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How to Germinate a Coconut

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The coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) produces coconuts that are used to make coconut oil and milk. It is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 10 and 11. Coconuts only grow from seed, and germination can take several months.

Coconut Germination Stages

Coconuts produce a fruit that contains a single seed. They have a hard endocarp, or shell, that protects the seed. The white, edible meat of the coconut is the endosperm, and the fruit contains coconut water. When you shake the fruit and can hear the coconut milk splashing inside of the fruit, the coconut seed is ready for germination and planting, advises PlantVillage.

Plant the seed in a seedbed. The two largest of the three lobes of the coconut should be facing upward, notes the Coconut Industry Development Project for the Caribbean. Only about 1/3 of the seed should be covered by the soil. Water the seed regularly as it must stay moist in order to germinate. The seed needs to be kept warm at a temperature of at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Germination can take three to six months. If the seed doesn’t sprout in this time, it may have been a sterile seed.

Transplanting Coconut Seedlings

Coconut seedlings can be transferred to a new pot or location about six months after planting, advises PlantVillage. The seedling should be about 0.2 meters, or just over 1/2 foot, tall, notes Revista Brasileira de Fruticultura. About six to nine months after planting, the seedling should be about 1 meter, or 3.2 feet, and have several leaves.

If you have multiple seedlings, make sure to plant them 26 to 30 feet apart. Mature trees can spread 15 to 25 feet. Coconut trees grow 12 to 36 inches each year and reach a height of 50 to 65 feet tall, notes Cal Poly Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute.

Coconut palm trees need full sun and well-drained soil. As tropical plants, they prefer hot and humid climates with a mean annual temperature of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but the trees can be grown in other locations as long as the climate does not experience freezing temperatures.

Coconut Palm Care

It will be about six to 10 years before your coconut palm will begin producing fruit. Palms need about 1 inch of water each week, advises the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Supplement with irrigation if you don’t get enough rain. Coconut palms will tolerate drought, but it may negatively impact the tree’s fruit production. They will also tolerate wet soil conditions for a few days, but may die if waterlogged soil conditions continue.

Fertilize your tree regularly with a fertilizer designed for palms that contains controlled-release nitrogen, potassium and magnesium. Follow the package direction to apply the fertilizer.

Watch for symptoms of nutritional deficiency. Nitrogen deficiency results in yellowing of leaves, while magnesium deficiency causes yellow bands on the leaves. Potassium deficiency is most common and causes necrotic or translucent yellow-orange spots. Other symptoms of nutritional deficiency include a singed appearance on the leaves, new leaves not reaching full size and a tapered trunk.

How to Germinate a Coconut. There are 14 varieties of palms that produce coconuts. All coconut palms need partial shade to full sun and well-drained soil. Germinate a coconut in a pot of outdoors in a well-prepared bed. With proper care, a coconut will germinate in three to six months. A germinated coconut has roots …

How to Grow a Coconut Tree

Last Updated: April 17, 2019 References

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Coconut trees are lovely plants that produce tasty fruit. They grow naturally in tropical climates, but you can also plant one at home. Whether you plan to grow your coconut tree outside or as a houseplant, it’s an easy process that will produce a charming addition to any yard or home.

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About This Article

If you want to grow a coconut tree, place your coconut in a bucket of lukewarm water for 3-4 days to soften it. After the coconut has softened, place it into a resealable plastic bag with 1 cup of water and store it in a warm, dark location until it grows a sprout and roots. Once it germinates, wrap the roots in a damp paper towel and place the seed back into the bag until the roots are about 6 inches deep, then plant the nut so that about a third of the coconut sticks out of the soil. Water the tree twice a week and place it in partial sun. For more tips, including how to maintain your tree once it’s planted, read on!

How to Grow a Coconut Tree. Coconut trees are lovely plants that produce tasty fruit. They grow naturally in tropical climates, but you can also plant one at home. Whether you plan to grow your coconut tree outside or as a houseplant, it's…