Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Caraway
Carum carvi

Family: Apiaceae (ay-pee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Carum (KAR-um) (Info)
Species: carvi (KAR-vee) (Info)

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

11 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Pale Pink
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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By Lilith
Thumbnail #1 of Carum carvi by Lilith

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Thumbnail #2 of Carum carvi by kennedyh

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Thumbnail #4 of Carum carvi by WUVIE


1 positive
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive justluthien On Jun 27, 2009, justluthien from Toledo, OH wrote:

I planted the seeds last year, but nothing came up, so I forgot about it. This year, I noticed a bunch of ferny-looking seedlings in the herb garden in a yet-to-be planted spot, and figured it was dill, so I left it alone. (Its leaves look an awfully lot like dill!!!) I soon realized it wasn't when the real thing sprouted, but left it alone to see what it turned out to be. Finally, when the seedheads sprouted, I recognized it as caraway.

Needs here in the midwest:
Being semi-disabled, I don't do a lot of heavy digging in any of my prepared beds. In the early spring, I used my fork to aerate the soil and break up any major clods, smoothed it out with a rake, then added 2-4" of aged manure from my local nursery ($1.39 for 40#). When the soil warmed up, I planted my seeds and seedlings, watered for the first month whenever the soil began to dry out (it waters A LOT here in the spring!), weeded, and that was about it.
Since then, I haven't done anything special other than weed and water as needed - I didn't even stake them - and I have seven plants that have yielded over one cup of seeds. I'll definitely do this one again next year, but because it's a biannual, I'll start it from seed again and discard this year's plants.

The only problem I've had is figuring out how to separate the seeds from the tiny stemlet that often stays attached. Any solutions from those who've had this same problem?

Tip: These seeds are much more pungent than the store-bought varieties, so cooks and bakers should use less than the recipe calls for, taste, then add more if needed.

Neutral Sis On Oct 5, 2001, Sis wrote:

The seeds of this annual or biennial have been used for 5,000 years for flavoring and for their carminative effect.

The seeds are also aromatic and can be used in potpourris.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 30, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Grows 1-2ft tall. It has a delicate, grooved and hollow stem with numerous, fern-like, finely divided aromatic leaves 6-10in long. The flowers are minute, white, in compound umbels. Blooms May-July. Caraway's seeds are ribbed, oblong and slightly curved.

Winterkill can be a problem with caraway in colder climates.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

West Islip, New York
Toledo, Ohio

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