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Growing & Caring for Miniature Curry Plant - Helichrysum italicum microphyllum

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Small curry plant in a narrow container garden with fairies in roughly five inches tall.

Small curry plant (Helichrysum italicum microphyllum) planted in a container 'fairy garden' shown with fairies roughly five inches tall.

Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

Miniature Curry Plant - Twelve Inches High For Fairy Gardens and Containers:

Helichrysum italicum micropyllum is a sun loving Mediterranean shrub, grown for its fine silvery leaves, bushy appearance and scent of curry. It's small stature, delicate leaves and silvery color make it a good candidate for a large shrub in a fairy garden or garden railway, whether in the ground or in a container. Like other helichrysum's, miniature curry plant should be cut back fairly hard in spring and trimmed to shape after flowering, it has clusters of yellow flowers. Although called 'curry plant' it is not a seasoning herb, it has a light scent of curry but not its flavor. It can be dried for wreaths or potpourri.

Care:

To keep your miniature curry plant at its best, grow it in sunny, well drained conditions in poor or sandy soils. This plant dislikes having wet roots, so make sure it is not grown in the ground or in planters where conditions will be wet during winter. Remove rich compost or peat based soils from its roots before you plant it. It may survive temperatures down to 23 degrees Fahrenheit (-5 C) if grown in dry, well drained conditions. If grown in conditions with good light, it will survive as an indoor houseplant provided the soil is kept fairly dry. If grown in sunny locations outdoors it is very drought tolerant.

Watering:

Grow in poor, sandy and fast draining, neutral to slightly acid soils in containers or in the ground, in full sun if possible. Fertilizer is not necessary. Do not overwater! Poor drainage in winter is the cause of most helichrysum problems. The plant can survive down to 23 degrees Fahrenheit in well drained soils. If you grow it indoors, make sure your potting soil does not contain water holding compost or peat moss, and keep the plant in dry conditions in as much sun as possible. Avoid growing it in drafts indoors.

Pruning your Helichrysum to Shape:

Miniature curry plant (helichrysum italicum microphyllum) can be trained into dense low hedges or shaped into thicker clumps by pruning into soft wood only, after flowering. Do not prune the plant heavily back into hard wood or like lavender, it may not regrow. Make sure your final pruning and shaping are finished at least a month before any possible frosts, to ensure the new growth has a chance to thicken and become frost resistant.

Trim the plant hard in the spring after danger of the last frost is past, removing any areas that died over the winter.

Looking for More Information?:

If you are looking for more information on caring for miniature curry plant, helichrysum italicum micropyllum, remember that it is a Mediterranean plant and requires growing conditions similar to lavender to survive.

Photos of the plant in flower in the wild on the island of Crete can be seen at the Vienna Natural History Museum Website.

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