Germinating a Date Palm

andyandy(6bMI)October 7, 2005

I'm going to show my ignorance here because I've never eaaten a date to my knowledge. Do dates sold at a market still have seeds in them? If so could one remove the seeds and germinate? What preperation would be needed (drying the seeds out, planting in peat, etc). I could plant in small pots and put on top of my hot water heater. I would appreciate anyones input.

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Darell(z8a E. TX)

Andy,

I am not for sure if there any seeds in store bought dates. I have eaten dates on more than one occasion but someone else had always prepared them.

If you want some Canary Island Date seeds I have some you are welcome to. I did the float test on them and they all sunk. I put some of the seeds in a baggie with soil and peat moss two months ago and I am still waiting. Most date seeds do not germinate in less than 3 months.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 5:24PM
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redbeard92(z7a NJ)

I germinated some dates in December '03. I soaked them for a few days, then placed in baggies - took about 3 weeks to germinate.

These dates were very fresh and sent from Saudi Arabia (which could explain the quick germination). Just eat the flesh and make sure the seeds are very clean.

After almost 2 years, i'm FINALLY seeing my first "palmish" looking leaves.

Rob

    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 6:25PM
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Las_Palmas_Norte(Zone8)

Just to add to RedBeard92 's above comment, use sterile, moderately moist potting medium in those baggies for germination. Buy fresh dates, many of which are available from California growers.
P.S. eat the dates...they're great. Natures candy.

Cheers, Barrie.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 8:36PM
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Darell(z8a E. TX)

I guess the date seeds I am germinating were not fresh. I put them in very clean potting mix a little over two months ago and I haven't gotten a thing! I picked these date seeds myself off of the ground when I was in Tucson in mid-July. Of course, there is no telling how long those seeds were lying there.

Oh well. At least they were free!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 9:40PM
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Laaz(z8b SC)

Fresh store bought dates normally germinate in 2-3 weeks. I have some I germinated in Feb of this year, they are now starting to get their pinate leaves. They have a very deep root system and if you are growing them in shallow pots they will take much longer to leaf out. Mine are going in the ground next spring, but are now in a 65 gal community pot.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 8:38AM
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redbeard92(z7a NJ)

Wow, thats a real nice leaf in such a short period of time! I guess mine just don't wanna grow up ;)

Rob

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 11:08AM
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Darell(z8a E. TX)

Rob,

Don't feel bad man. My Date palms seeds don't even want to be born!

Darell

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 8:34PM
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unautre(8B San Antonio TX)

what Genus species are we talking about with these palms seeds bought at the grocery store?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 12:14AM
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Laaz(z8b SC)

Phoenix dactylifera

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 7:39AM
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andyandy(6bMI)

Thank you all for responding. I bought 6 dates at a local market on Saturday. I ate them all and removed the seeds. I have no idea how fresh they were. They were shrivelled up and tasted like pure sugar. I have cleaned the seeds off. What I need to know is if I try to germinate them (or order some seeds I know are fresh). What minimum temperature do I need to get them to germinate? I woulds appreciate any suggestions.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 11:01AM
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Laaz(z8b SC)

They best way I have found is to use a ziplock baggie. Use standard potting mix moistened, not wet. Put the potting mix in the baggie & place the seeds in. My computer never gets turned off & the temp on top of the monitor is great gor germinating the seeds. Just set the baggie on top of the monitor...

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 5:36PM
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vegangirl(z6 VA)

My date seeds came from a 15 lb box of dried dates bought from a co-op. It took them several months to sprout so don't give up yet. I just put them in a small pot of seed starting mix in a west window over the kitchen sink. I have three babies now!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 10:43AM
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flound_1129(10a/sunset17 CA)

I collected seeds from underneath a Canary Island date palm about 3 weeks ago and put them in regular seed starting mix (Scott's) in six packs. I checked one of them yesterday and saw a radicle, so I guess I should expect leaves soon.

I haven't tried a Dactylifera yet but I want to..

    Bookmark   October 20, 2005 at 1:52AM
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nikitas_10a

In my experience with a) store bought dried dates (deglet noor) and b) raw but refrigarated dates (medjool), the germination rate is fairly low (about 1/10). My guess is that -as others have already pointed out- seeds from fresh dates would have much higher germination rates. One thing to remember though is that if you grow a date palm (phoenix dactylifera) from seed you will probably get fruit of inferior quality compared to the parent tree (that's what the theory says, anyway).

Nikitas
Corfu, Greece

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 5:43PM
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flound_1129(10a/sunset17 CA)

That doesn't make sense though, since that is really the only way to propagate them, no? So all date palms must be grown from seed. I guess to guarantee that the trees will be similar to the parent they have to isolate the seed.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 8:06PM
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Las_Palmas_Norte(Zone8)

Many named varieties are taken as offsets (suckers) from the parent tree.

