Curry Plant

“Curry Plant”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

A few weeks ago when I visited several nurseries, I came across curry plants (helichrysum italicum) at two of the nurseries.  I had never seen these offered before.  They were in the herb sections, and I wondered why, all of a sudden, two nurseries were offering them.  When the leaves are brushed the aroma of curry is unmistakable, but this is not the curry of Indian cuisine.  That curry is a blend of many spices, and this one, while it does have medicinal uses, is reported not to taste very good.

Except for new growth which is light green, this plant has a dusty gray appearance.  I was a little hesitant to buy it because fuzzy, gray-green foliage plants often do not do survive long in our high humidity and heat, but so far this is doing well.  I have it in a raised bed where it gets plenty of sun.  It is reported to be hardy to zone 8, and the blooms are yellow which is good since I have planted it in the circle garden which has mostly yellow flowers.  It should get about two feet tall.  Except for color and, of course aroma, the leaves remind me of rosemary. 

Ah, but the smell of the leaves when they are brushed is wonderful.  That is what sold me on this plant.

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8 Comments

  1. Nancy Bond said,

    July 4, 2008 at 9:30 am

    As one who loves curry, this is a remarkable little plant. I really like that grey-green foliage in the garden — it’s a nice contrast for the darker greens and goes so nicely against any other bloom color. It should look great with the yellows — marigolds and Dusty Miller is one of my favorite combos for edgings. 🙂

  2. Jan said,

    July 4, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Thanks, Nancy for the idea of darker green foliage as a contrast to the gray-green of the curry plant. I think next year I might place some curry plants closer to the stella d’ora daylilies.

  3. Stephanie said,

    July 5, 2008 at 11:18 am

    I live in Dallas and am looking for curry plants to grow. Do you know where I might find them?

  4. Jan said,

    July 5, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    I bought mine locally, but I did a google search and came up with Mountain Valley Growers at http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/heltalicum.htm. I don’t know anything about them, but you might want to look them up on Garden Watchdog.

  5. Ron Johnson said,

    July 7, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    I am also growing the curry plant but I was hoping to be able to use it in my cooking – is the general consensus that its not possible (or advisable) to do this?

  6. Jan said,

    July 7, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Hi, Ron. From what I have read, this curry plant is not used in cooking. Some sources said that a few leaves are used to flavor mayonnaise or in a salad, but for the most part it is reported to be either very mild and uncurry-like or bitter. So I don’t think I will be using it in any food, just enjoying the plants aroma when I am outside.

  7. James said,

    July 9, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Now that I realize Curry Plant is not the spice we use, I would like to know how it is thriving in your climate zone.

    Down hear in zone number 9 (central Mississippi), mine is in a 1 gallon container and is fairly stunted, about the size when I bought it in April. Also the ends of the plant are infected with what looks like fungus.

    But it does smell great.

  8. Jan said,

    July 10, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Mine is doing okay and I am in zone 8. This plant may be a slow grower. Mine, also, had some small tent-like caterpillars on the tips after it was in the ground about two weeks, but I just shot it with a stream of water from the hose, and it seems all right now.


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