Friday, August 31, 2012

Growing Date Palms From Seed Made Easy

Casa Blanca, Mesquite, Nevada
Do you want to grow a date palm? As I have searched the web this evening there are many sites from blogs to grower sites telling you how to grow your date palm.

Unless you are OCD about your palms you want maximum output with little effort.  I have grown date palms from seed before and with great success.

No special soils, treatments, or fertilizers required. Now I am no professional. I just got results.

Here is how I did it.

1. Find a date palm seed around a tree that is moderately manicured. Chances are if they are too well manicured the seeds will be gone.  Check around the base. There you should find the dried up fruit containing seeds or seeds themselves. Push on the seed to make sure it is not rotted out. If it breaks, toss it because it won't grow.  Seeds need not look perfect, just not too brown. The skin of the fruit dried protects seeds. So these may be your best bet. Gather all you can because some will probably not germinate.

2. After gathering your palm seeds you need a soil. I recommend Miracle Gro palm and cactus soil. Any potting soil with good nutrients will probably do.

3. Put your seeds in the soil about one-half inch down in small cups. Seeds grow and when they need to be transplanted you want a root ball.  First make sure that your seeds are in a good sun lit area in or outdoors weather permitting. Be patient. It may take 3 weeks to germinate.

4. Once you have a sapling growing, continue to water it. Keep the soil moist, not drenched. Root rot will take hold quick.

5. Use a fungicide for indoor or outdoor plants and also liquid plant food.  Make sure you turn the soil. Nutrients in the air from storms, dust, etc. get in the soil and help that plant to grow. Keep saplings out of windy conditions unless firmly anchored. Some areas with lots of wind protect them more. Wind wreaks havoc on these little palms.

6. Once established water regularly, not overdoing it. Turn the soil every now and again.

7. Fertilizer? You can get fancy palm fertilizers, but for younger trees this may be a bit intense.  I use smashed dog food. It keeps my Buddy alive so it must have something. Mash up the dog food as fine as  you can and mix in.  It you see mold on the food don't worry. The mold is eating on the dog food, not the palm.
The mold decomposes the dog food and breaks it down. However, if in doubt, throw excess mold out.

That is it. Most people like myself have lives and are not professional growers. We forget to water now and again. We leave the saplings in the cold before bringing them indoors, etc.  A little common sense goes a long way. Too much love can kill a tree just as neglect can.

If you live in a cooler climate put the seedlings or trees out no earlier than late March and maybe April is better. Make sure your temperatures are in the 40s at night at least consistently before putting the palms out for the season.

Make sure they are in an area that gets at least six hours direct sunlight. If that won't work, then four at bare minimum.  Make sure during winter months they are near windows or you have full daylight spectrum lighting so the plants will grow.  One seed per cup or container is plenty. I have had bad luck with shock from tangled roots.

Like all seed grown plants some survive, most won't. Keep trying and you'll get it right somehow.

Dave out.

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