sale but reserved for some friends who will be visiting later this year.
I have been really surprised by the number of readers interested in curry leaf plants lately ~ globalization, I guess.
Incidentally, apart from using it for curry dishes, I also use it as a tea, yes, to drink. If you are really curious, do read this Indepth Review for its medicinal and phytochemical properties.
Dried Curry Leaf
Steeped to be drunk as tea
From a tall, thin stem to a leaf bearing ‘stump’ of sort.
The last coppice done (May 18th) has worked out well and borne leaves, lots of leaves, within easy reach and giving great shade to the wall against the summer sun.
Later today, I will coppice the next tallest stalk and hope it grows nice thick leaves like this one.
My next Curry Leaf Plant project.
There will be ample fresh leaves for kitchen use and if any reader knows a good recipe for curry leaf pesto, please share. Presently I am adding dried crushed curry leaves to my green tea and hopefully it is helping to keep my hair dark and healthy. 😀
Other ideas for its usage will be most welcomed.
This year’s 1st coppice-cut of the lanky Murraya Koenigii or the Curry Leaf Plant, a much needed ingredient when cooking curry.
This will be my 3rd attempt on this particular plant (2nd generation grown from a cutting) to grow thick and shrubby so that it can block some sun from hitting the concrete wall in the summer .
From the pic you can see it has already reached the level of the roof gutter. No point having it that tall as it will be too high to harvest.
Down came the tallest branch but I think more will need cutting off.
Nice thick ‘stems’
Nice thick stems will now be used to propagate. I have not kept records but I have cultivated new plants from cuttings like these ~ some grew roots, some just wilted.
So now I have quite a handful of curry leaves (ooh! the aroma is just superb), some for dehydration and some for cooking.
Curry Leaves in Hand
Guess what I’ll be cooking for dinner tonight? 😀