How to Grow a Coconut Palm Tree

Coconut palms can reach 100 feet in height. image by Kelsey Shipman

Overview

Coconut palms are common in the lush landscapes of tropical regions. Traditionally, they provided food, water and shelter to Pacific Islanders. These days, they are increasingly popular in household landscaping projects. At full height, coconut palms can reach 100 feet and have been known to produce coconuts for a century. Dwarf varieties are available and often grow well in large containers.

Step 1

Choose a site in your yard. A coconut palm needs at least eight hours of sun a day and plenty of room to grow. Find a fairly large area (at least twice the height and width of your palm) with well-drained soil.

Step 2

Purchase a young coconut tree. Local nurseries carry many varieties and can provide you with planting advice. You also can grow a tree from a coconut by soaking the coconut (with husk) in water for three days and planting in a container.

Step 3

Dig a hole. It should be at least 6 inches larger than the width of the container and deep enough to cover the root ball with 2 to 3 inches of soil.

Step 4

Fill the bottom of the hole with sand. About 2 to 4 inches of sand in the bottom of the hole will ensure proper drainage. If planting multiple trees, leave at least 20 feet between each.

Step 5

Firmly stamp on the soil. Use your foot to flatten the soil and eliminate any air pockets.

Step 6

Cover the surface with mulch. Spread the mulch around the base of the plant the same width as the canopy. This will keep the soil moist and prevent an onslaught of weeds.

Step 7

Water your palm immediately after planting. During hot summers, water your palm three times per week to keep its leaves green. Water at least twice a week for the first six months of growth.

Step 8

Fertilize your coconut palm regularly. The most common problem with coconut trees are deficiencies of vitamins and minerals. One ounce of slow-release palm fertilizer per 3 inches of trunk is sufficient after initial planting.

Tips and Warnings

  • Protect your palms from frost by insulating the roots and branches and wrapping them in plastic. Avoid pruning your palms at all costs. Nutrients from old fronds are recycled back into the heart of the tree and will shed naturally.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Soil
  • Sand
  • Water
  • Palm fertilizer

References

  • University of Floridia
  • Belize Coconut Palms
  • Broward
Keywords: coconut, palm tree, tropical landscaping

About this Author

Kelsey Erin Shipman has worked as a travel writer, poet, journalist and award-winning photographer since 2004. Her work has appeared in various newspapers, magazines and journals. Shipman has also authored three collections of poetry: "Cold Days," "Bastante" and "Short Poems." She earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Southwestern University.

Photo by: Kelsey Shipman