image by Kelsey Shipman
Coconut palms are common in the lush landscapes of tropical regions. Traditionally, they provided food, water and shelter to Pacific Islanders. Malayan dwarf coconut palm trees are popular in warm climates. The name can be misleading because a dwarf can reach up to 60 feet in height with a canopy of 20 feet across. They often grow well in pots but eventually grow too large to be kept indoors and should be planted in the ground.
Choose a site in your yard. A dwarf coconut palm tree needs at least 8 hours of sun a day and plenty of room to grow. Find a fairly large area that is at least twice the height and width of your palm, with well-drained soil.
Purchase a young dwarf coconut tree. Local nurseries carry many varieties and can provide you with planting advice. You can also grow a tree from a coconut by soaking the coconut (with husk) in water for three days and planting it in a container.
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.
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.
Firmly stamp on the soil. Use your foot to flatten the soil and eliminate any air pockets.
Cover the surface with mulch. Spread 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.
Water your tree 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.
Fertilize your dwarf coconut palm regularly. The most common problems with coconut trees are deficiencies of vitamins and minerals. An ounce of slow-release palm fertilizer per 3 inches of trunk is sufficient after initial planting.