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Phoenix dactylifera

Date Palm

Commercially important as the producer of dates, Phoenix dactylifera is extremely variable with hundreds of named cultivars, which are propagated by suckers or increasingly in vitro. It is also widely used as an ornamental. Taller, thinner, and with spikier, bluish leaves than its popular cousin from the Canary Islands, it is a handsome tree. Its adaptability to a wide range of climates, excellent resistance to drought, salt spray, brackish water, and various pests, and its general robustness make it the palm of choice for dry climates, temperate as well as tropical. The seeds we offer here come from the famous date groves of Morocco, and even though these seeds are intended for ornamental use, the quality of the fruit from the resulting plants should be very interesting.

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germination comments by our visitors
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Seeds from this species ...

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
planted 10 seeds (from a pack of date fruit, so how fresh i dont know) into a plastic container ccovered with only a damp kitchen towel and within a week 3 had germinated and after 2 weeks 6 had germinated. 4 weeks on no others have germinated so not bad from a pack of date fruit. temp 20 degrees celsius tops and about 17 degrees celsius at night
Submitted on 16/01/2010 by one of our visitors

... are easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Germinates best in wet, warm peat moss in a plastic humidity dome. Cover with course sand and keep in the shade. (Germinates faster if soaked in warm water for four days. )
Submitted on 29/12/2008 by one of our visitors

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Seed collected from a park. Get a deep pot and new soil. I keep my in the full sun about 2 month it has grown. Seedling is a bit slow but speed up if in full sun.
Submitted on 01/12/2008 by one of our visitors

... are easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I planted the seeds in a plastic container and covered them with cellophane - one has germinated within a month and another has taken 2 months. At the moment they are inside in a bright room but not on the window sill.
Submitted on 22/10/2007 by one of our visitors

... are easy to germinate and need up to 6 months to sprout.
This plant is one of the most beautiful palms also one of the most TASTY... First of all you need fresh seeds...My seeds were quite fresh and it took around 3 months to germinate. I also planted some seeds that I had collected in Arizona around 3 years ago and the took OVER 5 months to germinate! First of all you have to soak the seeds for 24 to 48 hours in water. Then place the seeds into a plastic sandwich box (or plastic bag) filled with soil. Add a couple of teaspoons of water to keep them MOIST not wet. Seal the box or bag and put it in the warmest part of the house - in my house, that's above the hot water tank. Then just wait... Check the seeds every few days... Wait until the seeds sprout... Plant the seeds into deep pots of 2 parts soil 1 part course sand. Bury them just beneath the surface and water twice weekly. I have had great success with this method my date palms are growing rapidly and enjoying the summer HEAT!!! With luck and time... it will grow into a lovely palm tree and produce what they were cultivated for thousands of years for the DATES!!!
Submitted on 09/07/2007 by Nikola Dimitrijevic mendelsohn879@hotmail.com

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
The seeds were sown in a 50% : 50% peat compost and vermiculite. They were placed with bottom heat and after 1 week 3/12 had germinated. Seeds were soaked for 24 hrs prior to germination. Very easy seeds, great for beginners.
Submitted on 20/03/2007 by Callum Wells john.wells38@btinternet.com

... are easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I put date palm seeds in a large (10 inch) pot and left it outside in my garden, in New York State, during the summer months. They were watered when it rained or when I sprayed my garden with a hose. When I checked the pot in September, I had a number of palm seedlings. I transplanted and kept two of them, which are now 4 years old and doing fine.
Submitted on 20/02/2007 by Alan J. Jones tigerj52@yahoo.com

... are easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
i got seed from a date palm fruit. than i start to plant them it took 1 month to sprout. i try by plant them in a zip lock bag. i check them a evey day and than it sprout. i plant them in a paper towel and i wet them a week. seed must be fresh for it to sprout. i keep the zip lock bag in my room wear is warm.
Submitted on 15/12/2006 by one of our visitors

