Grow Palm Trees From Seed

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So you're thinking of that adventure: how to grow palm trees from seed.

Your journey will need some patience, care, and investigation into the palm species you'll grow. It's likely easy on your budget. Growing palms from seed can be done. We know people who love growing palms from seed.

When you see your palm seedlings successfully sprouting, you'll feel like a proud palm plant parent! 🤗

Whether you're totally inexperienced or have some knowledge, we want to guide you a step by step guide for what you need:

OR CONTINUE ON DOWN FOR ALL BEST PRACTICES YOU NEED TO GET STARTED:

Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Palm Tree Seeds

Man trying to figure out the best way to grow palms from seed

How to Source Palm Seeds for Planting

First things first: sourcing your seeds. You'll want to plant the right palm in the right place. So be sure of your chosen palm's expectations:

  • Climate Growing Zone - will it fit with yours?
  • Full sun to mostly shade - where will you be transplanting the young sapling?
  • Watering - do you get a good amount of rain, or are you in the desert?

Or maybe you'd like this to be a sideline Entrepreneurial Venture. Whether it's coveted rare palm tree seeds, or more common species. We'd advise using an authentic palm seed supplier with fresh seeds, when planning to grow palm trees from seed.

US Planting Zones map for determining if a plant, like a palm tree, is suitable for your intended environment.What is Your Climate Growing Zone? Suitable for Growing Your Palm Tree Seeds?
Now Take it Further by Considering Your Microclimate, for Germination & Propagation

Understanding Palm Seeds

Palm seeds come in many sizes. From about 1/4" (0.6cm) to the largest seed among flowering plants. Size matters when you grow palm trees from seed! 😊

the looks of a bunch of seeds from different palm tree species

Some may wonder: How Do Palm Trees Grow? And then reproduce? Can I grow palm trees from seed? The easiest way to answer is this process:

  • Palm trees grow inflorescences. That's the palm stem where flowers grow.
  • Flowers are pollinated, which leads to growing fruit.
  • Fruits contain seeds (or a single seed), for growing their reproductive offspring - a new palm!

Many palms are slow with their seed germination. Without overwhelming results in producing a new palm plant. (But we know of those who've gotten about 90% seed success!)

For good results when you grow palm trees from seed, your research & patience are important.

Chart explaining the process of planting your own seeds to grow palms

Species of palms have two basic types of methods for germinated seeds to get started. Understanding that helps when you grow a palm tree from seed.

REMOTE GERMINATION - The starter seed leaf (cotyledon) stays inside the seed. A small branch (hyperphyll) grows out from the seed. Ending where the stem & root begin growing. The first root (radicle) for most palms grows downward.

ADJACENT GERMINATION - Part of the seed leaf comes out of the seed, making a "button." The stem & root growth begins from the button. The radicle is soon replaced by adventitious roots, those which tend to spread out.

MINI QUIZ! Your Question: Which ripe seeds from a palm need planting in a deep plant starter pot for best results?

Seeds From Palms with Adjacent Germination

OR

Seeds from Palms with Remote Germination

THE ANSWER IS...

Remote germinators, to give enough downward room for the radicle's growth.

Common palms with remote germination are Mediterranean Fan (Chamaerops humilis), Mexican Fan (Washingtonia robusta), Chinese Fan (Livistona chinensis), Bismarck (Bismarckia nobilis) & Palmyra (Borassus flabellifer) Palms.

FAQ for Growing Palm Trees From Seed

Two Frequently Asked Questions on growing palm trees from seed are:

Are there seed pods on palm trees?

The short answer is YES. Palm Tree Fruit can be considered seed pods. Yet the term "seed pod" isn't the common way to describe palm fruit. Normally it's just referred to as fruit, which does contain one or more seeds within.

Can I grow a Coconut Tree from seed?

Yes, it's possible! But remember it's a very tall palm. Wise Landscape Planning should be included.

Swish a coconut around & listen for the sloshing milk inside. That means this Coconut Seed is alive & active. The inner seedling may already be starting up! Removing the husk is not even needed. Just Plant It Properly.

How-To Steps for Preparing Palm Seeds for Germination

Local environmental conditions affect growth success of a palm's viable seeds. You'll want to nurture growth of high quality seeds for best results. By knowing good processes.

The freshest, ripe seeds will really have the most effective outcome. Start with nearly ripe to fully ripe fruits. They cannot be allowed to dry out.

SEED PREPARATION

Get your palm seeds through the first step: Soaking Palm Seeds.

This water soak is the best pretreatment for viable germination in most all palm species.

  • Your palm seed/fruit will enjoy taking a nice, long bath! Soak the seeds in warm water for about 36-48/+ hours.
  • Change the water once per day.
  • When you can make a dent into the fruit's skin or outer layer (epicarp), it's the ideal conditions to begin cleaning.

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Fanciful depiction of palm seeds happily soaking in water as if they're taking a relaxing bath.Aaaah, this is the life! 😉

Next: Detailed Instructions to Clean the Palm Seed Pod.

BY HAND - You can manually clean the seed. It's fairly time-consuming if you're planting many palm seeds.

  • Clean away the epicarp (skin) along with the fleshy fruit or pulp area (mesocarp). A knife can be used for this. 
  • For any mesocarp remaining, use a scrubber implement (The Scrub Daddy or similar) with the seed under running water.

BY MACHINE - Many commercial growers have a Seed Cleaning Machine. If you ask, they may be willing to clean your palm seeds. Likely for a price.

  • The machine process scours off softened mesocarp.
  • While continuously rinsing with water flow to separate the pulp.