Cheers, Barrie.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 12:43AM
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Yoke

Hey, new poster here...great site!. I bought some dates from Kroger about 3 years ago, and decided to try and grow them for fun. out of 10, i got 9, but they were SUPER slow to grow. 6 didn't make it, they just wouldn't prosper. I kept the two best looking ones and gave the worst to my MIL in Florida, where it grows today in some kind of pot in her neighbors yard (she moved last year) She said it was very healthy. Of the two I kept, one finally just died, but the other is doing awesome, 7 leaves, the last two finally look like real palm leaves, but this thing grows SLOW! Maybe it is cause I live in Michigan.........:) I'll try and get a picure but not sure where to post it to upload....it is a great hobby! How long before this baby gives up some dates?????

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 5:10PM
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Laaz(z8b SC)

If it's a male plant never. If it's a female, without a male for pollination it will have poor quality seedless fruit if any at all. Under the best conditions it takes 6-10 years. In a pot probably never.

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/Date.html

Here is a link that might be useful: Phoenix dactylifera

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 7:53PM
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andyandy(6bMI)

I dug up one of the date seeds I planted back in early October and saw that a shoot was emerging. They have been in peet/potting mix over a heat mat for about 5 weeks. Anyone have an idea when I may see the first shoots break the surface. I had purchased the dates from a local market and WOW did they taste good! The seeds are about 1.5 inches below the soil.

thanx, Andy

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 2:48PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

How hardy are date palm seedlings? I want to try growing from seed, but live in the Seattle area (Zone 8). If I get the seeds to germinate inside can they survive outside, or should I plan on bringing them in every winter? Usually it's above freezing all winter, but we will get 3-4 days where it could get as low as 15 degrees at night. Some palms, like Trachycarpus fortunei or T. takil, do great here outside.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2005 at 12:59AM
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birdinthepalm

I dont' think date palms would be hardy there, even though they are really sort of subtropical and can tollerate some frost and even snow sometimes for short periods of time, but they do need those daytime highs to rise most likely to make it through the winter. I planted some pits from unpastuerized dates I bought at a healthfood store and got nearly 100 germination in less than two months, but they do take a while and need to be warm.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2005 at 10:48AM
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edbtz(5b/6a)

Just to clarify: Are people using heavily ripen dates or the unripe one you buy by the pound at the grocery store. I assume the latter is much more fresh, but not as ripe. Does this have any implication for the viability of the seed or the germination rate?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2005 at 11:55AM
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birdinthepalm

I guess my question is "how ripe is ripe" since none as far as I know would be harvested while not ripe, and the only difference I've noticed is how long they've been stored, and that doesn't mean they get more ripe the longer they're stored but just drier and more shriveled, but I'd assume the fresher (but ripe) the better maybe. Afterall I only grew those, that were very fresh from, what I could tell, being they were sort of "locally" grown and not in storage for months as they could be for most of those shipped to many suppliers around the country. If fact the average dates years ago, were pitted varieties with no seeds and they were also marked as "pastuerized" which might mean the seeds would be killed by the pastuerization process. It does mean they should read "unpastuerized" I'd think, but often those are only available from health food stores. I guess I better look in my local supermarkets to see how they're being marketed these days, since I've not bought any dates in years.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2005 at 2:13PM
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mrbungalow(Z8, SW-Norway)

Here in Norway, Christmas is the season for dates! Every year I plant a few, and every year I get 100 % germination. The method is quite simple, I eat the dried dates, spit out the seed, and pop the seed in an ice-cream box filled with cactus-soil. No need to soak the seeds or anything like that. It is essential to keep this warm, around 80-95 degrees F. I actually also keep the media quite wet. You will have roots in about 2-5 weeks.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2005 at 5:15PM
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birdinthepalm

mrbungalow, are your dates shipped in fresh for the holidays?? From the middle east? I think they're not so much a seasonal thing here, though there are lots of cakes and other things baked for the holidays here for our Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. I guess I couldn't have asked for fresher ones, since they were grown so close to me in California in those days. And heat is the key to quick germination! I never did check for roots though as you said , it's most likely you may get roots quickly , but it may take longer for them to send up the first fronds.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2005 at 7:37AM
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nikitas_10a

Hi Kudzu9,

your seedlings will definitely need winter protection (bring them in) for the first 3-4 years. If afterwards you plant them on the ground, they will be losing their leaves during the cold winter but if you are lucky (15 deg F is very tough on palms) new leaves will be growing in spring.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2005 at 4:47PM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

