How to Grow Medjool Dates From Seed

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Dried Medjool dates are tasty.

Things You'll Need

  • Medjool date seed/pit

  • Bucket

  • Deep nursery pot

  • Potting soil

  • Peat moss

Medjool is a cultivar of the date palm tree, known botanically as Phoenix dactylifera, that produce large, soft flesh and sweet fruits. Native to parts of the Middle East such as Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, this plant thrives best in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 11. Medjool dates are now one of the world's most popular dates for fresh and dried eating.

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As with other palm species, Medjool trees can be grown from seed, but the trees will be slow to develop and the gender, and thus fruiting capacity, of the resulting tree will not be known for many years. For these reasons, date palms are typically propagated by cuttings. If you have the time and are as interested in the process of growing Medjool date palms from seed as you are in the result, it is easy enough to do.

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Step 1: Acquire Medjool Date Palm Seeds

Purchase fresh, unblemished Medjool dates from your local grocery, ethnic or health food store. Make sure the dates have not been pitted.

Step 2: Prepare the Date Seeds

Use a clean, sharp knife to strip the fruit flesh from the Medjool date palm seeds. Wash the stripped seeds under cool running water to remove all fruit particles.

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Step 3: Soak the Seeds

Soak the Medjool date seeds in a bowl or bucket of cool, clean water for at least 48 hours. Change the water for fresh each day and keep the seeds submerged. Discard any seeds that float to the surface as they are not viable.

Step 4: Prepare the Planting Pot

Fill a nursery pot that is at least 6 inches deep with a mixture of fresh sterile potting mix and peat moss. You want the planting medium to hold some water, as the seeds need to be kept moist at all times.

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Step 5: Plant the Seed in the Pot

Bury the seed in the soil at a depth equal to its diameter. Hence, a 3/4-inch diameter seed would be buried 3/4 inch down in the soil. Press the soil down gently over and around the seed to ensure good seed to soil contact.

Step 6: Water the Pot

Water the nursery pot until the soil is soaked with water and the excess water drains from the weeping holes at the bottom of the pot. Water the seed pot frequently enough to keep it moist at all times, never allowing even the surface of the soil to dry out. The seed will not germinate in dry soil. Maintain these wet conditions until the seed germinates.

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Step 7: Give the Pot Adequate Light Outdoors

Place the seed pot in a sunny or partly shady location outdoors. If you will struggle to check the soil moisture daily or every other day, shade may be a better option for you.

Step 8: Wait for the Medjool Date Palm to Grow

Allow about 6 to 8 weeks or more for the date seed to germinate and develop one or more green shoots. Allow up 5 years for your date palm to reach maturity. If it is a female tree, it will begin to bear Medjool date fruits of its own.

Tip

Plant many more seeds than you want resulting date palms. Germination failure rates for date palm seeds can be as high as 50 percent.

You will need both a male and a female plant for pollination if you wish to grow your own Medjool dates.

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