... are average to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
If you live in south florida where it is mostly humid and hot year round, can't you just plant the seeds in jiffy pots and mist everyday and they will sprout? Why does everyone use baggies?
Submitted on 13/02/2006 by Jon johnniewalker@bellsouth.net

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Wife planted three fresh seeds in a small plastic container with a clear lid. Medium was moist, not wet, peat. Placed container on the window sill. Recieved sun when sunny. Temp range inside from 68F - 90F+. In 3 weeks two germinated and one was overcome by fungs. Seeds were not soaked prior to sowing. The seeds sat in my car for 2 weeks. The inside of my car was warm to hot. She made it look easy.
Submitted on 20/10/2005 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I simply planted the seeds into plastic pots and kept the soil wet. After aprox. 1 month the first plants emerged, for others it took up to 3 months. At this time (10 months after planting) the small date palms have an average of 2 leafs.
Submitted on 15/06/2005 by Mihai Constantinescu mihaita_co@yahoo.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I just planted them 1/2 inch (1cm) deep in a bowl full of straight perlite with the water level at the surface of the perlite, and I covered the bowl with plastic (wasn't air tight, that way the water slowly evaporated away) and set them on a heat source (seedling heat mat). Right around the time the perlite began to dry out (like 2 months) the palms sent out roots and the first leaves shortly after. After mixed results with other methods, I think that I will stick to this reliable method from now on.
Submitted on 18/01/2005 by one of our visitors

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
As with most Phoenix Palms this was an easy one to germinate. Use standard 50/50 ziplock bag method. I had germination with in a month. The only thing with these paticular seeds is thier foul smell and suseptability to fungus. I would say these were the most difficult of the all the Phoenix palms. I bought 100 seed bags of 6 different Phoenix palms from RPS, They have all been highly viable and I am having good success with all of them.
Submitted on 15/01/2005 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
fresh seeds (taken from freshly harvested fruit), were soaked in water for 3 to 7 days then placed in a ziploc bag full of moist vermiculite, placed next to the water heater, seeds germinated in less than a week, almost 95% germination rate, first seed sprouted 1 month later, the rest are following.
Submitted on 05/10/2004 by one of our visitors

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I bought a box of dates from the supermarket, ate them, then planted 12 seeds. They were put in a rather heavy mixture of peat moss and peat humus, and given water whenever it rained outside (often during a Florida summer). Eleven have sprouted roots (couldnt find the 12th), and I have transplanted them to deeper 1 gallon pots. Despite them being very damp, and sometimes swampy, they still made it in the end. Easy to work with and highly recommended
Submitted on 22/07/2004 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I soaked some of these seeds for 3 days and put them in 1/2 sand, 1/2 peat moss. i put the pot outside in full sun in the early spring. temperatures were around 70 in the day and 50s in the night. it rained about once every 12 days and top of the soil stayed dry but not the middle. in 2 weeks, all the seeds had 1 inch roots. they now have hard, little leaves and are growing pretty good.
Submitted on 09/06/2004 by Anton C wutang8364@yahoo.com