Dates sold in the store will have seeds unless they were "pitted". Most that are pitted were done so by machine and one still slips through once in a while.
If you get dates that are not pitted, the seed will almost alway be viable. They are very hardy, even taking prolonged freeze and still germainting.
Date seeds are pretty smart. They seem to sence the seasons and will probably not germainate until Feb or March when the soil temp is warmer, the day length is longer. So Darell, don't give up. Just keep them moist, in time they will sprout.They do like a very most soil.
I planted over 100 seeds 4 years ago. Most came up in March, when our soil temp got really warm. About 10 of them did not germainate until the second spring. I had 2 of them produce their first flowers this year (4th year) and expect that it will take about 8 years of our sun and lots of it to get any to start producing fruit, perhapse 12 years for the smaller and slower growing ones. In the past I let one seedling grow in my date garden. It turned out to be a male and took 9 years to make it's first flowers.
Half of the date palms started from seed will be male. Of the half that will be female, 99% of them will be inferior fruit.
Long ago I tried to compost seeds left over from a machine pitter (to get rid of them) and used horse manure with them to help them break down. It actually helped them germainate it astounding numbers. Chicken will do just as well. The main thing being that they get nitrogen and organic mater, along with warm soil temp. the right day length and lots of water.
I've been raising dates since 1977 and I still learn new things every season.
Arthur the Date Palm Guy

    Bookmark   December 1, 2005 at 10:51PM
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nikitas_10a

This seems to be the right time to ask a question that’s been on my mind for a long time. Could someone please tell us how much inferior will be the fruit that palms grown from seed will be producing, compared to their mother’s fruit. Will it be 1/2 the size, 2/3 the size, what??? How about the taste, will that be different too? I have a handful of seedlings (medjool and deglet noor) I started from seed and I wonder if I’ll ever get any fruit worth eating (I am definitely not interested in commercial production).

Thanks,

Nikitas,
Corfu, Greece

    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 1:37AM
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palmpunk(z6b SE MI)

Is heat or sunlight more important when germinating date seeds? How much sunlight is needed?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 2:53PM
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kinzyjr

My experiences growing date palms (my favorites) are that they readily germinate with a little heat and they are slow growing. I did run a test on seedlings although this will probably not help the person from Seattle. We had a recorded temperature of 24F in 2003 on a piece of ground in Frostproof, FL. I left my dates out intentionally in their pots and not a one perished or showed damage even as a seedling (There were 13 of them so this was not a "genetic anomoly"). They were the standard "Medjool" variety you buy in the little plastic container in Wal-Mart Supercenters. I say give it a roll in Seattle but keep in mind that these are desert plants and they like summer heat which you will not have.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 7:20PM
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edbtz(5b/6a)

About two weeks ago I took some seends from dates I bought at the locat Price Chopper. These are the ones that are not yet ripe and are hard and yellow. These seeds are much more fresh then the really ripened ones found in the packages. I placed 5 in a ziplock and placed it on top of my fridge for some additional heat. All five have sprouted in a very short period of time.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 8:28AM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

Nikitas
By inferior we mean several things. Size, texture, taste being the main ones. Some tend to make twin fruit, others are sort of hollow for lack of a better word. The meat of the fruit is not solid. Some will not ripen properly or tend to never ripen only on one end. Other fruit quality issues include color (some have unatractive pinkish yuckky skin) and astringency. Still other issues are early or late season, susceptibility to insects or disease, and the workability of the palm it's self. Some have very short fruit stalks and are hard to work (Khadrawi for instance) or have tight and sever thorns (Amir Hajj), low yield per palm (Khalas) or other things that make them harder to cultivate. Each cultivated variety, though has it's strength. Khadrawi is soooo sweet!, Amir Hajj is the first to ripen to the yellow stage so it is the very first fresh date available each year, and Khalas is considered by many the finest over all for flavor and size. My FAVORITE is Barhi, which is juicy when it first breaks to dry, as smooth as pudding, and has a hint of caramel taste.
There are also 3 classes of fruit, soft, simi-soft, and dry. This is according to the particular sugar content, how much sucrose or fructose and such, rather than just how dried out it is. Soft dates are lower in invert sugar and so are more honey like... softer. Deglet Noor are considered dry, Medjools are a soft variety. Dryer yet, the Thoory is the favored date for those who travel. Because of it's dry texture they last well without any special care, and are still sweet and a little chewy.
Odds of getting a good eatable date seem to be about 1 or 2%. One grower here started about 100 seedlings many years ago. 4 were kept and cultivated. Of those, one has had some value. It is called honey date, and is a simi-soft date. The seed was from a Deglet Noor. The other 3 are curious, but the color is bad (mottled) and the texture is stringy.
There are also varieties that are grown strictly for the yellow fruit, which I suppose would be the truly "fresh" dates. (all others are dried like a raisin or a prune). This is called the khalal stage. There are only very few varieties that are good to eat at this stage, as most are astringent, like a persimmon, until fully ripe/dried. For people who live where dates grow, but never quite get enough heat to ripen the fruit, a variety that is good in the khalal stage may be of interest. Barhi is among the best for this, and the most popular.
When the date first breaks from yellow to brown, some are very juicy. In the Middle East, these are pressed into "cakes" and the juice is allowed to run out, making a wonderful syrup called dibs. "I've got dibs!" I know of one variety that is grown just for it's superior dibs. It is so juicy that on a really hot 110 degree day, the dates will literally drip or even slip right off the pit.
So, that's probably more answer than you needed. The short answer is that most will be astringent, not very sweet, stringy, "hollow", not ripen well, or just not all that tasty. And of course, half will be male. Can't get eggs from a rooster. LOL
Hope you get a good one.
Arthur the Date Palm Guy

