superbloomer

About pruning/harvesting curry leaf plant

superbloomer
3 years ago

Originally posted this in "Asian Gardening" section but re-posting it here

Hi, I have a curry leaf plant that I got last year; it had two stems coming out of the soil when I got it. Through summer last year, it became a decent sized plant with both stems growing a number of shoots. At the start of spring this year, I pruned the curry leaf plant by topping both the stems off (this was mid-March) since I wanted the plant to grow new and more shoots.

Since then, the plant sent off two new shoots off of the two topped off stems, and I can see several new leaves on the plant. The question I have now is, whether I should top off the new stems as well or just let the plant grow. If topping off will result in more new shoots and the plant growing more vigorously and bushier, I'd like to do that. I've read at some places that the more you prune/harvest, the more the plant will grow, but just wanted to be sure that I won't be damaging the plant by pruning too much.

Please see the pics of my plant in its current state (one shows the whole plant and the other is a close-up to show where I topped.)



Comments (27)

  • hldzion
    3 years ago

    I think at this stage it will be a matter of personal preference. I used to live in zone5b. I did one topping off in the spring and then let the plant grow for most of summer and I did a late summer harvest of leaves after which I usually had to bring the plant indoors by mid September. When I harvested leaves, I separated them and froze then spread out on a cookie sheet so it stayed as individual leaves and then put it into ziploc bags in the freezer. I used this carefully through the winter. Now I live in zone 10a. We have a longer growing season, so I prune more. I really don't bother to freeze leaves, as I have a supply almost year round. I hope this helps.

  • superbloomer
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    Hi hldzion, thanks for your reply. I live in Zone 10b. When you say you prune more now, do you top off the plants like I did in the above picture, or just pluck the leaf petioles? Does pruning more result in more future growth and the plant turning bushier in general for you?

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  • hldzion
    3 years ago

    superbloomer - I have a couple of plants. Just yesterday, I pinched off the top half inch of the plant that I want to get bushier. I don't think plucking the leaf petiole is considered pruning for growth, but I could be wrong. The other one already has about 8 branches so I am letting that grow. It was pruned in March or Early April this year. I hope this gives you an idea of my thoughts. Since you too live in an area with a long growing season, you can let it grow to about the size you want. I see that you have it in a pot. I have it in the ground. Generally in the ground, against the house, gives it some protection in the winter.


  • superbloomer
    Original Author
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    hldzion, did you prune your plant with 8 branches multiple times since it was small? And how old is that plant?

    I pruned my plant for the first time this spring and was hoping to get some lateral growth but it just sent up two vertical branches from where I made the cut. A couple of other branches tried shooting up but one seems really slow and the other looks like it didn't make it. That's why I was thinking of another pruning on the two new branches to encourage some lateral growth by having multiple branches shoot out this time (hopefully).

  • superbloomer
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    Thanks; you have been very informative. I guess I will go ahead and prune it one more time at least this summer (maybe end of this month).

  • hldzion
    3 years ago

    I am usually not too careful about fertilizer, but just before pruning, I water well and give it some fertilizer. Also after pruning for a couple of weeks I make sure I water regularly. Since you have it in a pot, when you water well so it drains from the bottom, some fertilizer is washed away too. Maybe feed it a weak solution once a week around your pruning. Good luck.


  • superbloomer
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    Okay. Right now I kinda follow a roughly bi-weekly fertilizer schedule, applying a 5-5-5 balanced organic fertilizer. Sometimes I also give the plant a bath of epsom salt (that's why some of the leaves appear white in the picture).

    Is there a particular fertilizer that has worked well for your curry leaf plant?

  • hldzion
    3 years ago

    I am not as careful or regular. I give all plants in the yard a slow release balanced fertilizer. I don't remember the NPK numbers right now. I also give the plants that I want leaves from, some extra nitrogen - right now using blood meal. I have epsom salts that I bought for the tomatoes. Maybe I will give the curry leaf some of it too.Thanks.

  • sweetdame
    8 months ago

    Can I prune curry leaf plant in May. I am in Bay Area

  • superbloomer
    Original Author
    8 months ago

    Yes, you definitely can. I live in the bay area too, and pruned mine a few days back, and it's starting to show excellent new growth. You can prune or top off anytime the weather is warm, and it will start to send new shoots below the point you top it off.

  • sweetdame
    8 months ago

    Thank you for your prompt response. Should I prune the new shoots as well? the tips are getting brown and leaves are yellow


  • superbloomer
    Original Author
    8 months ago

    It's really your choice on whether you want to prune the new shoots for more growth, or let the plant do its thing. I see that the new growth is setting fruit. When that happens on my plant, I usually prune the top portion to remove all fruit portion, since I don't care for the fruits and want more leaves instead (the fruit never really ripens well for me anyway for some reason).

    I had read somewhere that if you let the fruits be, the plant will focus more energy on maintaining them, and might not have much new growth during that period.

    Also, I have experienced such kind of yellowing/browning on the leaves but it's almost always on old growth. Also happens when I don't water regularly or the weather is very cold.

  • sweetdame
    8 months ago

    Thank you. My plant has about 5-6 such stems with new shoots and fruits setting up. I would prefer to keep some fruits for seeds. But I want my plant to have more growth and stay healthy.


    I am more worried about hurting my plant if I prune it at this time of the year, also because it is shooting out new growth. If you think it won’t hurt the plant, I will probably prune some of the branches. Does that sound right to you? Thanks again for all your help

  • superbloomer
    Original Author
    8 months ago

    Yes, that sounds perfectly fine to me. I have had my curry leaf plant for about 4-5 years now, and I have pruned it multiple times during the warm months in some seasons (including pruning much later than May), and it has only lead to more growth. It's only May and you have the entire summer ahead of you so this is actually a very good time to prune if you're looking for more growth through the rest of the season.