...not rated.
I often buy disposable cups (small ones, holding less than 200 cubic centimetres), and drill a hole in the bottom, same diameter as that of a pencil. These cups are labeled with the name "date palm", and the date (year, month, day) they were planted. Then, sandy soil is added to a level about 2 centimetres below the top. then two seeds are placed in each cup, as far apart as posible) and covered with a thin (.5 centimetre) layer of soil. Water once a week during trhree months or so. As far as I know, you'll get one plant of each cup (average). If roots start to shoot out of the hole in the bottom of each cup, it's time to start thinning them. Place each cup, one at a time, in a bucket with just enough water (to a level about .5 centimetres above the top of the cup. Let it soak for a few minutes. Afterwards, with extreme care, try to take the plant (or plants) out of the cup. If it's easier, cut the cup open lengthwise some scissors. Care should be taken to avoid any root damage. Then each plant, with the soil it was planted in, can be transferrred to a big plastic bag or pot (suitable to hold about a gallon). They can stay there for as long as 2 years, maybe more, provided the have water once a week. Be sure to plant them directly to the ground after that, 10 metres between each plant. When the Phenix Dactylifera is old enough, (about seven years) it will start to produce female (like a string of beads) or male (feathery) elements on separate plants. By then, most likely it has it has started to produce new shoots at the bottom of its trunk.. Each shoot is a clone (chromosomically identical) copy of the adult plant. Same gender. These shoots can be taken apart. Soak the ground around each one during three days, and gently pull it apart. Try to harm the roots as little as possible, and try to pull them out with as much soil with them as you can handle. Then they can planted somewhere else, with full knowledge about its sex. Plant them in rows (ten metres between each plant or row) following the most often wind direction. To ensure natural pollinization, a male palm must be planted in the front part of the line (where the wind strikes first), and no more than 25 (some people say 50) females in the back. This way, pollen will be carried by the wind from the male to the females. Pollinization can be done by hand, carrying the pollen in a suitable container, mixed with flour and placed in the female blossoms with a brush. Good Harvest!
Submitted on 24/04/2004 by José Luis Aguayo Meléndez joseluisaguayo@prodigy.net.mx

...very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I simply sowed my seeds in classic black soil that I water once a week. It's quite enough for a desert specie. But, it still took a lot of time to see the result. I've sowed in July and seen the fist plant in october. Need light, not a lot of water and heat.
Submitted on 17/01/2004 by Samuel Marchand samuel899@hotmail.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Seeds from the date palm are relatively easy to germinate, whether from fresh fruit, dried fruit, or from bought seeds. Fresh fruit and bought seeds are best for germination. To germinate, place cleaned seeds in warm water (about 32C) for 1 - 2 days, then dry for about 6 hours. After this, the seeds can be planted directly in potting mix or peat moss and some sand. Earth should be slightly moist and fluffy. Thereafter, lightly moisten from time to time. Place the pot in a sunny location to add some warmth. My experience has been that it takes between 2 and 6 months for the plant to sprout, most commonly at about 3 months. Then it grows a 10cm leaf blade rather quickly . This is a tough palm and easy to grow.
Submitted on 23/11/2003 by Matt Er rocky@tokyo.com

...difficult to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I live in the middle europe (in winter temperature reaches -20 degrees C) I have bought some fruit at the supermarked (phoenix dactyflera) and seeded the seeds. I did't soaked them because i didn't know that i have to do that before seeding. I have put them into black soil, which was in a plastic box with holes in a bottom. I've put the transperent bag from the above. Fortunatelly, almost all the seeds germinated after 2 months. But i have another problem. My palms have grown to the exact height and don't grow anymore. Only one leaf grows per year. And when there grows one more leaf, then another leaf dies. So there's always only 2 leafs. The temperature at my house is about +18C. So what can i do to make the datepalms grow better?
Submitted on 11/02/104 by Andrius randizas@hotmail.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
For best results, sow fresh seeds, scratch the seed bed loosely. Then sow the seed in compost mixed whit some peat soil or just in seed-compost! Place about 2inch of soil over the seed. Keep the heat and moisture to the seed by haveing them under clear plastic. The heat is significance 73-80°F or 22-25°C. This palm is highly popular, fast-growing and he is cold hardy to 16°F or -8°C. This massive palm can sometimes reach 60 feet (18m) in height, requiring plenty of space in the landscape.
Submitted on 12/06/2003 by Jon Agust Erlingsson johnny13@torg.is

