How to Care for a Coconut Palm Houseplant
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The coconut palm tree (Cocos nucifera), while a lovely landscape ornamental, is a bit of a fraud. Botanically, the coconut is not a true nut. It is a drupe, or fruit. And because the coconut palm lacks bark, branches and secondary growth, it is not a tree.
That said, it is an easy plant to grow outdoors in the tropics and some subtropical regions, such as Florida. It also is possible to grow a coconut palm as a houseplant, although it won't get nearly as tall, generally stopping growth at around 5 feet.
Water the coconut palm often enough to keep the soil just slightly moist.
Place the potted coconut palm in an area of the house where the temperature remains above 21.1 degrees Celsius and in bright, but indirect, sun. The temperature should "often" be above 26.7 degrees C, according to the University of Hawaii.
Re-pot the coconut palm houseplant every five years. Use the next larger size container, and plant the tree in a potting soil that drains well.
Place a humidifier in the room with the coconut palm. Dry air will cause the fronds to turn brown.
Fertilise the mature coconut palm with a fertiliser labelled for use on palms. Apply at half the strength recommended on the label. There is no need to fertilise the young coconut palm, as it derives its nutrients from the coconut for the first three years.
- University of Hawaii at Manoa Cooperative Extension Service: Coconut Palms From Seed
- "The Houseplant Encyclopedia"; Ingrid Jantra and Ursula Kruger; 2006
- The Library of Congress: Everyday Mysteries
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