Don't be fooled by its smell!

Don't be fooled by its smell!

By Lidia Boque Gousgouni
05 Apr 2018

This small, bushy plant has the botanical name of Helichrysum italicum. The leaves are silver/grey in colour and the plant exudes the distinct smell of curry. This makes it rather an interesting addition to any garden. It’s important to know that this isn’t the plant used in curries, the Helichrysum just smells of curry – don’t use it in your cooking for a curry taste. 

It is used in cooking but the taste is somewhat bitter - the young shoots and leaves can be stewed in meat, fish or vegetable dishes until they have released their flavour, but the leaves need to be removed before serving.

The silver of the Curry Plant is a great way to give a ‘pop’ in the garden.  It lifts a dull bed and makes a great contrast to a garden of green.

This plant thrives in a full-sun position and is tolerant of most soil types. It even thrives in poor soils but doesn’t like wet locations – it’s a water-wise plant and extremely drought hardy once it’s established. So this plant will be perfect for most locations, just don’t plant it where it can get wet feet during the cold months.

The Curry Plant is perfect for rockeries, cottage gardens, border plantings and Mediterranean gardens. In the Wodonga TAFE gardens, we’ve used the Curry Plant as a small, informal hedge. 

Growing to about 60 cm tall, this plant is easy to keep bushy by gently tip pruning it on a regular basis. The Curry Plant is rarely affected by any pests or diseases because it contains its own pest repellent. There is an oil extracted from the flowers which is used for medicinal reasons. The oil is said to be an anti-inflammatory, used for soothing burns and chapped skin, is used as a fixative in perfumes and hosts of other uses.

Propagation is easy, cuttings taken after flowering are easy to strike, in fact, cuttings taken at other times of the year have a high success rate as well. This is one easy to grow plant!

This plant is admired for its lovely foliage, the smell that wafts when it’s touched and the yellow button –like daisy flowers produced during the summer.


The Friends of the Albury Botanic Gardens have plants for sale every Tuesday and Thursday morning 9-30am 12noon at their nursery in the gardens behind the curators cottage. 

Wodonga TAFE – you can still enrol to study horticulture. You are welcome to visit the department in University Drive Wodonga to discuss your study needs in Agriculture or Horticulture.



The silver of the Curry Plant is a great way to give a ‘pop’ in the garden. It lifts a dull bed and makes a great contrast to a garden of green.

Written By

Deborah Delahunty, Horticulture Teacher at Wodonga TAFE.