Oh, one more thing. I wouldn't worry to much about getting "fresh" seeds. I know one fellow who used date seeds from a pitting machine to "gravel" his driveway. After 7 or 8 years of driving cars and tractors and semi trucks on them, there was an unusually wet spring, and sure enough, he had hundreds of thousands of seedlings sprout. His entire driveway was green with dates seedlings.
All the best
Arthur

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 8:28AM
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vegangirl(z6 VA)

Arthur, fascinating date info! Thanks for sharing. Our co-op catalog lists Halawy dates. What are they like? My 3 seedlings are growing very slowly. I wonder if they are too cool. My den gets down to about 62 at night. Or do they just grow more slowly in the winter? I have no supplemental light, just what comes in the south-facing windows.
VG

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 7:55AM
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andyandy(6bMI)

I'd say it's a combination of both. 62 is a little cool but by no means too cool. We're having the shortest days of the year right now and that has as much as anything to do with slower growth rates.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 8:47AM
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buretachi(z6 PA)

how tall is a bearing date palm?
impossible to fruit in a container as an indoor/outdoor for the summer plant here in the North?

Scott

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 3:36PM
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andyandy(6bMI)

I sure wouldn't think so. First of all these are slow growing palms that take quite long to mature. I don't think they would produce fruit until they were way to big to fit in a pot.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 4:33PM
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vegangirl(z6 VA)

Thanks Andy:-)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 6:44PM
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nikitas_10a

Arthur,

I just read your message. Thank you very much for sharing all that information with us. I really appreciate it. Good and reliable information on practical issues is hard to find.

Nikitas
Corfu, Greece

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 4:58AM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

Halawi variety is a simi-soft date very sweet and excelent texture. I like them more than Deglet Noor.
Soil tempature is the most important factor for germination (very warm), and they like lots of moisture, a bit more than most seeds. It's very hard to rot them and the roots love wet soil.
To bear fruit a palm must be several years old, generaly at least 7 years old and usually older. Size may vary as well but a fully mature palm will be at least 12 years old, a 30 foot span (each frond about 15 feet long). Date palms will mainly grow longer fronds for the first several years. At some point, perhapse year 6 or 8, it's fronds will be near it's mature size and it will start developing a trunk.
We cut offshoots from the partent palms to get true to variety palms. When we set out offshoots, they I prefer stout 4 to 5 year old offshoots. Once these are cut I raise them on drip which helps them to grow faster. We used to say 12 more years for an offshoot to reach maturity, now, with drip, it's about 8. So, 4 year old offshoots will have fruit about 3 years later (year 7) and be mature, with full production, in about 8 years (year 12)
Seedlings take about 2 additional years, as the have to do all the growing on their own. Offshoots depend on the parent palm to give them a faster start.
Without pollonation, fruit will have no seed, take at least 2 more months to turn "ripe" and will taste astrengent and be very small. Many will be twins or triplets. Unpollinate fruit is not marketable at all. The only exception being Barhi. I believe this is because it is also good as a yellow date and the unpollinated fruit is really never ripe.
Arthur the Date Palm Guy

    Bookmark   December 31, 2005 at 7:06AM
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flound_1129(10a/sunset17 CA)

