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How to Grow a Date Palm From a Seed

Date palms, also known as Phoenix dactylifera, are popular landscape palm trees that can be grown from fig stones. Once potted, date palm trees can grow to be too large for an indoor tree, making them a perfect choice of tree to adorn your patio or become the focal point of your conservatory. Growing a date palm tree from a fig stone is simple, though time-consuming.

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  1. Use a knife to cut a date stone from a ripe date. Wash any stickiness from the date stone with warm water, then allow it to dry. For best results, repeat process with at least four additional dates.

  2. Rub the dates stones with sandpaper to roughen their surfaces. This will allow your date stones to take in the water they need to properly germinate.

  3. Fill a plastic zipper bag with a rich potting compost. Add just enough water to moisten the soil in the bag.

  4. Add your prepared date stones to the plastic zipper bag. Seal the bag and store in a warm, dark location.

  5. Check the date stones each day and add water, one teaspoon at a time, to re-moisten the soil as necessary. Keep the bag sealed, only opening to add water.

  6. Wait for your date stones to sprout a root. Be patient, as this part of the process can take a long time. When the root sprouts from one end of the date stone, it's ready to plant.

  7. Fill an eight-inch pot with a rich potting compost. Push your date stones into the potting compost, root side down, so that the stones are covered by no more than one inch of soil.

  8. Water your freshly-planted date stones to help settle the soil. Make sure that any excess water drains from the soil. Water your potted date stones as often as is necessary to keep the soil moist.

  9. Keep your potted date stones on a warm windowsill where they will receive plenty of sun. Wait for the date stones to sprout.

  10. Transfer your date palm seedlings to larger pots when they reach four inches tall. For best results, replant your date palm seedlings in a specially formulated compost like John Innes No. 2.

  11. As your date palm seedlings outgrow their pots, replant them in pots only one to two inches larger than the previous one. When your seedlings become saplings, plant them in permanent containers up to two and half feet wide.

  12. Choose locations for your potted date palms that receive several hours of full sun each day.

  13. Water your potted date palms as frequently as is necessary to keep their soil moist. Though date palms are drought-tolerant, your trees will be much more lush if grown in moist soil.

  14. Fertilise your potted date palms annually with a specially formulated fertiliser for palm trees. If you were replanting your date palm seedlings and saplings in John Innes No. 2 fertiliser, you won't need to fertilise during the first two years of growth.

  15. Prune your potted date palms every year at the beginning of the summer. Use a pair of garden shears to remove the discoloured fronds from your trees.

  16. Tip

    Potted date palm trees rarely produce fruit, though it does occasionally happen. To give your potted date palm the best chance of producing fruit, situate a female date palm within 100 feet of a male date palm.


    Be careful not to add too much water when re-moistening the soil in the bag or your date stones may rot rather than germinate.

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Things You'll Need

  • Ripe date
  • Knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Plastic zipper bag
  • Potting compost
  • John Innes No. 2 fertiliser
  • 8-inch pot
  • Garden shears

About the Author

Megan Mattingly-Arthur has been writing professionally since 1998. She has contributed to various publications, including "Teen Voices" and "Positive Teens" magazines, as well as a book, "The Young Writer's Guide to Getting Published." Mattingly-Arthur is studying travel and tourism through Penn Foster Career School.

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