    I wish my plants set good fruits; would have loved to grow new ones with seeds!

  • hldzion
    8 months ago

    sweetdame - I just read the last few comments on this thread. Looking at the picture of your plant's new growth. The leaf coloring is not good. This is called chlorosis i believe. I did a quick search and this is caused due to over watering or soil deficiencies. My advice is for you to read up a little more and try to correct that before focusing on pruning. I had something similar in tomato one year. I was advised to use steer compost because it has a high salt content. It helped me in that situation. Curry leaf plant is in the family of citrus. So when you search online, look for suggestions that pertain to citrus and it will work for your plant.

  • sweetdame
    8 months ago

    Hldzion- thankyou, I think you are right. The color of leaves worried me as well. I looked up and it seemed like iron and zinc deficiency. But when I searched “Chlorosis” that’s exactly is my curry leaves plant problem. I will read up more on that. I repotted it last year and added some home made compost to it. When I dig the dirt around the plant, my pot has a whole lot of earthworms in it. I assumed the soil quality must be good.

  • sweetdame
    8 months ago

    superbloomer- my plant gave me a lot of seeds last fall and I was able to sprout a few. Thanks for letting me know that pruning for curry leaves are okay around this time of the year. I haven’t done hard pruning for this plant. It makes me nervous. 😬

  • superbloomer
    Original Author
    8 months ago

    I was in the same boat as you are a few years back, as is evident from my first post in this thread.

    Once you see your plant grow more vigorously though, you'll love pruning it.

  • HU-514119761
    4 months ago

    Its September! I live in bay area . My curry leaf plant is growing well after i pruned it in july . It was my first pruning n although i was late in pruning it, it grew well . I am wondering if I can prune it one more time before winter sets in to make it more bushier? Also is it ok to transfer to a bigger pot around this time of the year pls advise .

    thanks !

  • superbloomer
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Hi, sorry for the late reply. I do not see any issue in pruning or transferring to a bigger pot. However, do not expect a lot of growth after pruning as most of the warm weather season is behind us now.

  • HighColdDesert
    4 months ago

    Personally I think a bushy plant like this, if it is growing well, you can prune it now and it will rebound.

    You don't need seeds to propagate it. You can also try rooting cuttings when you prune it. I think I read that cuttings about the size of a pencil do well.

    I live in a climate with very cold winters, but I've got a curry leaf plant in a bucket, that I move indoors to a sunny south-facing window for the middle of winter, outdoors for summer, and in the greenhouse for "shoulder season" in spring and autumn. It looked great the first year when it was small, and we were using it frequently. Over the winter it went yellow and miserable, so I snipped it right down to bare stems at 6 to 12 inches in the early spring, and it leafed out nicely. But I transplanted it to a bigger bucket with some additional worm compost, but then it had chlorosis and miserable yellowed leaves with some tiny brown spots all summer. I tried fertilising, not fertilising and washing water through the soil, acidifying the water, and nothing seemed to make much difference. Finally now in August-Sept it has started looking a decent green. Phew!

    I think it would be much happier in the ground, but in my unheated solar greenhouse, the temperature goes below freezing every night for a month or two. It's fine for leafy green vegetables, but I don't know if curry leaf would survive. Anybody have any ideas about that?

  • Kiran Vemareddy
    4 months ago

    I am first time curry leaf plant grower...we got a 6 inch plant around June and now it is around 10 to 12 inch....I am wondering what is the typical first pruning time... should I wait for the spring...we live in so-cal where the weather still warm and hot

  • hldzion
    4 months ago

    Kiran Vemareddy - Is your plant in the ground or is it in a pot? What is your zone? I am in So Cal too zone 10a. Yes you can prune it now. We have several months of pleasant weather still. When I say prune with a 10 to 12 inch plant - pinch just the terminal part, about half an inch. Also if your plant is outside, since we have had so much smoke, make sure to wash the plant with water to get that thin film that covers all the leaves. Just spray it with your hose.

  • Kiran Vemareddy
    4 months ago

    @hldzionwe are in zone10a too ..thanks for the tips on pruning..I will wash it...I generally give my plants a mist spray now and then. Yes I have it on a 5 gallon pot... I didn't want to risk it on ground...ours is a hard clay and everytime I have to plant anything on ground I replace 12-16inch clay with store bought organic ground soil

  • HU-426022449
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    hello friend need help... I lives in New York.. I have 2 curry leaf plants and I did pruning in may To both... its growing but not many branches.. but problem with other one.. it's started shooting new leafs but all of of sudden it slow down.. should I prune it again?? it's really small plant.. and already weather is getting cold here.. I kept my plant inside next to window which have morning sunlight..what should I do now to grow my plant??waiting for reply.. thank you in advance!!



  • HighColdDesert
    3 months ago

    HU-426022449 I don't know, my curry leaf plant also has had periods of pretty good growth and healthy appearance, and then other seasons of poor growth or yellowish miserable appearance. Mine kind of lost its leaves while it was indoors for the winter in a sunny window, but then it leafed out again outdoors in the spring. But then it got a yellowish speckled miserable look, so I didn't eat any of it all summer :( Now it's finally looking green and vigorous in September, but I'll have to take back inside soon and it will suffer again like last winter.

    One thing is, I think it needs a bigger pot than you have it in.