How to Grow a Coconut Plant


The coconut palm is a member of the Arecaceae family and the only species in the genus Cocos. The Malayan dwarf and Maypan are the two varieties recommended for planting because of their resistance the lethal yellowing disease. Don't let the name fool you, these trees can reach a height of 60 feet with a spread or 25 feet. They do not tolerate cold weather and prefer a humid climate where the mean annual temperature is 81 degrees F. They will survive brief temperature drops to 32 degrees F.

Step 1

Choose a location in full sun that will accommodate the coconut plant's mature size.

Step 2

Dig a hole twice as wide as the container. Plant the coconut tree at the same level as it was in the pot. Mix organic material such as peat moss, leaf mold, manure or compost into the soil that was removed at a ratio of 1/3 organic matter to 2/3 soil.

Step 3

Place the coconut palm in the planting hole and fill in around the roots with the enriched soil mix about half way. Water the coconut palm to settle the soil around the rots. Continue filling in the hole and water again. Cover the soil with a light mulch. Stake mature trees for the first year or two until they are firmly established.

Step 4

Water every day for the first two weeks and then weekly, if needed, for the first year. Over-watering would be hard to do as long as the soil is well-drained.

Step 5

Fertilize the coconut several times a year with palm tree fertilizer. Following the label directions for fertilizer dosage and application. Add Epsom salts if the soil is alkaline.

Tips and Warnings

  • Coconut palms are all susceptible to lethal yellowing disease. There is no cure and infected trees should be destroyed. Falling coconuts can be dangerous and damaging. Do not plant them too close to buildings or in seating areas. It is recommended that they be removed if high winds are expected. Do not fertilze young plants until three fronds develop.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Organic matter
  • Garden hose
  • Mulch
  • Planting stakes
  • Palm tree fertilizer
  • Epsom salt


  • University of Hawaii at Manoa: Coconut Palms From Seed
  • Purdue University: Cocos nucifera L
Keywords: coconut tree care, how to plant a coconut palm, how to care for coconut palm tree

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.