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How to Plant Palm Seeds

By Stephen Oakley ; Updated September 21, 2017
Growing palm trees from seeds is a challenge but worth the effort.

Growing palm trees from seed can be quite challenging. The seeds are notoriously slow to germinate and require a well-controlled environment to have a decent chance of sprouting. You will need to know what types of palm trees do well in your area. Although palms are commonly thought to grow only in tropical climates, varieties such as the windmill palm and the Mediterranean fan palm are cold-resistant down to 5 degrees. Visit local nurseries for help in selecting the right type of tree, and buy your palm seeds from an experienced grower.

Examine your seeds carefully for color and firmness. Green seeds are too young for planting, while seeds that are easily crushed when squeezed firmly with your fingers are likely too old. Place the good seeds in a container of water for 24 hours to soak. This will increase the chances for germination.

Make your potting mix by blending equal parts potting soil, perlite and peat moss. Fill a 1-gallon planting container about three-quarters full and place the seeds on the soil. Add potting mix to the remaining quarter. You can plant three to four seeds in a 1-gallon container. If you have more than one variety, plant the seeds in separate containers and label each one.

Place the container in a warm, humid location. To give the seeds a good chance of germination, the humidity should be at least 65 percent and the temperature should be at least 80 degrees. A greenhouse is usually the best place to keep newly planted seeds.

Water the pots regularly to keep the soil moist but not wet. The young roots need to be able to breathe. Germination can take up to a year depending on the type of seed, so you'll need to be patient. Allow the seedlings to become well-established before transplanting outdoors. Young palm trees are better off in a controlled environment like a greenhouse for the first 18 to 24 months.


Things You Will Need

  • Palm seeds
  • Sterile potting soil
  • Perlite
  • Peat moss
  • 1-gallon planting container


  • Another way to test your palm seeds is by placing them in a container of water. The seeds that are ready for planting will sink to the bottom. Any seeds that float should be thrown away.
  • If you live in a colder climate and have cold-hardy palm seedlings to transplant outdoors, choose a location that provides as much shelter as possible. Buildings offer warmth and wind protection. Wrap your trees with burlap during prolonged cold snaps.

About the Author


Based in Surrey, British Columbia, Stephen Oakley is a freelance writer focusing on environmental issues, travel and all things outdoors. His background includes many years spent working in the Canadian wilderness and traveling worldwide.