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Planting Season

Planting is done with onset of southwest mansoon.

Planting Material

Fully ripe tree-burst fruits are selected for raising seedlings. The fleshy rind and the mace are removed before sowing. The seeds should be sown immediately after collection. If there is any delay in sowing, the seeds should be kept in baskets filled with damp soil. The seedbeds of 100-120 cm width, 15 cm height and of convenient length may be prepared in cool and shady places. A mixture of garden soil and sand in the ratio 3:1 may be used for preparing nursery beds. Over this, sand is spread to a thickness of 2-3 cm and the seeds dibbled 2 cm below the surface at a spacing of about 12 cm on either side. Seeds germinate within 50-80 days after sowing. When the plumule produces two elongated opposite leaves, the seedlings are to be transferred from beds to polybags.

Vegetative propagation of nutmeg through epicotyl grafting is recommended for all nutmeg nurseries.

Planting Method

Since the nutmeg trees require shade, suitable fast growing shade trees like Albizia, Erythrina etc. are planted in advance. Banana can also be grown as a shade crop in the early stages. Pits of 90 cm x 90 cm x 90 cm are dug at a spacing of 8 m x 8 m with the onset of southwest monsoon. The pits are filled with topsoil and compost or well decomposed cattle manure and seedlings are planted.


Generally nutmeg plant require good irrigationfor high yield and quality of fruit.However the frequency of irrigation depends on the season, moister holding capacity of soil and plant age. Usually in dry and summer season it require frequent irrigation.

Fertilizer application

Apply 10 kg of cattle manure or compost per seedling during the first year. Increase the quantity gradually till a well grown tree of 15 years and above receives 50 kg of organic manure per year. Apply N : P2O5 : K2O @ 20 : 80 : 50 gram per plant during the first year. This may be doubled in the next year gradually increase the N : P2O5 : K2O dose to 500 : 250 : 1000 gram per plant per year to obtain full dose of from 15 year onwards.


Fruits are available throughout the year, but the peak period of harvest is from June to July. When fruits are fully ripe, the nuts split open. These are either plucked from the tree or allowed to drop. The two major products are nutmeg and mace. Dried nutmeg and mace are directly used as spice and also for the preparation of their derivatives.

After de-rinding the nutmeg fruit, red feathery aril(mace) is separated from pericarp. The mace detached, flattened and sun dried on mats for 3-5 days or in the artificial heat drier.

The nuts are sun dried for 4-5 two weeks or in an artificial heat drier until the kernel rattle inside the shell. They are stored in warm dry place prior to shelling.

Value added product


Nutmeg and mace oleoresins are prepared by extracting the ground spice with organic solvents. Yield of oleoresin is 10-12% for nutmeg and 10-13% for mace. Mace oleoresin possesses have fine fresh fruity character.


Nutmeg butter

Nutmeg contains 25-40% of fixed oil that can be obtained by pressing the crushed nuts between plates in the presence of steam or by extracting with solvents. The products known as nutmeg butter, is a highly aromatic, orange coloured fat with the consistency of butter0 at ambient temperature.


Nutmeg oil

This is obtained as pale yellow to white volatile liquid processing a fresh warm aromatic order. The yield ranges from 7-16%. The unshelled nuts are  coarsely crushed in a mechanical cracker and steam distilled.


Mace oil

The mace yields 4-17% colourless to pale yellow liquid possessing  organoleptic properties similar to nutmeg oil. Nutmeg and mace oil are also used for flavouring.