SoftMentor you might also want to give advice about trying to get edible dates in a humid climate. From what I've read, this is not possible as the dates ferment before they can ripen.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2006 at 7:10PM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

flound,
you are right. it is quite impossible to get dry curred dates in rain environments. Even in the area I live in we choose areas away from the edges of the mountains where it's likely to get the occational summer thunder storm. Rather we grow in the center of the valley where the very least amount of rain exists.
Once the dates are starting to color up, long before they are dry curred, the sugar content is so high that any significant rain ruins them. Even in the green stage, rain will dammage a percentage of the crop by spliting (from sweeling) or getting into any fruit that is scratched.
They have date palms in Haiti where it is humid and it rains often. There, while they are still green, they cut the bunches and use the green fruit for pig food.
the old saying is "feet in the water, crowns in the fire" meaning they love water but ONLY on their "feet" or roots, and they love the fire hot summers of extreeme desert climates. Still they do make a lovely palm, even if you can't raise the fruit.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 2:51AM
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cattrix

I don't normaly eat dates, but for Christmas I got a small gift of dried fruit... including dates. These had the seeds in them and I was fascinated with the interesting shape. I saved a few and now I am trying to germinate them. I have 2 in a small plastic medicine bottle in just enough water to cover them. I have been changing the water every few days to keep them from souring or rotting. The seeds look like they have swollen and "plumped" up.. are they close to breaking open and sprouting? Should I do something else with them? This is kind of exciting! I would like to grow them inside as a house plant if they live.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 2:29PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Just to add my 2 pennies worth, this is a seedling from a date that I found at the bottom of the computer drawer, all dried out from the previous christmas(December 2004!)
I planted it last October after almost a year drying out and this is the result!
Just dont ask me what it was doing in the PC drawer! ;)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 6:19AM
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amaretto

I have placed about 50 seeds in baggies with bottom heat and sphagnum moss, but, I found an article that troubled me a bit. It says that date palms (phoenix) have remote germination. From what I know, this means if the fruit is removed, you're pretty much killing its chances of germination. Now, there was a little stick emerging from a few of them which I removed... did I totally mess this up?

BTW... here is the article for those interested:

http://flrec.ifas.ufl.edu/HORT/Palms/Palmproduction/Palm_seed_germination/palmseed.htm

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 1:09PM
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unautre(8B San Antonio TX)

"Should I do something else with them?"

1. I'd back off on the water until the mix was moist, not soaked. yes, the seeds have absorbed the moisture and expanded which is a pre-condition of germination.

2. place in a warm spot to raise the baggy temp at least to 80F or more.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 7:24PM
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unautre(8B San Antonio TX)

"if the fruit is removed, you're pretty much killing its chances of germination"

Not true. When you buy seeds from a good seed vendor, the fruit, aka mesocarp, is nearly always absent and only the dry seed, aka endocarp, remains.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesocarp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endocarp

"there was a little stick emerging from a few of them which I removed"

duh, what were you thinking? :)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 7:30PM
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redbeard92(z7a NJ)

I have about 20 2 year old seedlings that sprouted from about 21 seeds. Cleaned all the fruit, soaked for 24 hours and placed in small plastic cups with soil. Once the roots hit the bottom, I transfered to 12" treepots.

Mine were very easy to germinate (although fruit was very fresh and came directly from Saudi Arabia).

About half are now throwing fully pinate leaves and begining to slowly accelerate.

Best of luck,

Rob

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 10:29AM
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amaretto

Rob,

You're going to think this is funny. I just removed 21 seeds from a baggie and 20 had germinated... Everyone play 20 and 21 on the lottery this weekend!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 3:45PM
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amaretto

By the way,

Anyone know what kind of growth results I can expect now that my seeds have germinated? I read dactyliferas grow at a rate of 1 foot per year... does this mean next august I'll have a one foot plant?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 10:58AM
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bigdogg30

I would love to see some pictures of some seedlings at different stages of life. My Canary Islands are two and a half months old and just look like a wide 10" piece of tall grass. What happens next? By the way only 7 of my 30 seeds germinated.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 11:34AM
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knnn

bigdogg30,
These are some CIDP's from seed that germinated last August.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 1:42PM
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amaretto

Hey, guys

I swear this isn't a plug. If you want to germinate date palms, go to Publix and buy "Sun Dates". I baught 2 cannisters, they had between 30 to 50 each, ate them all, and put them in baggies. Took 2 weeks to germinate and I now have more seedlings than I know what to do with (about 70 or so). I never expected such a success rate. Now I'd like to know, for obvious reasons, what kind of growth rate to expect once they've sprouted? I'd hate to have 70+ little leaves lying around for an extended period of time

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 2:02PM
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fadi

I eat dates and I found them very easy to germinate I just placed a few under the soil of my spiderplant and waited and 3/4 of them sprouted but their verrryy hard to tell apart without looking closely, from the spider plant that is

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 10:54PM
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topher2006

Wow I thought canary's were slow !

