How to Start a Coconut Palm Tree


The coconut palm grows rapidly once germination takes place, reaching heights of more than 10 feet in 10 years or less. A mature coconut palm can reach a height of 60 feet with a canopy spread of 25 feet. Coconut palms can be found throughout the tropics. They thrive in hot, humid areas that receive more than 30 inches of rainfall annually. Malayan dwarf and Maypan varieties are recommended for their resistance to lethal yellowing disease.

Step 1

Choose a coconut with a green husk. Shake it and make sure that you can hear water inside. Dry coconuts will not germinate. Soak the coconut in water for two to three days. Do not remove the husk.

Step 2

Fill a planting container half full with potting mix. Place the coconut in the pot vertically, with the end that was attached to the plant sticking up. Fill in around the coconut, leaving 1/3 of it exposed. If you are planting the coconut directly into the ground, place it horizontally then bury the lower 1/3 only. Do not add fertilizer. The coconut contains all the nutrients the young plant needs.

Step 3

Place the container in a warm location where the temperature does not fall below 70 degrees F. Water frequently to keep the soil moist but not wet. (As long as the soil drains, it will be difficult to over water.) It will take the coconut between three and six months to germinate.

Step 4

Transplant the coconut palm to its permanent location in the garden after the first frond develops. Dig a planting hole slightly larger than the container. Remove the young palm from the container and set it in the planting hole at the same depth as it was in the container, then back fill around the plant and water it well.

Things You'll Need

  • Coconut in husk
  • Pail of water
  • 12-inch flower pot
  • Potting mix
  • Palm tree fertilizer
  • Epsom salt


  • Purdue University: Cocos nucifer L.
  • University of Hawaii: Coconut Palms From Seed
Keywords: plant a coconut, coconut from seed, coconut tree culture

About this Author

Joan Puma is a graduate of Hofstra University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in fine arts, and has worked in the film industry for many years as a script supervisor. Puma's interest in gardening lead her to write The Complete Urban Gardener, which was published by Harper & Row. Other interests include, art history, medieval history, and equitation.