Do you own a coconut tree?

bananafanMarch 26, 2014

Do you have own a coconut tree? If so I'd like to hear of your growing experience. I bought a coconut tree about 1-2 years back when it was about 4-5 ft. Last fall, I planted it in the ground. Now it has grown up to about 6 ft tall (to the tip of the tallest frond). I know it doesn't like the cold here, so I placed a lot of Christmas lights around it. It's a good thing that the Winter here did not freeze, but we have been having many chilly night temperature even until now ...

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures. I'm eager to see how it will grow and my question for those of you who grow coconut trees and especially in FL. How successful have you been in growing it and has any of yours fruited yet?

I'm looking into a miniature variety to purchase. It will bear fruit at about 6ft tall .. If I can get hold of one, it'll probably be easier to protect it from the cold as well.

Picture taken on Feb 1, 2014.

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bananafan

Another picture of the tree taken a month later (March 25, 2014)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 9:58PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Hi
I'm in 10 so coconuts are no problem . I removed mine several years ago as I have a small lot and they are very messy lol. You will probably be able to grow them depending on the moods of the winter gods ??lol
Good luck gary

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 6:18AM
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tropicbreezent

I’ve seen lots of dwarf coconuts fruiting at about head height or a little more, but when you add the height of the fronds you can multiply by about 2. Still, a lot smaller than a fruiting tall variety. There was a bloke posting on palmtalk who had a tall variety growing in his yard in Perth WA. For winter he had built a greenhouse over it using plastic. Each year he built it higher but knew there would finally be a limit. After a number of years he stopped posting about it so I assumed it had finally succumbed. But he got some good years and enjoyment out of it. So it’s always worth a try if you’re prepared to put in that bit of extra effort and understand that there will finally be a cut off point.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 6:22PM
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tropicalzone7(7b)

Here's my coconut palm in better days (last summer). It has been attacked by spider mites all winter indoors and it looks very defeated right now (although in this pic you can also see spider mite damage from the previous winter indoors). I hope it recovers well when it goes back outside. It's down to 2 fronds.

Yours is looking nice!
-Alex

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 12:14PM
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bananafan

Lucky you, Gary, that you can grow coconut trees there. I wish I was in your planting zone.

When you say that your coconut tree was messy, was it because it dropped too many coconuts or fronds, or both? If it was due to the fruit, it must have been a good mess to have :) (especially if you enjoy drinking coconut water and eating its flesh). The flesh of the young coconut is tender and aromatic. Have you taken any pictures before you removed it?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 4:37PM
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bananafan

Tropicalbreeze,

Yes, I've heard of that miniature coconut tree. I've been trying to source out one to buy, but haven't been successful so far. It would be the most appropriate kind of coconut tree to grow here. Since it's small, it would be a lot easier to take care and provide protection for it.

As to trying to protect it as the guy in Perth, I doubt I could do that ... lol. But, that's an idea though. It must have been a great accomplishment for him to beat the odds with his zeal and determination and to have also enjoyed the fruit of his labor.

How are your coconut trees doing these days?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 4:50PM
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bananafan

Tropicalzone7,

Thanks for sharing the picture of your coconut tree. I'm sorry to hear that it has been attacked by spider mites. This reminds me of my previous coconut tree I planted in the ground. When it was in the pot, it was doing so well, but due to the Winter stress, it began to turn yellowish and shrink in size. I was also careless to have let it stand outside in chilling weather for a while. Now that you've mentioned spider mites, I'm sure that it was these bugs that caused its demise of my coconut tree last year after it was planted in the ground.

So, the good question is how do you get rid of spider mites? Is there anything you can spray on it that will help it overcome the infestation?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 5:28PM
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tropicalzone7(7b)

I have been spraying a mix of water, dishwashing soap. and a couple of drops of neem oil to keep the spider mites from destroying my coconut palm. If it wasn't for me spraying my plant once every 2 weeks for the past 2 months, I think my coconut palm would be mostly dead by now.

Neem oil is completely natural and non-toxic. While I don't recommend it, it is apparently safe to eat for both humans and pets so it really is a great pesticide! So far it has worked well for me with spider mites, mealy bugs, aphids, and whiteflies. It takes several applications to get it to really work and you should only spray it during the early evening hours when the sun is not strong so the oil doesn't cook your plant in the sun. My oleanders used to have an insanely bad aphid problem that would never completely go away, but after using neem oil on it a few times over the course of a few weeks the problem went away. 3 years later and they still haven't returned.