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
A friend gave me a young plant which they had grown from a supermarket date seed. This plant in a pot did not survive a Toulouse winter. So a little piqued, I planted some seeds from a packet of dates I had bought, this was the summer of 2002, a few at a time in pots of potting compost. Practically all of them germinated within a few weeks. I repotted them individually and overwintered them indoors. This year they have continued to grow, but slowly, and ungerminated seeds which were mixed in with at compost as I repotted have germinated this summer.
Submitted on 10/09/2003 by Terence Hollingworth terence.hollingworth@airbus.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I had 50 seeds and put 5 seeds on each 10-inch dia. terracotta pot. The pot contains mixed moist soil (3/4) and sand (1/4). Placed them under canvas shelter. Germination started after 2 weeks. I have receiving now approx. 80% germination. More are coming out and could reach up to 90%.
Submitted on 03/09/2003 by pairote pairote@asiaaccess.net.th

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Easy like all other Phoenix! I got about 40 seeds of this palm (inside of fruits), I sow the seeds in well drained pot plant soil (no presoke), covered in 25-27°C (80- 84°F) using bottom heat and put plastic bag over it!The 1st seed germinated in two weeks and 4 days and the last one in 4 weeks! I recieved 80% germination, 32 out of 40 seeds! I keep my palms out of doors at the summer time, witch is not long (I live in Iceland), and bring them in at the winter!
Submitted on 02/08/2003 by Jón Ágúst Erlingsson johnny13@torg.is

...very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
First step is to Soak seed for forty eight hours, after that drain water off seeds and your ready for step 2. Get a tupperware container that seals with a lid or you can use a plastic bag that seals and place two cups of vermiculite in your container and add 2 tablespoons of water, then mix it, it should feel dry to the touch but nevertheless do not be tempted to add more water. Step 3 To prevent fungus from growing on seeds you can also add a fungicide to the mix, I use Captan which is readily available at nurseries and garden shops but this is optional. Then add you seeds to the mix and slightly cover with the vermiculite and seal. Put the seed container in a warm to hot place and they do not need light to germinate I plce my container on top of the hot water tank where the temperature is 84 degrees, an ideal temperatue is 90-95 but 84 degrees has always worked for me. Check the seeds every few days and you can add just a little water if the vermiculite is dry but I have never had to. And then soon you will see a white root appear and then you are ready to plant in a pot or if your climate is suitable outdoors. Give all the seeds at least 3 months to germinate though I have gotten quite a few within the first month.
Submitted on 01/06/2003 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I never lsot any of the seeds I sow of this species........a friend of mine even told me, that he put seeds in a hydroculture pot at work (where he ate the fruits while sitting at the computer ;-) ) and even there they sprouted.
Submitted on 27/01/2003 by Tana Gottwald black-flame@web.de

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
My husband and I was in Calf. and bought apackage of Calf.Dates. from a local store .I ate them and save the seed and brought them home to plant .I live in Rogers.Ark.in the United states.I plant them with in a mouth they came up and did very well They are know (18years old )in keep them in my garage in winter. still no furit. Plant are beauitful.
Submitted on 18/03/2003 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Almost impossible not to succeed with Date Palms. Warm (75+) or cool (63-69 Degrees F) in damp peat in a plastic bag vigorous rooting in two weeks or less. Great choice for impatient beginners
Submitted on 17/02/2003 by Robert Smith rmsmith65nc@aol.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Very easy, and quite fast. I had radicals visible within a week. The seed was sown in plastic bags suspended in the sunroom, in peat.
Submitted on 23/12/2002 by Van vandringar@hotmail.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
The seeds were put in a glass of water during 48 hours, changing water after 12 hours or more frequently. Seeds were sowed in a mix of peat moss, perlite and a little bit of cactus mix. Watering every day, roots were visible before two weeks. I live in zone 11, temperature is hot all year around and humidity is high, but after 1 month and a half, I got 4 little palms and waiting for some more. Germination success rate was 50%.
Submitted on 04/11/2002 by Efrain Alberto Flores floresta93@hotmail.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I bought a couple of packages of Tunesian dates from our local grocery store in Chatham, Ontario, Canada. I ate them, soaked them in water for a day or so and planted them into our good ol' Canadian soil. In less than a month just about all of them came up. The ones I planted in front of my house in a container with Papyrus came up first. A week or so later they were popping up all over my gardens. I planted them near the end of June. It's the beginning of August now. More and more come up every day. I'm eager to see how well they do outside before it gets too far into Fall. In a month or so I'll try to transplant some into pots and watch them grow as houseplants through the winter.My soil is quite acidic and is excellent for growing Passion Flowers and English Holly.
Submitted on 03/08/2002 by Andrew Marttinen marttinen@primus.ca

