Grow a coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) if you live in USDA Hardiness Zone 10b or higher--where the lowest annual temperate is 35 degrees F or higher--to add a tropical feel to any sunny backyard. Coconut trees can be started from a coconut, a process that is relatively foolproof. Be warned, starting a coconut tree is not for the hasty--it can take half a year or more for the coconut to sprout, and several more years before the coconut tree is mature enough to produce coconuts of its own.
Obtain a coconut with its entire outer husk still intact, rather than the shaved and rounded coconuts often sold in supermarkets. Whole, non-altered coconuts can be purchased from some specialty food shops and garden nurseries.
Prepare a garden pot. The pot should be one to two feet wide--or big enough to accommodate the coconut's width--and twice as tall as the coconut. Add an inch or two of large gravel to the bottom of the pot and fill the rest of it with sandy soil or soilless potting mix.
Bury the coconut halfway into the soil, oriented horizontally with its pointed end angled slightly upward.
Place the pot in a sunny and warm location.
Pour warm water over the coconut once a day, using enough water so that the coconut's entire surface is moistened. Wait for the coconut to sprout from the pointed end, a process that can take five to eight months.
Transplant the coconut from the pot directly into the outdoor soil once the coconut sprout has reached several inches in height. Carefully wiggle the coconut from the pot and brush off the soil, then re-bury it to the same depth as it was in the pot.