Palm trees usually evoke thoughts of sandy beaches and tropical destinations. But several varieties of palm can be grown in temperate areas. The Mediterranean fan palm and windmill palm are both cold-hardy to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. But growing a palm tree from seed is more challenging than most trees, even for horticulture professionals. Research the varieties of palm that grow in your area, and contact local nurseries or your local county extension office for advice on plant selection and where to find a reliable seed supplier. The last point is critical--only buy seeds from an experienced and reputable source.
Test the seeds to determine which ones will be suitable for planting. Discard any green seeds as they will be too immature. Pinch each of the other seeds firmly between your thumb and forefinger. Any seeds that are soft and easily compressed are too old to be viable and should also be discarded. Place the remaining seeds in water to soak for 24 hours to improve the odds of germination.
Blend your potting medium by mixing together the potting soil, peat moss and perlite in equal parts. Fill your planting container to 3/4 full with the potting mix. Place the seeds in the container and fill the rest of the container with potting mix. Use separate containers if you have more than one type of seed and label each one with the variety of palm.
Set the planting container in a warm location that has at least 65 percent humidity. Ideally the temperature should be about 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add water sparingly to keep the soil moist. The seeds need air to breathe and are not likely to germinate in saturated soil. Palms can be very slow to germinate, so patience is required at this point. Be prepared to wait up to 12 months, carefully maintaining temperature, humidity and soil conditions.