Q: Please advise me on how best to take care of the plant:
1. Should I plant it outdoors in the ground or plant it in a larger container and keep it in the shade?
2. How often should I add some fertilizer; do you have any preferences?
3. Does the plant like full sun, partial sun or full shade? Is it happier outdoors or indoors?
A: Hello Ramesh,
The curry leaf tree performs best when grown under full sun exposure but it should be gradually acclimated to full sun exposure as during hot summer months it can be sunburned when temps are above 100* F. especially when the plant is container grown.
It can be container grown, if over the years you remember to increase the size of the container. Please keep in mind that I do not suggest transplanting the curry leaf into a very large container now. You should gradually move the plant into larger containers over the years as it out grows the present container that it is currently housed in. For example, it is presently housed in a two gallon size container and perhaps next year in spring could be transplanted into a five gallon sized container.
Equally as important is the use of a quality potting/planting mix when the time comes to transplant into a larger container or into the ground. I recommend the use of 50%Supersoil brand Palm&Cactus mix and either 50% native soil (If planting into the ground) or 50% Azalea/Camellia mix (Acid Mix) if transplanting into a larger container.
Eventually ( in 5-10 years or so ), the container size should be increased to at least a 30 gallon size. If the container you choose to house the plant in is made of black plastic, you should either paint it white or wrap the container with heavy duty aluminum foil to protect the roots from sun exposure in the valley areas.
I would fertilize the curry leaf plant once a month from March to October with a slow-release dry granular product such as Osmacote ( for acid-loving plants) and also feed it a liquid product such as liquid fish fertilizer(Atlas or Alaska brand) available at most OSH hardware stores. I like to use the 3 Tablespoons per gallon dilution rate and I would add 6 cupfuls of the diluted fish solution to each curry leaf. The liquid fish is available in the one gallon size for about $10.
Also, the curry leaf has a tendency to become iron deficient so every other month or so it would be a good idea to apply some form of iron based product to it as well. Try using approximately 20% iron sulfate (Green colored, sand textured, dry product) at the rate of only two tablespoons per plant and increase the quantity as the plant grows. There are other iron products available such as chelated forms of iron (Powdered). One such product is called GROW MORE Iron Chelate 10% and I would only apply 1 teaspoon per plant every other month.
In addition to the above mentioned products, I suggest applying 3 tablespoons powdered gypsum the month after the application of iron ( In other words, do not apply the gypsum at the same time as the iron). Keep in mind that the above mentioned suggestions are important for helping the plant actively grow while it is still young (For the next two years). Equally as important is the use of a quality potting/planting mix when the time comes to transplant into a larger container or into the ground.I recommend the use of 50%Supersoil brand Palm&Cactus mix and either 50% native soil (If planting into the ground) or 50% Azalea/Camellia mix(Acid Mix) if transplanting into a larger container.
The plant is still young Ramesh so if your winter low temps fall below 32*F. I would take the proper steps to shield it from the cold. One such way to do so, is to simply move the plant against the wall of your house(preferably under some over hang as well) or inside of the garage for a few days or until the weatherman says the frost alert has passed.On my website ( www.papayatreenursery.com ), there is an article on protecting your fruit trees from frost damage which will offer some other helpful ideas. Good luck Ramesh and please feel welcome to contact me if for clarification regarding the above suggestions.
Tags: curry leaf