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Seed propagation 

In date palm-growing regions, palms are never grown from seed. The many seedling palms that exist are the result of a seed carelessly thrown near some irrigating ditch where the ground was moist enough for it to germinate.

Fruit and seed

Propagation by seed is sexual propagation, and is good for inbreeding studies but not for commercial plantation. The seeds do not reproduce the characters of the parents, and on the average 50% of the seedling will be males, only a small number of which are needed.

In order to determine the sex of a plant, the flowers must be seen. Many of the palms will flower within a few years, until they flower and are sexed, the propagation by seeds cannot be recommended for commercial plantation. No one would think of trying to establish an orchard of oranges or apples from seed, and the principles involved in the case of the date palm are similar.

Morphology of date palm fruit

However, in date palm-growing countries, the growing of seedling palms is worthwhile for many people who do not want to enter commercial production, but who want a few palms around their own homes for ornament and/or to serve as a windbreak, or furnish a domestic supply of fruit.

Seed morphology

Seedlings have much variation within progeny in regard to quality, and production of undesired males. The grower who wants to establish a commercial plantation has no other recourse than to plant offshoots.


To those who want to grow date palms by seeds, shallow boxes offer a convenient method of beginning. The seeds must be cleaned by soaking in water for a week, and then sorted by rejecting all small and imperfect ones. The seeds should be planted at 2-5 cm (about 1-2 inches) deep, and 8-10 cm (about 3-4 inches) apart. When transplanting, the leaves should be cut back to within a few inches of the ground, and then the plant should be taken up with as large a ball of moist earth around its roots as possible.

Part of a date palm seedling

In an open field, a hole is made in the earth with a broomstick; the seed is dropped in and covered with soil, then tamped down by the foot. It is usual to plant seedlings 8 m (about 26 feet) apart in the row, and to place the rows at any convenient distance apart 8 m (about 26 feet).

The soil must be kept continuously moist; germination will take place within a few weeks.

The seeds can be planted in sand or any ordinary soil, and can be successfully planted from September to March.

More information about Seed propagation 

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Last modified: 1/1/ 2007