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
firts of all, you have to burn a dry palm, and then mix the ashes with moist turf and ground (soil). put the mixture in a well drained pot in a hot place (about 20-25 °C) but without direct sun. That is a tradicional way from Elche, Spain the most beautifull palm city in Europe.
Submitted on 19/04/2002 by Ramon rapeor1@ozu.es

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
this mediteraneen palm are easy to germinate:protect this palm from the cold when he's young.His rusticity?-12.He like full sun.any soil can work but he prefer drained,moistured and rich soil.
Submitted on 30/03/2002 by Cédric Fournier mario.fournier@caramail.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
December 00 I bought in a supermarket a package (200 gr. /~30 dates)of sweet date from Tunisia . After eating, cleaning and pre-soaking germination @ 25°C in a box (standard garden soil).First germination two weeks later, final germination 50% after four weeks.Only seven survived the next months.Now, one year later, two (the other five I have given away) of them have 6 leafs and a height of 40 cm.I think, best way for beginners to start with palm germination.(sorry rarepalmseeds !)
Submitted by Jens JensBluetling@onlinehome.de

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I did several tests in the germination process of dactyliferas. There was this test that totally shocked me. I got some fresh seeds from for the best results. I have heard to put them in sealed containers, in vermiculite which I did for most of the tests. In this test, I soaked exactly 91 fresh seeds for good 24 hours. Then simply, put them in the same pot where my 6 yr-old canary island was. And I watered it deep enough surely to the bottom of the pot. This pot is about 2ft wide, and 2 1/2 ft deep. Then the next day I sprinkled very little water. And on the third day, out of my patience, I dig on seed out and saw a little white dot. Then I picked out another, the same. So about 75 out of 91 had their first sign of the root. These, I transplanted right away. I left 4 in the same pot, with the canary island. Anyhow, these 4 didn't have their roots on the third day, not even then when I took out all of them on 7th day. But they sure had their first leaf before, any of the had!! All of the seeds were showing their tips when I first put them vertically. Outside it was ranging anywhere from 88 to 95F. I sprinkled right at noonish time, when the top soil was totally dried, meaning it did dry out everyday. For some reason, the same soil from the canary island help speed up germination process for dactyliferas. What I believe is the temperature and the depth of the pot. In hot conditions, the water on the bottom would vaporate, and change into heat and rise going thru the seeds. This wasn't really a test, it truely was the left overs that I had to deal with, and gave me the best results. I haven't tried it again but sure will again next year.All other tests results varies. They all had good results except in one of my tests, I put 26 seeds in the sealed container, in side my car where the temperature reached 140+F easily when it was only in 70'sF outside. They all died;( So if you are where it is really cold, just put your seeds inside the car, parked in the sun, giving it a good greenhouse effect. My problem was, temp was too high. Good Luck with yours.
Submitted by Kashif Zaman krazycash@msn.com

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

... are of excellent ornamental value
In Stockton California in USA they need very little care and grow normal.
I grow seed in zip lock bag then root show I put it in my backyard and a leave show out of the ground. The palm is growing outside 2 year old, it have been growing 1 year and is full sun. The palm it about 3 inch and grow in soil.
Submitted on 01/02/2007 by one of our visitors

win € 75 worth of seeds
by writing a plant cultivation comment about how to cultivate the plants of this species. Click here!

If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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