Commercial Seed Cleaning

Help for How to Grow Palm Trees From Seed to Seedling

PRETREATMENT PRIOR TO PLANTING

Optional methods are used to further encourage palm seed germination.

With some species the endocarp & sarcotesta (fruit's pulp) are very thick & hard. This restrains moisture influx into the seeds. To overcome this, a scarification process is done to assist palm tree seedlings in getting started. There are mechanical & chemical scarification methods. But caution is needed to not injure the seed embryo.

We don't recommend you use harsh chemicals to speed up seed germination. These are best used by Commercial Growers dealing with tons of seeds of varying species.

SCARIFICATION

If you attempt germination of your own seeds for personal planting, scarification could be useful. There are those Familiar With the Process Here>

STRATIFICATION

A method using temperature for speeding up seed germination. By exposing seeds to specific temperatures. Heat Mats are often used. Some have worked with space heaters as Heating Sources. If you'd like to try, there are Specific Techniques for Safety. The time needed for this is lengthy.

Also, this process doesn't have many peer-reviewed studies for palms. Some have even found cold exposure successful, particularly in temperate climates. But again, quite variable per the species.

Your Guide for How to Plant Palm Tree Seeds Properly

We've sourced Expert Tips For You, when sowing your palm tree seeds. It's the exciting part of the technique, where your soon-to-be tiny sprouts meet their first home. Here's the step by step to-do process...

FIRST STEP

Decide whether to use pots or flats. Usually pots are preferred, because the depth allows for better root growth. Plus their drainage holes are essential. Pots allow for more root depth also eventually makes for easier transplanting.

Some choose Seedling Tubes. Or you can create your own version using PVC piping, cut to lengths.

If by chance you're planting palm seeds in a Flat Type of Container, you'll want to space out the seeds so roots don't entangle with each other.

SECOND STEP

Choose the planting soil (substrate). Base your decision on the fact that seeds & seedlings need consistent moisture, without sogginess. The substrate shouldn't fully dry out. But yet don't overwater.

Prepare Your Own Good Palm Seed Starter Mix:

One suggestion is using a mix of 2:1 ratio of Organic Peat Moss to Organic Perlite.

Pour the this mix into a pot, leaving some space at the top.

OR rather than the larger ratio be entirely peat moss, you can divide that in half for including Cocopeat. Or try Coconut Coir (we've used This Brand with good results). Especially good when you grow palm trees from seed in warmest climes. Being mindful of preventing the planting material from drying out.

It would then be a 1:1:1 ratio. Being equal portions of Peat Moss, mixed with Coconut Coir, and then adding in Organic Vermiculite.

HERE'S AN EXAMPLE, WITH 2 METHODS

THIRD STEP

The method for planting palm seeds depends on the surroundings. To plant palm tree seeds in your mix, follow these general rules of thumb (or green thumb in this case 😏). But remember, not too deep, we don't want the seed to lose its way!

Where will you be growing palm trees from seed? Have an indoor space? Or in a mostly shady outdoor area? Then the best way is to gently plug the palm seed into the potting mixture. Let large seeds slightly show above the mix. Small seeds should be no more than a depth of 1/2 inch (1cm).

FOURTH: WATERING

Once your seeds are snug in their pots, it's time for thorough, yet gentle watering. Misting setting gives best results. Keep the substrate moist but not waterlogged. Imitate a tropical climate, but not a flooded rainforest!

FIFTH: TEMPS

In furthering palm trees' tropical clime, most palm seeds need higher temps for germination. Best between Fahrenheit of 86o to 95o (30-35c). Better to sow palm seed in warmer months.

To help keep the temps in the best range, cover the seed container with clear plastic. Or use bottom heating by using a Seedling Heat Pad. But out of direct sunlight (we don't want to cook our seeds!)

  • All this helps to create a greenhouse effect, maintaining the warmth and humidity necessary for germination.
  • Remember as soon as sprouting young plants appear, remove the plastic or heating pad.

Palm Tree Seed Germination: What Can You Expect?

Gardening patience is what you need now. Germination can take several weeks or even months! Yes, it's a game not for the faint-hearted but for the truly determined, patient, palm-tree-loving souls.

During this waiting period, your primary task is to maintain the pot's environment. Ensure the mix remains moist, and the temperature stays warm. To avoid any common issues.

Ta-Da!

If all goes well (and why shouldn't it) you'll soon spot a tiny green sprout breaking the surface - your first palm tree seedling! Did you say "Yay!" ? Congrats - you deserve it!

Now that your baby palm tree is here, remember to remove the plastic. Let it bask, growing in indirect sunlight. Begin reducing watering to prevent root rot. Yet, don't let the soil dry out completely.

Transplanting Palm Tree Seedlings

Transplantation considerations begin as your palm grows. Do you see plenty of roots at drainage holes? Or does the pot now seem too small? It's time to transplant the palm to a larger pot or directly outdoors.

When transplanting outside, be sure the intended area has good drainage. You might mix some Organic Matter into the native soil before planting. The hole should be deep enough to accommodate the roots and wide enough to provide room for growth. Most important is ensuring the depth of your transplant is the same as in the original container.

Post transplantation, keep the freshly planted palm well-watered and Shielded From Harsh Sun or wind for a few days. Gradually, as the palm establishes itself, you can reduce watering and expose it to more sunlight.

Takeaways When Growing Palm Trees From Seed

So there you have it, a step-by-step, fun, and simple guide on how to grow palm trees from seed.

It might be riddled with ups & downs, or slow progress. But trust me, the sight of a young palm tree standing tall in your backyard is worth every drop of your sweat & patience. Take pride in witnessing life unfurl from the very seed you planted and nurtured.

It was hard, but careful work!

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