Curry in Iowa
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: John Villotti
Posted on: September 6, 1998

Can Curry be grown indoors or outdoors in Iowa, USA?

There are several plants known as "curry". Of course, the popular spice powder used in East Indian and West Indian cooking is not from one plant. It is a mixture of herbs and spices, including coriander seeds, turmeric, cumin, and several others.

In the U.S. horticultural trade, a plant called "curry plant" is sold. We carry it also. It resembles rosemary in growth habit and leaf shape, but is a greyer in colour. It is a member of the Helichrysum genus which includes several everlasting flowers and herbs. The leaves are distantly suggestive of curry, hence its moniker. It does have culinary uses but it is not a substitute for true curry powder. For more information, please check the "Past Questions" area of the "Q&A" section of our website.

There is another plant which is just now becoming known in North America. It is called "curry leaf" and is known botanically as "Murraya koenigii". This is a small tree whose leaves are essential for south Indian cooking in "dosas" (spice filled pancakes). We are working on building up stock plants with the aim of introducing curry leaf plants in a future catalogue.

Both "curry plant" and "curry leaf" are tender perennials. They can be grown as pot plants in full sun. They can be grown outdoors during the summer and then brought indoors in a greenhouse or sunny window for the winter.

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