Medjool is a cultivar of the date palm, known botanically as Phoenix dactylifera, that produce large, soft flesh and sweet fruits. Native to Morocco, Medjool dates are now one of the world's most popular dates for fresh and dried eating, according to Purdue University. As with other palm species, Medjool trees can be grown from seed, but the trees will be slow to develop and the gender, and thus fruiting capacity, of the resulting tree will not be known for many years. For these reasons, date palms are typically propagated by cuttings. If you have the time and are as interested in the process of growing Medjool date palms from seed, as you are in the result, it is easy enough to do.
Prepare your Medjool date seeds or pits for planting by soaking them in a bowl or bucket of water for up to seven days before the day of planting. Change the water for fresh each day and keep the seeds submerged.
Fill a nursery pot that is at least 6 inches deep with a mixture of fresh sterile potting mix and peat moss. You want the planting medium to hold some water, as the seeds need to be kept moist at all times.
Bury the seed in the soil at a depth equal to its diameter. Hence, a 3/4-inch diameter seed would be buried 3/4 inch down in the soil. Press the soil down gently over and around the seed to ensure good seed to soil contact.
Water the nursery pot until the soil is soaked with water and the excess water drains from the weeping holes at the bottom of the pot. Water the seed pot frequently enough to keep it moist at all times, never allowing even the surface of the soil to dry out. The seed will not germinate in dry soil. Maintain these wet conditions until the seed germinates.
Place the seed pot in a sunny or partly shady location outdoors. If you will struggle to check the soil moisture daily or every other day, shade may be a better option for you.
Allow 100 days or more for the date seed to germinate and develop one or more green shoots. Allow 6 to 10 years for your date palm to reach maturity. If it is a female tree, it will begin to bear Medjool date fruits of its own.
Plant many more seeds than you want resulting date palms. Germination failure rates for date palm seeds can be as high as 50 per cent.
Tips and warnings
- Plant many more seeds than you want resulting date palms. Germination failure rates for date palm seeds can be as high as 50 per cent.