I hope the spider mites don't bother your new coconut palm. They are pretty vicious.
-Alex

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 9:19PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Hi
Actually it was both lol . More important was the size They get very large very fast . I let the neighbors grow them , there are 25 within view of my window . and best of all they take care of them lol The fruit is rather mixed most years it does not mature . always a hazard especially during windstorms.
I concentrate on the understory palms for my small area .though I'm much more of an orchid ,epiphyte fan.
Good luck they are a fantastic palm in the right place !!
gary

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 6:45AM
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kinzyjr

A recent picture of mine.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 5:24AM
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bananafan

Thanks, Gary. Your feedback has somewhat brought some new awakening for me ... maybe I'm having one of those illusive gardening dreams again .. growing coconut tree in my area! Well, I think that what makes all of us gardeners--trying and trying until we succeed or fail ... lol. But, seriously, I'm looking into some coconut tree alternatives and have been learning about some Bolivian mountain coconut trees and mini coconut trees and many more that are a cold harder varieties that will thrive better in my area. They produce smaller size (golf ball sized) fruit and they are said to have similar tasting to the coconut fruit. Heard of any of them?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 6:22PM
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bananafan

Kinzyjr,

Thanks for sharing your coconut tree picture. Nice size tree with pretty fronds! It's good that you're planting it close to the house. It will offer some protection. So, how old is your tree and how long have you planted it in the ground?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 6:24PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Hi
The two that I had came with the house . have no idea how long they were planted but were around 20 feet .
I removed them because of the constant dropping fruit and fronds . You don't run over a coconut with a lawnmower .Okay maybe once lol. The fruit seldom matured though I did manage to germinate several over the years . Couple of these are still growing in the neighbors yards .
The palms that I'm still growing are queen, areca ,Elephant ,joey,bottle and a couple of licualas
My entire lot is only 75x100 feet and I'm an epiphyte freak so something had to go lol
If you go to the green markets you can often get the nuts for 50 cents or less.Heck you can get them at the fruit stands with and without the husks for a buck.
Have never ventured into the varieties . The fruit I grow
are carombola Suriname cherry ,two types of guava ,papaya, gingers and my favs aroids though I don't eat them lol I do grow lotus but seldom enough for a salad lol Did have banana but took way too much room .
Good luck with whatever you decide!! gary

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 6:38AM
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kinzyjr

Bananafan,
The coconut palm in the picture has been in the ground for 2 years now, with an overall age of about 4 years. I got it at Home Depot in Vero Beach after the 2009-2010 winter.

I figured if I could keep it somewhere easy to cover, it could get some good size to it before a real nasty freeze had the chance to kill it.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 9:44AM
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bananafan

Well, this is my coconut palm tree now .... 8 months since the picture was taken in March this year. It has grown to as tall as the 8 ft fence there--probably 2 ft taller from before. The hot and humid summer with lots of rainfall here really did help it to grow. I have just finished putting Christmas lights around it again. I also wrapped the trunk with some sack cloth. Hopefully, it will survive in this coming cold.

It would be nice to hear from those of you who shared about your coconut trees. How are your coconut trees doing now?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2014 at 4:24PM
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coconutman(Usda zone 9b Sunset zone 14)

My 3 coconuts in NorCal.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2014 at 7:56PM
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bananafan

Nice babies you've got there, coconutman.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2014 at 8:17PM
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coconutman(Usda zone 9b Sunset zone 14)

Thanks bananafan,The golden panama tall is from Home Depot. The 2 green malayan dwarfs are from Florida.when I was still living there I was visiting Sanibel island,knowing that coconuts grow well down there I prepared my tree trimmer for a little picking.While getting some water coconuts from the tree, two ripe nuts fell to the ground and suprised me! luckily I didn't got hit!They were kind of dried up,and water sloshing.4 months later when I moved to California they germinated into these beauties.

Getting some water nuts!

My stash! Those 2 in the rear of the seat are the ones that sprouted!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2014 at 8:52PM
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tropicbreezent

This mornings sunrise. Cloud was a bit too low to get much colour, but I got 2 of my larger coconuts into the pic (centre and to the far right).

