Growing and Saving the Seed Of Caraway

Latin name Carum carvi is a biennial plant in the Apiaceae, or carrot, family. Caraway is perfect in a moonlight garden because of its delightful fragrance. It is also known to attract beneficial wasps. Typically the delicious seeds are used for flavoring many dishes, from desserts to soups. In some parts of the world, caraway seeds are served after meals, much like an after-dinner mint, and they are a staple in German cooking. The leaves are used in salads, stews, and sauces. Caraway is also medicinal. The seeds of the plant are the most used and they do not produce until the second year.



Native to Europe and western Asia. Caraway seeds have been used since the Stone Age and have been found in prehistoric sites in southern Europe. It was once used to protect children from witches and to inhibit fickleness. Finland supplies about 28% of the world's caraway production, as it is well suited to the Finnish climate and latitudes, which ensure long hours of sunlight in the summer.


  • Ornamental and fragrant.
  • A range of culinary uses, from soups to salads to desserts .
  • Attracts beneficial wasps.




  • Seeds germinate in 7-14 days.
  • Sow the seeds 1/2-inch deep in fall, which will produce flowers and seeds the following summer, or in spring as soon as soil can be worked, about the time of last frost.
  • Spring-sown seeds will not flower and produce seed until the following year.
  • Germination can be slow and sporadic.
  • Ideal germination temperature is 65 F.


  • Thrives in full sun and well-drained soil with pH ranges of 6.5 to 7.0.
  • It isn't a good plant for hot, humid climates and prefers cool temperate zones.
  • Very little cultivation is required, but adequate moisture is important. Keep the foliage dry when watering.
  • Space seeds 8 inches apart.
  • Plant a second crop a year after the first for consistent production.


  • Caraway has few pests or disease problems. However, persistent wet conditions during flowering could result in a fungi-causing blight that can cause severe loss, especially to the seed-producing flowers.
  • Once blight is established in a field or on a farm, it will be there for a long time.
  • Use a 2-5 year crop rotation, and clean, disease-free seed.
  • Organic fungicides may be tried if necessary.


  • The caraway plant is a biennial and will not produce seed until the second year.
  • Seeds are harvested when they turn a deep brown color.
  • Cut the umbels off the plant and put them in a paper bag.
  • Let them dry in an open bag for a few days and then shake the bag to remove the seed.