How to Sprout a Coconut

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You've seen them in the produce section: big, brown hairy coconuts. It's hard to believe coconuts are seeds, but they are. You can plant one to grow into your own coconut palm tree if you just know what to do. Follow these instructions to sprout a coconut.

  • Pick out a coconut from the grocery store or a produce market. The coconut should be brown and hairy and you should be able to hear the liquid slosh in it when you shake it. Soak the coconut in water for 2 to 3 days before planting.

  • Get a bucket, one large enough that you can put in at least 10 inches of soil. Put holes in the bottom of the bucket to ensure adequate drainage. Put a layer of gravel in the bottom of the bucket to also help with drainage. Place the bucket in a very warm place that gets a lot of sunshine.

  • Plant the coconut with about 2/3 of the nut covered in soil and the top 1/3 above the surface of the soil. Water the coconut frequently. It will take at least 4 months, and possibly up to 6 months, for the coconut to sprout. There is no reason to fertilize your coconut for the first 6 months. During that time, it lives off of the nutrients within the coconut itself.

  • Transplant the coconut into the ground after about 4 to 5 years. At about 4 years, it will begin developing a trunk, and within 6 years it will have its first flowers. At full maturity, a coconut tree can produce up to 200 coconuts in a single year.

Tips & Warnings

  • Young coconut palms are very sensitive to cold weather. Bring it indoors if the high temperature falls below 80 degrees F. A coconut cannot live in temperatures below freezing. Any freeze will damage and possibly kill it.

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