It is easy to spot date palms (botanical name – Phoenix dactylifera) in the warm zones in America. Date palms are a part of the Arecaceae genus and yield pitted, sweet fruits known as dates.
This fruit has long been cultivated since ancient times and holds significant importance in the Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, subtropical, and tropical regions. They are native to Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.
However, today, you can find them thriving in Arizona, California, Florida, Mexico, and the Canary Islands. Proper care of date palm is imperative for its growth. Hence, you must understand the zone and the cultivator choice before plantation.
Date palms are unique because some plants will be male, and others will be females. So, they do not self-pollinate. Hence, hand-pollination is needed for them to bear the fruit.
Our primary attempt is to help you with a thorough date palm tree care through this guide. So, now, let us get started and address proper date palm plant care.
Date palms are slow-growing. Hence, you have to be quite patient when you decide on growing date palms. Germination, in itself, is a months-long task. Fruits start developing in four to five years, and the plant reaches its full-bearing stage in 10-15 years, yielding 40-80 kg or more.
Related: How fast do palm trees grow?
To understand the date palm tree care, you must also know how to grow palms right. If you make mistakes in the growing stage, you cannot expect your plant to thrive. Typically, the fall or the spring are believed to be the best time to plant your date palms.
Ideally, for the date palms to thrive in any landscape or even in your backyard or garden, you will have to expose them to warmer-climatic conditions, typically over 20°F.
Further, since the date palms do not self-pollinate, pollination should be induced manually at around 95°F. Essentially, it is easier for the plant to grow when the nights are warm and the days are sunny and dry.
Below, we will briefly explain the tips to grow date palm at your home, in your garden or backyard. These are the stepping stones to learn how to care for date palms once you have planted them
1. Start with the species selection – First things first, decide the type of date palm you can easily grow in your geographical location, available soil, and temperature. Also, understanding the date palm tree care for different varieties will be variable. So, take your pick wisely.
2. Start looking for the seeds to grow.
3. Prepare the seed – Wash the seeds well to remove any fruit from them. Immerse all your seeds in water, and let them sit for the next two days. After a day, check your seeds, and transplant them in the freshwater.
4. Get rid of bad seeds floating on top.
5. Germination – Before plantation into the soil, seeds are germinated. You can take a moist paper towel and wrap it on any date palm seed. Next, pick an airtight paper bag, and seal it. Following this, look for a quiet, dark, and warm place, and place this bag for 45-60 days. In this duration, you must check on the seeds every two weeks to ensure that the seeds are germinating. If any mold develops on the towel, you must shift the contents in a new towel.
6. Planting – After the seeds sprout, you can pot them. Pick any robust mid-sized pot, and add soil with good drainage. You can fill to the mid-level. Now, go ahead, and plant the date palm seeds in the soil, one at a time. The sprouted part must be on the top, and the seed should be an inch below the soil.
Now, be patient, and let your date palm grow. But, for the palm to thrive, you must know how to care for phoenix palms. So, in the next section, we will provide you with tips for the proper care of date palm.
When a newbie hobbyist or even an experienced gardener asks us how to care for date palms, our answer is simple; it depends on the date palm variety chosen by you. However, some date palm plant care is standard to most types or at least the popular ones available. So, before your date palm yields fruit, you cannot lag in your care.
Please understand, regardless of how well the support and irrigation systems are, there are other factors necessary for proper date palm tree care. So, now, let us understand how to take care of dates tree.
How to care for phoenix palms? First, give them a suitable feed. One of the best fertilizers for date palms is manure. You can feed it to your plant in early spring. However, an exquisite date-palm-specific fertilizer is needed for the plant to thrive.
But, before buying the fertilizer, it is vital to get your soil tested. This will help you know all the nutrients your plant needs that your soil is deficient in.
Hence, you can pick a palm fertilizer accordingly to counter these shortcomings, but typically, the fertilizer must be potassium-dense for the correct date palm plant care.
If you wish to learn the right drill on how to take care of dates tree, you cannot ignore this step.
Further, it is recommended to put fertilizer in the late winter. This can give it ample time to prepare for fruit-bearing in the summer. Some people prefer to use a slow-release fertilizer on their date palms two times a year.
As has been established multiple times in this guide, almost every variety of date palms love the sun. Of course, little shade is tolerable, but sunny, warm weather is the favorite of your date palms.
Hence, you need to place your palm in the area that receives full sun. If yours is an indoor date, you can place it outside, anytime it is warm and sunny.
Giving the date palms a well-draining soil is imperative for proper date palm tree care. The plant likes dry soil. It can also grow in sandy or salty soil, but moist soil can curtail its growth. But, you must routinely monitor the soil to ensure that it does not feel scorched. If the soil’s first two inches feel dry, pour in some water.
Date palms enjoy sunny conditions. More so, for pollination, they require 95 degrees Fahrenheit temperature. The plant enjoys hot weather, and it does not like the rain. More so, when the humidity is high, rotting may occur. The plants are opposed to excessive cold. When the temperature severely drops, it tends to damage the leaves. If the cold continues for long, it can kill the tree.
Knowing how much water your palm needs is also a vital factor in proper date palm care. Typically, date palms are drought-tolerant, and their water requirements are barely minimum once they have been established.
When the plant is new, its water requirements are pretty high. But, while the plant is in its fruiting or flowering season, it demands water, else it may fail to produce a good crop.
Also, ensure that the water does not accumulate to rot the roots. As a general rule of thumb, you can water once every month during winters and double the frequency in summer.
Ensure that the turf and weeds are away from the base, and wherein harvest is possible, thin the food by ½ an inch. It adds to the fruit’s size, and you are certain to see the crop the following year. How to take care of dates tree fruits? You can tie the ripening clusters to the plant’s adjacent plant and cover it with a net to ensure that birds do not harm the fruits.
Unfortunately, the date palms are vulnerable to pests, such as daclyliperda, Coccotrypes, and nitidulids. Therefore, anytime you spot them growing, spray insecticides on them. Also, benomyl, a prevalent fungicide, must be sprayed every month. This is a quintessential step in date palm tree care.
Choose the plant around the palm correctly. You must have a combination of trees and plants that can share the soil and space without harming each other.
For proper date palm plant care, pruning is also vital. First, you can prune the extra growth at the bottom, and it shall be done once a year. This is necessary to ensure multiple trunks do not grow. You can also trim down the brown leaves every 2 months. Be careful and use protective gear while pruning, else you’ll harm yourself.
If the palm outgrows the pot it is in; you will have to repot it. However, proper care of date palm is vital during repotting to ensure you do not damage the root structure.
Hopefully, all our tips above solve your query on how to care for date palms.
To harvest date palms, follow the steps below:
For storing, you can keep them at room temperature for days at length, but as they sit, they may ripen further. You can also refrigerate them for months. This will ensure they retain their taste well.
Ans. Along with time and proper date palm plant care, you will need even more incredible patience if you desire fruits from your dates. Typically, fruits start showing between four to eight years.
Ans. Usually, the date palms can take about 4-8 years before producing fruits. However, they need at least seven to ten years to yield a commercial-level harvest.
Ans. Yes, date palms can grow well indoors if you give them ample sun.
Ans. The care requirements for an indoor date palm is listed below:
Ans. Only once the females start producing fruits at the age of five after pollination you can conveniently distinguish the males from the females.
Ans. A date palm can live for as long as 150 years.
Ans. Follow proper date palm tree care tips which includes everything from sunlight requirements to watering needs, fertilization, and proper soil. With ideal growing conditions your date palm can grow faster.
Ans. Yes, when the leaves turn brown or yellow, you can chop them off from the tree to promote fresh green growth.