Coconut Palm Tree
The Coconut Palm Tree, scientific name Cocos nucifera, is one of the most popular palms in the world because of its fruits “coconuts”. Coconut oil is used for cooking and in a wide range of beauty products. The Coconut Palms may live as long as 100 years, producing fruits till 80 years of age.
Coconut Palm Tree Info
Scientific name:Cocos nucifera
Common names: It is also known as Malayan Coconut Palm, Coconut Palm, Green Malayan Palm.
Origin: It is native to the Malay Archipelago or the South Pacific.
Appearance: Cocos nucifera has a smooth single gray trunk that is ringed with old leaf scars. Mature palms become smooth with age. The trunk is a little swollen at the base and is usually slightly curved.
It is topped with a crown of 25 – 30 pinnate, or feather-shaped leaves that can grow up to 18 feet long and 6 feet wide. Leaves are large, about 18ft long and 6ft wide, with 200 leaflets 2ft long. The life span of the leaf may be 2.5 – 3 years, and mature, healthy palms form a new one and drop the oldest one each month.
Flowers/Fruits: When about 4-6 years of age, during spring the Coconut Palm starts producing sweet-scented yellow flowers. Flowers grow in clusters and are held by slightly branched stalks. Male and female flowers grow on the same inflorescence. They are generally protandrous, and male flowers release pollen before females become receptive.
Flowers are followed by fruits called “coconuts”. Coconut is one of the most recognizable and most useful fruits in the world. They range in color from green to yellow, or bronze-gold, to brown depending on maturity and variety. Fruits are oval, 3-angled, 12 inches long, and 10 inches wide, with a single seed inside. There is a nut inside of the fruit, filled with a layer of white coconut “meat” and sweet watery milk. Coconut Palm seeds are one of the largest of any plant. After maturing, it takes a full year for the coconut to ripen.
Fruits start developing when the plant is around 6-10 years old. Coconut Palm bears fruits all year long with an annual production of around 50-200 coconuts per palm tree, depending on growing conditions and palm variety.
Growth Rate: Moderate. In its native habitat the Coconut Palm grows up to 100 ft, but usually is around 20-30 ft tall and 5-10 ft wide in cultivation.
Outdoor/Indoor Use: Both.
Cold Tolerance: Coconut Palm likes a warm climate and cannot tolerate temperatures below 20F without getting injured. It is great for growing in USDA Zones 9a (20 to 25 F) to 11 (above 40 F).
Light Req: Partial shade to full sun.
Water Req: It grows best in moist well-drained soil but can tolerate drought. The average temperature should be around 72F with a lot of rainfalls.
Maintenance: Easy. In addition to its attractive look, this unique palm offers low to moderate maintenance. To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during the growing season.
Insects and Diseases: “Lethal yellowing” is the most dangerous disease for Coconut Palm, that is caused by a tiny organism called phytoplasma. Early indications are premature dropping of coconuts and blackening of flower stalks.
You will also notice leaves turning yellow, starting with the lower ones and moving to the crown. Coconut Palm usually doesn’t live more than 6 months after showing first evidence of the disease.
This Palm might experience difficulties with a few including spider mites, scale, palm aphid, and mealybugs.
Propagation: Propagated by seeds. It takes many months for germination to take place. The recommended temperature for faster germination is around 90-100F.
When Coconut seed germinates it breaks through one of the three germinating holes that you can see on one side of the fruit.
Wait till the plant is 6 months old before transplanting it to the pot or into the yard. You can plant this palm any time during the year, but for the best result, I recommend doing it during warm rainy summer months.
Since Coconut Palms like sandy soil add 40% sand to the mix and if you transplant it in the pot add some rocks to the bottom for better drainage. Water right away after planting and apply mulch to help retain soil moisture and protect from weed growth. Keep the soil lightly moist.