Growing palm trees from seed
In this article we will talk about growing palm trees from seeds. It can serve as a great help for those who have little experience with palm seeds, germination and care. Sometimes it is discouraged to know how long it takes to go from a seed to a mature palm tree, but it must be said that when it arrives it is something very rewarding.
With our Mediterranean climate palm trees take 2 to 10 times longer to grow than in warmer, tropical climates. Grow palm trees in a climate where you can stay below °C15 for months and months, it's wet and cold at the same time, and then the heat and dryness the rest of the time is a real challenge.
TO GET STARTED…
The first thing you need to start growing palm trees from seeds is a place to grow them. A suitable environment should be created for germination and survival of seedlings. A greenhouse may be a good option but this entry is not about that either. In any case, if you want to build a greenhouse for growing palm trees, think about what your ultimate goals are. If they are only for growing seedlings, then the best is simple and spacious. But if you have higher plans to grow topical products that will never survive outdoors where you live, the higher the greenhouse, the better. A palm tree does not take long to overcome a greenhouse.
Nor is it necessary if or if greenhouse to germinate, palm seeds can be germinated almost so easily in a small cold frame or even in a seed box. Many experts grow most of their palm trees from seeds that simply sit in bags on their kitchen counter. And then seedlings just need a small, protected area like a small cold frame to grow to a size where one can experiment by taking it outdoors.
TEMPERATURE, KEY ASPECT
A very important aspect is the cold frame. One thing to remember about the cold frame is to protect the palm tree from both heat and cold. What could be a great location in the middle of winter could be deadly in summer. Palm seeds and seedlings like heat, but they need ventilation and some sun protection. Seed boxes are used to germinate seeds, not to grow seedlings. Almost always palm seeds like a lot of heat and humidity. It is essential to create a warm and humid environment, preferably that is not easy influenced by the ambient climate in which you live.
A mostly sealed environment works best (capped) although if one is germinating palms that work well in temperate climates, one can leave with an open box. This eliminates the need to find another place for seedlings soon after, but germination will take longer in most cases.
FIND A LAND TO PLANT
Soil can be almost anything you want to use that drains well but contains some water. Potted soils work well, but there are soils that are sold specifically for germination if you wish. DO NOT reuse the soil as you will be fighting soil fungi as they are. Sometimes it is recommended to sterilize the floors first by baking them and immersing them in a liquid antifungal and other times put a layer of gauze or a fine mesh on top of the box to prevent mosquitoes and mealybugs from entering.
One thing the soil needs is to be constantly moist but not soaked. Letting the soil dry a little is fine until the seedlings have germinated, but drying can kill the newly germinated seedlings very quickly. Growing palm seeds is not something one can do one day, and leave the city for a month and hope to have something alive when one returns. If one has access to a hygrometer that measures humidity, it would be excellent, and one can work to try to maintain levels between 60% and 75%.
CLEANING AND CORRECT GERMINATION
Many professional palm growers germinate their seeds in dirt-free media and these also seem to work well. Dirt-free media dries quickly, so these media should be kept in well-sealed plastic bags (zippered sandwich bags work well) or in plastic containers.
However, to germinate most palm seeds, heat is essential. This heat can be from under the seed box, inside the seed boxes or above/around the boxes. All three work well but heat below the box is preferable for shallow simple boxes and above/ambient heat for larger enclosures in which several boxes are housed. Ideally, a heat source that is reliably constant should be used.
Other things you may need are antifungal spray and insecticide powder, to put the seeds before putting some growing medium on them.
With these basic tips you can start your palm cultivation from seeds. We hope it has helped you.