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How to Plant Date Seeds

Date-palm image by Kristina Ubaviciute from

There are several factors to consider before planting a date seed in your back yard. Dates grow on large palms that may reach 100 feet in height or more with canopies that span 40 feet. And date palms do not self-fertilize so you must have a yard large enough to contain two of these beauties if you want the female to bear fruit. If the female is successfully fertilized, you will have to wait between six and 16 years for it to bear its first crop of dates.

Fill a container with room temperature water and submerge the seed in it. Allow it to soak for 7 days. Change the water daily.

Fill a 6-inch clay pot with a mixture of 1 part perlite and 1 part peat moss to within 1/2 inch of its lip.

Plant the date seed vertically in the soil at a depth that is equal to its diameter.

Water the soil until you see water dripping out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Keep the soil moist until a week or so after the date seed germinates. Never let the soil dry out, but do not soak it. There should never be standing water on the surface of the soil.

Cover the top of the pot with clear plastic wrap to help the soil retain moisture and heat.

Place the pot in a greenhouse or near a sunny window (the pot may be placed out of doors if the weather is warm enough) where it will receive full sun and the temperature remains between 70 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. The seed should germinate within three weeks.


Date palms grow slowly and can survive in a container for years until they become too large for your home and must be planted out of doors. If you harvest your seed from fresh dates, remove all traces of the flesh from the seed before planting. Date palms can be grown out of doors in USDA growing zones 9 through 11. Date palms are ready to be transplanted out of doors once they have grown in their containers for one year. Most are planted in spring or fall, but in warm climates they may be transplanted year round.


There is no way to tell whether a seed is male or female until roughly 10 years after it is planted, when it bears fruit. Date palms are heterozygous and are unlikely to retain the characteristics of their parent plants or fruit.

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