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 5:44PM
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rnrbudding

I have to thank everyone on these forums, because I took the leap to germinate plants for the first time with everyone's advice. Not too mention they were CIDP and Phoenix dactylifera that I decided to germinate. I'm using my garage for the heat and using the baggie and sealed container methods. 50/50 perlite and moss and wallah in about a week I already had sprouts on both types of palm seeds. I got my seeds from a dealer and soaked them for 2 days, sealed, in my garage where it's always warm even at night in the summer. On the third day I soaked them in tap water for the chlorine hoping it would keep it from getting mouldy. Then I put them in their medium, damp and both methods worked. I must have a green thumb or something. I transplanted them to 1 gallon pots with 1/3 of perlite, moss and potting soil. I'm not sure if I should put them outside yet though. I have a screen porch so it won't get direct sunlight. I'm just afraid of the medium drying out. Will they sprout leaves even if it's not in light?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 2:08AM
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bearstate(9A)

This is the 2nd of two threads on germinating Phoenix Dactylifera. There are probably others.

Phoenix Dactylifera date seeds from dates purchased at the grocery store were the first seeds I have planted since I started gardening as a hobby in October of 2006, not too long ago, just last fall. I've eaten a lot of dates and had a lot of seeds. They started sprouting in late Winter and Spring. There was a brief waiting period.

I am amused by this thread and especially the post about the guy with a driveway full of sprouting palm seeds. For my part, I planted so many seeds and thought I had all I was going to get of the sprouts that I recycled potting soil ... only to have date palms sprout in all sorts of places and next to all sorts of other things. I can't take a photo of a tropical seedling without it having a Phoenix Dactylifera showing up in the same pot.

The guy with the 65 gal. community pot has the right idea. I've known all along that Phoenix Dactylifera are deep rooting and I've known that root mass controls growth rates. Most of my palms are in soda bottle planters which are kind of deep, but not really, really deep. I've read of people using the card board tubes from gift wrap paper, etc. to get depth. So yes, I'm waiting on next spring to transfer my seedlings out to the grounds where they will be allowed to grow in place and go as deep as they want. Some of them now have three and four leaves, but they are slow going.

I have also heard from lurking on threads in this forum that excessive heat slows down palm growth. I don't know if that's true, but it might be if it dries things out.

If you want big Phoenix Dactylifera, get those seedlings into the ground soon and let them root deep.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 4:45AM
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andyandy(6bMI)

I have two that I germinated over the winter and I have been VERY pleased with their growth rate. They are both in pots that are about 4.5 inches deep. 1 has steadily grown faster than the other. The faster one is working on it's 4th frond and is about 10 inches tall. the other one is on it's third frond and is about 40% smaller. They get full sun from morning to evening and have really quickined their pace with all of the 90s and warm nights. I have them right next to my Royal seedlings and they are much quicker growers. At least in the seedling stage. My understanding is Royals speed up once they are older.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 10:10AM
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knnn

Here are the same CIDP seedlings a year later,

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 11:35AM
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andyandy(6bMI)

Bravo knnn bravo. I hope my true date palms grow just as fast.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 12:00PM
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cazieman

Posted by kudzu9 Zone 8b, WA (My Page) on Thu, Nov 24, 05 at 0:59

How hardy are date palm seedlings? I want to try growing from seed, but live in the Seattle area (Zone 8). If I get the seeds to germinate inside can they survive outside, or should I plan on bringing them in every winter? Usually it's above freezing all winter, but we will get 3-4 days where it could get as low as 15 degrees at night. Some palms, like Trachycarpus fortunei or T. takil, do great here outside.

i have a pheonis Phoenix canariensis (from a seedling from russia adapted cold hardy) growing here in seattle, it is slow growing but has over wintered 2 winters, and this willl be the 3rd with no protection, planted westward full day sun, but under a 60 yr old pine tree wich protects from snow fall/rain. if you wnat to try a similar pheonix or look alikes that are unknown to most novvists, try Pheonix theophrasti that is hardy to zone 7, it does well here in seattle. or try a parajubaea torallyi, it is related to the slow growing jubaea (chilian wine palm) but grows stunningly fast in comparisson. these are better looking pinate palms, giving a break from the abundant windmills.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 11:23PM
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richierich

In the middle east they do something to the seed or a process in planting the seed to assure a female date palm tree grows. Only female trees give fruit not male trees. What is this process? please email hydrobot2003@yahoo.com if you know Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 1:50PM
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el_palmero_hou_tx

I have canary island date seeds which I personally picked myself from a low tree. The fruit is light green going on yellow, which was connected on orange strings like grapes. Since I have so many, I wanted to germinate them as good as I can with the resources I have.

I got some top soil with compost and a bunch of little 6 slot trays for flowering seeds I suppose. Its hot as hell right now and Ive been sitting my seeds in water for 3 days.

