How to Plant a Coconut Tree

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Tropical shorelines are the natural habitat of the coconut tree (Cocos nucifera), and successfully planting this tree involves creating similar growing conditions. In gardens, a coconut tree grows best in a sunny spot and freely draining soil. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12, a coconut tree grows 50 to 100 feet tall and its canopy grows 20 to 40 feet wide, so select an area of the garden with plenty of growing room.

Soil

A coconut tree tolerates most soil types, providing the drainage is very good. The soil can be acidic or alkaline, with a pH between 5.0 and 8.0, and a coconut tree also tolerates coastal, saline soil. In heavy clay and other poorly drained soil, the tree does not survive. In areas that can become waterlogged, grow a coconut tree in a raised bed 3 to 4 feet tall and wide. There's no need to amend the soil when planting a coconut tree.

Tip

  • Warm, rainy weather is best for planting a coconut tree, though this tree can be planted at any time of year.

Planting

  1. Dig a planting hole for a coconut tree about as deep as the tree's root ball and twice as wide. 
  2. Remove the container or wrapping from the tree, and place it in the hole. The top of the root system of a container-grown coconut tree should sit 1 inch below the soil surface. A bare root tree should sit at its original growing depth. Add or remove soil at the base of the hole to achieve the correct level.
  3. Scoop dug soil into the hole to fill in the gaps, while holding the tree upright.
  4. Firm the soil with your hands when the hole is full.
  5. Water the tree until the soil is moist to the depth of the planting hole.

Watering

A coconut tree needs regular watering, especially in its first year. During dry weather, apply 1 inch of water per week to a newly planted tree for the first growing season. An established tree tolerates drought, but grows best and produces the most fruit when it receives 1 inch of water per week, through watering or rainfall.

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