Package of Practices for Cultivation of Nutmeg

Package of Practices for Cultivation of Nutmeg

Botanical Name: Myristiea fragrans Houti

Family: Myristicaceae

Nutmeg is native of Moluccas island (Indonesia) and was introduced in India towards the end of the 18th century and is grown now in certain pockets of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka.

Climate and Soil:

Nutmeg thrives well in warm humid conditions in locations with an annual rainfall of 150 cm and_ more. It grows well from sea level upto about 1300 metres above MSL. Areas with soils of clay loam, sandy loam and red lateritic are ideal for its growth. Both dry climate and water logged conditions are not good for nutmeg. The soil and climate prevailing in the hill slopes of Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats (from 700 to 1300 m) are ideally suited to grow nutmeg.


There are named variety of nutmeg in India.

Propagation and Nursery Techniques:

Nutmeg trees are usually propagated through seed. Large sized treebrust fruits from high yielding trees are harvested or collected as and when they fall down. The fleshy rind of the fruit as well as the mace covering the seed are removed before sowing. The seeds should be sown in specially prepared nursery beds immediately after collection. If there is delay in sowing, the seeds may be kept in trays filled with moist sand or stored in poly bags or moss which keep them viable for 15 days.


Seedlings are transplanted in the main field when they are 12 to 18 months old. Recommended spacing is .8 x 8 metres. Pits of 60 cm cube are dug and filled with compost and top soil. Seedlings are planted carefully in the center of the pits during rainy seasons. Young plants are provided with artificial shade and irrigated during summer months. The basins are mulched with locally available trashes.

Manuring and Inter Cultivation:

The fertilizer doses may be increased gradually every year till a well grown tree of fifteen years or more receives about 500 g nitrogen (N), 250 g phosphorus (P2O5) and 100 g potash (K20) annually.


Seedling trees start bearing in 7 to 8 years while grafts start bearing in 4 to 5 years.  They attain full bearing stage after 15 to 20 years and may yield up to

60 years. Nutmeg trees flower-throughout the year with a peak in certain months. Hence, though fruits are seen throughout the year, the peak season, of harvest is from June to August. The fruits take 9 months from flowering to harvest. When the fleshy rind of the nut splits open, the fruits ate fully ripe for picking.. They are either plucked from the tree or are allowed to drop on to the ground and then collected. After removal of the outer fleshy rind, mace is detached from the seed shell by hand and flattened out It is then allowed to dry slowly in the sun for ten to fifteen, days. During drying the mace gradually becomes brittle and horny and attain a yellowish brown colour.


Individual nutmet fruit weighs on an average 60 g of which the seed weighs. 6 to 7 g mace 3 to 4 g and the rest pericarp. A fully grown tree under normal conditions may produce on an average 2000 to 3000 fruits per year. On the assumption that about 65 per cent of the trees in a garden are female and are optimum yielders, about 800 kg nutmet and 100 kg mace can be expected per hectare.

Plant Protection:

Sr. No.



Control measures


Die   back   (Diplodia natalensis)

Drying up of mature and immature branches from tip downwards

Remove the infected branches, smear. Bordeaux paste in the cut end of the branches.


Thread               blight {Marasmius sp.)

Blighting of the affected stems or leaves.

Spray 1.0 per cent Bordeaux mixture


Fruit    rot    (Diplodia natalensis              and Phytophihora sp.

Splitting   of   immature
fruits    and    subsequent rotting of mace.

Spray 1.0 per cent Bordeaux mixture when the fruits are half mature.


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