Besides doing the whole ziplock back on top of the boiler deal, what should I be aware of when growing as I am to plant then in the slots and water them every night this summer. I do not care about rapid results, I just want to accomplish growth.

What Color should the seeds be when you plant them?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 11:08PM
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siegel2

This is a photo of the Medjool Date palm I grew from seed. Its at least 10 years old. It hasn't grown as much as it should have because it was in a pot for most of its life. I only planted it in my raised bed a few days ago.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 11:39PM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

you need seed from fruit that is mature. If the fruit was green, leave the seed in the fruit until they are ripe and then dry. Even then I hope you didn't pick them too early.
Once you have mature seed, they just need warm moist soil and time.
remember that there is a disease that will kill canary island palms, so please do not move them from county to county or state to state.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 7:00PM
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snorkyller_hotmail_com

There is a thin brown envelop that covers the seed. If you remove it without hurting the white seed within, the germination will be a lot faster : less than 2 months.

I did it but it's not easy. You must do it very carefully. I scratch it with a knife. You don't have to completely remove the brown layer. If you remove just a part of it, the germination will be quicker.

When you put a date seed into ground, the seed will doesn't be able to germinate until it has lost its brown envelop, which is a long process, and is the reason why it take so much time for a date seed to germinate.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 3:27PM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

Yes, a light etching of the layer can make some difference, but the biggest factor is having soil temp that is warm enough, and of course, enough moisture. In soil temp about 80f to 85f degrees, they will sprout much faster than 2 months, perhaps in 10 days.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 8:55PM
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greenleaf_organic(8, TX)

Wow, what a cool thread! For my 2 cents worth, I planted 2 Medjool seeds from fresh just eaten dates (just delicious those Medjools!) One grew and survived a San Antonio, TX winter in a pot on the patio with a couple of nights dipping into the mid teens. I have read that the Canary Island Date Palms like more water and handle the humidity a little better than the hot dry loving Medjools. My Canary Island in the ground in front got some frosted fronds but survived just fine otherwise. Those large date palms are really among the most beautiful trees. But alas, in this climate I think I need to go with the Pindo Palm if I want to taste fruit. I have one going in the ground real soon. Then all I have to do is wait...years...

Reminds me of a saying- You know that farming is really just legalized gambling! :)

Softmentor- You are definitely the date palm guy! Thanks for teaching us.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 12:50AM
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subtropix

Canary Island does a lot better in more humid/rainy conditions. I wish I could grow at least one specimen Medjool but they always seem to languish once the summer progresses. Canaries are also easy from seed--thus explaining why I have an oasis lined with now large (seed grown) containerized trees.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 1:02PM
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gmak1116_comcast_net

date seeds germinate in any type of soil. you could plant a seed immediately after eating the date fruit or after a year, makes no difference.place the seed in a planting pot under the sun. germinating will occur within a few weeks if watering is regularly applied.or, place the seeds in a paper towel and keep it moist until germinating occurs. then transplant into the ground or a planter.fully grown tree survive only in the ground if one is after the fruit.date trees are bisexual, i.e. there are male and femate trees. when mature, the trees generate pouches. male and female tossels appear, a male tossel from a male tree and female's from female tree. when the pouch breaks open polination must be done manually by hand, male tosseles are inserted in between the female's ( no kidding).for this sex seperation, date trees are considered very high in the evolution totem pole of the plant kingdom. one wouldn't know if the germinted seed is of either sex. it is chancy. one would know which is which only when the tree is mature and produce pouches and polinated. only the female produce fruit.off springs from these trees are normally produced when the tree is 4-5 years old. those that are coming at the ground edge will have roots, they are the most prefered mode of multiplicaion,because a female tree produce only female offspring, and a male produce only males.the best climate for successful tree that produce adible fruit is in arid climate, like arizona or south east california. there is a reason for that. fruit begins to mature in late summer and they require dry air without rain. rain spoils the fruit on the tree.that is why date trees are always associated with oasis in the arabian penensula and north africa. florida climate is not recommanded for growing date trees because its rainy season occurs in the summer, the hight of date fruit maturity. they grow into trees but not for commercial fruit endeavors.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 10:04AM
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helenj_wilson_xtra_co_nz

can you determine the sex of a medjool date palm before it flowers?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 9:15PM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

no, afraid not. have to wait. and it won't be a Medjool. Even if it is a female, it's fruit will be different. Seedlings show wide variance in fruit, and are not even close to true to type.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 3:12PM
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megan_anne(TX U.S. z8a)

