How is the cultivation of dates?

The date palm is a plant that produces dates

Dates are the fruits of a beautiful palm tree that is easy to care for: the Phoenix dactylifera. That name may not tell you much, but it will surely sound a lot to you if I tell you that it is the date market. Although it is not the only one that produces edible fruits, it is the most popular in the Old Continent.

Would you like to have a specimen in your garden or orchard? I anticipate that growing dates is very, very simple, since the seeds have a high germination rate (that is, they tend to germinate practically all). You dare?

Everything you need to know about planting dates

Dates are grown in the summer or fall

La date palm produces an enormous amount of fruit every year. They are grouped in branched clusters, which appear as soon as the ovules of the flowers are fertilized, often when it is also producing new flowers. This happens during the spring; Y in late summer / fall the dates finish ripening.

For this reason, it is possible to take advantage of -and in fact it is the most recommendable- to sow them in that season, as soon as they have finished their maturation process. If you have a date palm, there is a trick that does not fail and is to harvest them when some fall to the ground. But be careful: it is better to catch them from the palm tree, because those that fall in a few days end up becoming food for insects.

What do you need to germinate dates?

If you want to get a date box without having to buy the plant, It will be enough that you get a few dates and do this that I am going to tell you now so that in a few weeks the seeds germinate:

  • Hotbed: it can be a pot of about 10cm in diameter (on sale No products found.), a forest tray, milk containers (clean), or the like.
  • Substratum: universal cultivation (for sale here!), specific for seedbeds (for sale here!), vermiculite (for sale here!), mulch (for sale here!), or else mix peat with 30% perlite (on sale here!) or pumice (for sale here!).
  • Watering can with artichoke: it does not have to be large; one of 1 or 2 liters is enough (for sale here!), unless you are going to use it to water more plants, in which case I recommend the 5 liter one (the ones with the largest capacity, once full, weigh a lot; and in fact if you don't have much strength in your arms, like me , and you have to water a lot of pots, you notice).
  • Label with the name and the planting date: It is important, as well as interesting, to know how long they take to germinate, and also to know the exact age of the palm trees.
  • Dates: if possible bought in an organic food store or taken from the palm tree.
  • Let it be spring or summer: they need heat to germinate.

What is the step by step?

Date beds must have drainage holes

Image - Flickr / Ada Czerwonogora

Once you have it all it will be time to follow this step by step:

  1. The first thing you have to do is fill the pot with substrate.
  2. Then, water so that it is well soaked.
  3. Then, clean the dates well. Remove the shell and, with a scouring pad, remove the remains that have remained attached to the seeds.
  4. Next, place a maximum of two seeds in the pot and cover them with a thin layer of substrate.
  5. Finally, insert the label and put the pot outside, in full sun.

How long does it take for a date seed to germinate?

As long as the substrate is always moist (but not waterlogged) seeds will germinate in 1-2 months. However, the time will vary depending on the season of the year in which they have been sown, and whether they are fresh (that is, they have been taken from the palm tree no more than two months ago) or not.

And so and everything, even if they are fresh, it does not give you any guarantee. Undoubtedly it is much easier to get a date from a freshly picked seed than from a seed from the previous year, but to give you an idea: I took a ripe date in the fall of 2019, I planted it, and it did not germinate until the spring of 2020. Other times you also take them in the fall and in two or three weeks they start to come out.

Equally, I advise to be patient. If the seeds are fine, and if they sink into a glass of water on the first day, sure, or almost certainly, they will germinate.

What plant gives dates?

The plants that give dates are the Phoenix

Phoenix canariensis (left) and Phoenix dactylifera

The plant that produces edible dates is the phoenix dacylifera, also known as date or phoenix. It is a palm tree that normally has several trunks, but sometimes it only has one. These are thin, about 30 centimeters thick, which is why the plant is grown both in orchards and gardens. The height it reaches is 30 meters, although when it has several trunks it is usually much lower.

Its leaves are pinnate, with bluish-green pinnae or leaflets., a characteristic that differentiates it from the Canary Island palm (Phoenix canariensis), which has green leaves on both sides, as well as a thicker trunk. On the other hand, like the vast majority of Phoenix It has sharp thorns on the rachis (it is the stem from which the leaflets sprout, which is attached to the trunk).

The date palm is a palm tree that does not need much care: only a sunny place from a young age, a land that drains water well, and heat although it can withstand frosts down to -4ºC. Once established in the ground, it resists drought well; so that the risks may become occasional.

Anyway, You should know that there are other palm trees that produce edible fruits called dates, like the same canary palm tree, or the Senegal palm tree (Phoenix reclines), although the taste is said to be not that good.

I hope you enjoy watching them grow. Good planting!

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  1.   Santana said

    Hi friends !
    I am germinating some date seeds but I have a question. Almost all the seeds have germinated, measuring 4 and 5 cm long. The question: I want to transplant them and I don't know how to place them since there are some roots that have embraced the seed. How should I place it since some have the root pointed up? With the point always up or down? Once they germinate in the pot, should I cover them with a nylon? Thank you so much. Hector

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Hecor.

      I'll tell you: the seeds of palm trees, when they germinate, the first thing they do is to take out a first root, which is white or yellowish-white depending on the variety. Shortly after, the sprout emerges that will end up becoming the first leaf (very similar in appearance to the grass on the lawn, by the way), but at the beginning of everything it is of a color similar to that of the root.

      For this reason, the ideal seed is to always be sown lying on the ground, with the side that has the middle stripe up. Anyway, if it gets a little crooked, nothing happens, because the root will grow downwards.

      They do not need to be protected or covered; You just have to ensure that the seeds are buried maximum 1cm from the surface of the pot's soil.

      If you have any further questions, contact us.


    2.    Alfonso Salgado said

      Where and how can I get the date seed?

      1.    Monica Sanchez said

        Hi Alfonso.

        You can get dates in supermarkets (make sure they are organic, as this will germinate more and better), or on Internet sites like eBay.


  2.   Josmar Strano said

    Excellent information. Thanks and Blessings from Uruguay.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Thanks to you, Josmar.

  3.   Dennis Mgeni said

    1. In what climate does the plant thrive?
    2. Can dates thrive in parts of Africa?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Dennis.

      I answer your questions:

      1.- This palm loves heat, so it thrives in hot climates. But when it is young it is convenient to water it several times a week.
      2. - Yes, in fact, palm trees can be found in the wild in North Africa.