    Bookmark   November 15, 2014 at 9:04PM
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kinzyjr

Coconutman,
I'm hoping my Malayan sets fruit like that at some point!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2014 at 9:52PM
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coconutman(Usda zone 9b Sunset zone 14)

Just be patient kinzyjr in around 4-5 years time it should be mature enough to start flowering.I used to have a green malayan dwarf around your size back then.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2014 at 10:17PM
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bananafan

This is my coconut palm tree 3 months later. It has gone through some cold temperatures here, but fortunately no freezing so far ... keeping fingers crossed. On some nights, I thought the lows would kill it or at least stunt its growth. So far so good and it's still pushing up a frond. Here's a picture of it.

Would love to hear how yours are doing.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2015 at 2:30PM
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bananafan

Another picture of it. I didn't spot anything unusual, so that must be a good sign. Am looking forward to the warmer weather so it can take off from there.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2015 at 2:33PM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

Is it the ripe green coconuts that sprout? I often see some at the local farmer's market that sells stuff like sugar cane, rambutan, and jackfruit. I wanna try and see if I can get one to sprout. How can I tell if its ripe? The coconuts I saw for sale there were kinda green still. Is that okay?
~SJN

    Bookmark   January 19, 2015 at 4:37PM
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coconutman(Usda zone 9b Sunset zone 14)

SJN, some green ones will sprout but to know exactly which ones that is ripe, you'll have to shake them first.Shaking a ripe nut will have a distinct sloshing sound,and will feel certainly light and airy.An younger seed would have no sound when shaken,and will considerly feel heavier.Usually the farmers market sells younger nuts for water content+soft flesh so finding a mature seed will take some time! The mature nuts will also look quite pale and not as green as the young ones.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2015 at 2:40AM
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tropicbreezent

Always a bit of a gamble with store bought ones, you never know how they were handled, transported or stored. Best way is to go to where they're growing (or if you know someone who lives where they're growing) and collect some fallen nuts

    Bookmark   January 24, 2015 at 6:57PM
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bananafan

Coconutman,

How are your 3 coconuts doing now? Any latest pictures of them?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2015 at 5:58PM
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bananafan

Can anyone help me identify what kind of coconut tree I have here. I'd like to think it's a Dwarf Malayan, but I really don't know. Any idea?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2015 at 6:00PM
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coconutman(Usda zone 9b Sunset zone 14)

Bananafan, your coconut looks like a Green malayan dwarf due to its early split fronds.The talls don't start developing windows until their taller than your coconut.

Oh... And you requested my coconuts!




They grown quiet a lot since my previous post

This post was edited by coconutman on Wed, Jan 28, 15 at 18:18

    Bookmark   January 28, 2015 at 6:09PM
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palmfan(z7/8NJ)

Such beautiful coconut seedlings! I love growing palms I New Jersey! I have Sabal minor seedlings scattered all over my yard! I get 8' fruiting spikes on my Sabal minor 'McCurtain' Palm. My large Needle Palm flowers for me, but since male and female flowers are only rarely produced on the same plant, I figure I'll probably never find fruit on mine.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2015 at 6:28PM
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bananafan

Coconutman, I'm glad to hear mine is a Malayan Dwarf Green. I've been hoping that it's some kind of a dwarf variety.

Your coconut seedlings sure have grown. Nice job with taking care of them. Have they been indoor all the time, or are you able to bring them out sometimes?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2015 at 9:48PM
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bananafan

Kinzyir, how's your coconut tree doing so far (the one you planted close to your house)?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2015 at 9:55PM
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coconutman(Usda zone 9b Sunset zone 14)

Bananafan,my coconuts have been indoors for about 3 months now since November.

I usually open the screened window to simulate some airflow on warm days.
So far they haven't went outside since.

This post was edited by coconutman on Fri, Jan 30, 15 at 2:22

    Bookmark   January 30, 2015 at 2:14AM
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kinzyjr

bananafan,
Overall, it is doing really well. It is forming a small trunk, put out a new spear in late December (unusual), and is handling the mild winter we've had well.

The only downer is that it is leaning so much, that when I cover it, I have to tie it to the wall for support. I expected that, and had the bolts already there when I started getting that location ready for planting. It's facing east, so plenty of morning sun, and guarded on 3 sides from wind by fences and screens, so that also helps.

I'll have some pictures around spring break.

Because it has done much better than I expected, I have given some thought to heading down to Hutchinson Island to look for some Atlantic Tall/Jamaican Tall palms or nuts. I think I can squeeze another one in that area, it would be easy enough to protect both, and I've always wanted to have a hammock between 2 of them.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2015 at 5:32PM
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