Sorry for bumping this old thread, but I ran across it when I was looking for tips on growing date palms. I'm not concerned with getting fruit; if I do, and it happens to be "quality" eating fruit-- whee! That's a bonus! I just wanted to try planting a few pits just to see what would come up. So, I planted 7 pits and 6 have sprouted so far. By that, I mean that the first seed leaves are emerging and are now about an inch tall on the biggest ones, and growing noticeably every day. I soaked the seeds for 2 days, then placed them in medium in a baggie on my water heater for about 10 days. But, I tend to be forgetful so I moved then to pots on a warm sunny windowsill where I would see them and not forget them. I just kept the soil moist to the touch but not soggy, and now 6 have the green shoot. It took about 6 weeks or so to get this far, but they look vigorous as far as I can tell. It's heading into the late spring and rather warm days (almost 90 now) so I think they can go out to the patio for morning sun/afternoon filtered light. As long as I keep them just moist to touch-- not soggy, not parched-- I'm hoping that they'll continue to grow into a cool looking conversation piece to keep my pineapple plant company (also started from grocery store fruit for the fun of it, more than the actual fruit). That pineapple plant is a cool looking plant, BTW, and it was basically "free", other than the 99 cents that I spent for the pineapple that I ate to get the top as an afterthought experiment! Most of my cool plants are freebies that I grew from 'found' seeds or from fruit that I bought at the store, or from pinchings or volunteer seedlings of things that I found on a bike ride or a walk, or that I got from or traded with someone else -- I'm just a cheap bastage, LOL!!

These pits? From a snack of dates that I bought from a bin at the organic grocer when I was on a bike ride... "Hmmm, I wonder if I can plant these pits?" Answer: "Yes!"

Hopefully, I'll have some pretty palm plants in a few years. :)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 2:48AM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

wonderful to see your success! Thank you for letting us know.
Arthur the date palm guy

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 3:46PM
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DatePalm108

Date Palm should come from tissue culture, grow up ate the age 3-4 years.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 11:55PM
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subtropix

The Canary Island Date, in my experience, is much easier to grow from seed.

I look around, and all my big trees from pits are P. canariensis. I am currently trying some P. dactlyifera but expect to see slower results.

Here is a link that might be useful: P. canariensis

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 6:49PM
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bradleyo_gw

Where is Andy Andy anyway? He disappeared long ago, much like the Virginian who just reappeared today and already the fights resume! I have found that dates germinate very easily from seed and actually grow quite big quite quickly! The root system that it develops in such a short period of time is incredible. I couldn't keep up with the one I grew. The root system was bigger than the plant, I couldn't give it enough light with everything I have to overwinter, and ended up giving it to Jane on the big board when we went to lunch with her and Hank when I was in Florida several years ago. She hasn't posted any updates so I'm sure she didn't even bother with it. They are dime a dozen there and my plant was so small to mess with.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 7:02PM
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u2dan

Hi all! I bought some dates in a grocery store, just ordinary dried dates, used them and then wrapped the seeds in damp paper towels and put them in a plastic ziploc baggie. I think it took about a month, but they shot out a long white root looking thing from the middle. I put the seeds in a pot of soil, the white root found its way into the soil and stayed there for about another month. Mind you, I kept the sprouted seed covered in the pot with plastic wrap to keep in heat and moisture. Just a few days ago I discovered a green shoot coming out of the white root! It's so interesting to see how these grow, but they do grow very slowly.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 1:32PM
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justinr(8b)

Halawi date palms are grown for fruit in areas of Bahrain and Iran with 90% humidity successfully.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2014 at 10:25PM
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justinr(8b)

So far my seedlings are first year, but we will probably sell some Halawis that we didn't have room to plant. They are probably the first in our Gulf state.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2014 at 10:38PM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

Justinr, You are right. To be more precise, some varieties will do ok with humidity. Others (like Abada and Deglet Noor) for instance) will get "checking" which is cracking of the skin, but that is cosmetic and the dates are still good to eat. Others will simply mold, sour and rot with high humidity (Samany, Hayani, Medjool, Khadrawi, Barhi, Honey to name a few)
but none do well when it rains while the fruit is turning ripe. Florida and to a lesser extent, the gulf states, have a LOT of rain during the ripening season (August through December or even later, depending on variety and how much heat you have)
Remember it takes a LOT of heat to ripen the fruit, even from Halawi which is an early variety. Halawi ripens the last week of August here in Indio CA, usually 3 weeks later in Phoenix where it is hot but not as hot as here. As a general rule, they need 100 days over 100 degrees to ripen. If less than that, they will either ripen much later or not at all.
Also note, the seedlings that you started from Halawi seed will NOT be another Halawi. As has already been stated in this thread, half will be male, and the other half will be female but the fruit will not be like a Halawi.
I do wish you luck
Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2015 at 11:45AM
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