Growing Nutmeg Plant from Seed – With only one seed, the nutmeg tree (Myristica fragrans) produces two different spices: nutmeg and mace. It is a fragrant, evergreen tree that may be found in most tropical areas. Plant hardiness zones 10 through 11 of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) This spreading tree grows 30 to 40 feet tall and has cream-colored blossoms that are followed by yellow, meaty fruits that look similar to apricots. When the fruit is ripe, it splits apart to expose glossy, purple-brown seeds that are partly covered by crimson skins known as arils.
How to Separate Nutmeg from its Mace
The separation of nutmeg from its mace-producing aril increases the germination rate of the plant. Spice nutmeg, which is the purple-brown inner seed of the nutmeg tree fruit and is commonly used to flavor milk dishes such as puddings and cookies, as well as baked goods such as cakes, fruit pies, custards, and punches, is derived from the nutmeg tree. In order to make mace, you must first remove the aril that covers the seed. Mace is used in savory foods, ketchup, and pickles.
It is necessary to remove the aril before planting the nutmeg. This may be accomplished by cleaning the blade of a tiny sharp knife with rubbing alcohol before cutting the aril at its base, where it links the nut. Carefully peel it away from the nut, being careful not to harm it. You may either discard the aril or dry it out in a dry, sunny location for 10 to 15 days until it becomes brown and dry, at which point it is ready to be ground into mace.
Tips for Growing Nutmeg Plant from Seed
Freshness and moisture of the nutmeg plant
Nutmeg seeds grow best when they are fresh and wet. Nutmeg seeds, on the other hand, dehydrate fast. Nutmeg seeds may lose their capacity to sprout in as little as seven days if they are kept unprotected and untreated at room temperature. For the best results, plant your nutmeg seeds as soon as possible after harvesting them.
If immediate planting is not feasible, save the seeds from your nutmeg plant in sealed plastic bags in the refrigerator until the time comes to plant them. They will remain viable for up to 45 days in this location. No matter when you’re ready to plant, soak your nutmeg seeds in clean water for 24 hours before doing so to boost moisture levels and germination rates.
Using a 5-inch plant container with drainage holes, fill it halfway with free-draining potting soil and seed the nutmeg about one inch below the soil surface, allowing it to grow. Then, fill the pot with water until it begins to drain through the drainage holes, and set it aside in a place where the temperature ranges between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintain a consistent level of moisture in the potting soil without allowing it to get soggy. Nutmeg seeds might take up to a month or more to germinate.
Nutmeg Plant Care for Newly Emerging Nutmeg Plants
When planted in partial shade, yet in a warm and humid location, the young nutmeg tree flourishes. Place a freshly germinated nutmeg tree in an indoor location that gets four to six hours of direct sunshine every day, such as a west-facing conservatory or windowsill, to ensure that it thrives. Using a fine mist sprayer, sprinkle the young tree twice a day with clean water, covering the leaves but stopping before any water drops from the plant.
Water your baby nutmeg tree on a daily basis to keep the soil wet, and let the pot drain completely before relocating it to its drip tray after a few weeks. Every day, rotate the tree 180 degrees in order to keep it from leaning toward the light.
Nutmeg Plant Care for the Elderly
As your nutmeg tree develops, it should be transplanted into bigger pots before being planted outside. When the roots of a nutmeg tree fill the base of its present pot, the tree is ready to be transplanted into a bigger container. Make use of a container that is 2 inches wider and has drainage holes to transplant your nutmeg tree into. Position your nutmeg tree so that the top layer of soil is 1 inch below the lip of the pot. As soon as you move it, water it well and let it dry out a little bit before replanting.
Continue to transfer the nutmeg tree into bigger pots as soon as it has outgrown its present container. When the tree’s roots have grown to the size of a 5-gallon container, it may be transplanted outside. Choose a sunny or gently shaded spot with good drainage and a high organic matter content in the soil when you plant in late spring or early summer. If you wish to plant many nutmeg trees in your landscaping, make sure they are spaced around 30 to 40 feet apart.
Plant Propagation and Fruiting of the Nutmeg Tree
You may continue to develop your nutmeg tree inside if that is what you choose. Nutmegs, on the other hand, are dioecious, which means that each plant is either male or female and is unable to reproduce itself. If you want to harvest fruit from an indoor plant, you’ll need to either move your potted plant outdoors each spring or purchase two plants and manually pollinate them.
You’ll also need to have some patience. Plants that bear fruit on nutmeg trees are usually five to eight years old, and some nutmeg plants may take even longer to bear fruit than that. Even when production starts, your nutmeg tree will not reach its optimum fruiting performance until it is about the age of 25. It’s worth the wait, however, since nutmeg trees may live for up to 60 years and yield fruit.