The Best Date Palm Species And Varieties (Phoenix Palm)
One of humankind’s most popular cultivated plants, the date is hugely popular for its elegant foliage and delicious fruit. As a matter of fact, the oldest ever seed from date palm sprouted in Israel.
Quite many phoenix palm varieties are several hundreds of centuries old. Almost every variety of the date palm yield edible fruits has feather-like leaves and a spine that grows along the stem.
Scientifically known as the phoenix dactylifera, it is one of the most versatile plants that can elevate the look of any landscape. There are several different date palm varieties, and in this guide below, we will discuss the different types of date palm trees.
- Popular Phoenix Palm Species
- Care & Growing Tips For Date Palms
- Date Palm Growing Guide
- Date Palm Care Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Date Palm Variety For Your Garden
Below, we will discuss eight-date palm species one by one in no particular order of preference.
Banshee Date Palm
Banshee or Barhi is derived from Arabic and means a hot wind. Also known as Honey Date Palm because of its taste, which is quite similar to the soft melting caramel or honey, the Barhee Date is one of the most delicious palm varieties.
These types of date palm are perennial tree predominantly used as an ornamental trental plant. These date palm varieties can grow in the tropical, subtropical, desert, or Mediterranean climate in hardiness zones 8b to 12.
Depending on the degree of ripeness, these date palm species offer varying sweetness. These phoenix palm varieties have unique edibility in all three phases of its ripeness, which goes from tasting like a fresh sugar cane (semi-ripe or Khalal) to coconut (fully ripe or rutab), and finally, like butterscotch (dried wrinkled or tamr).
In the semi-ripe stage, the date has a yellowish-golden hue and a crunchy apple-like texture with mild astringency and mild sweetness. When it ripens, it becomes brownish and becomes sweeter.
Typically, people like eating this best date palm variety in its fresh stage and rarely in the wrinkled or dried stage.
Deglet Noor Date Palm
Deglet Noor date palm literally translates to the Date Palm of Light. It is one of the most commercially important and widely planted date palm varieties in the US.
It is also one of the select types of date palm, which originated in the 1600s in Algeria. They have a relatively greater feather-like appeal, courtesy of their dense frond canopy. These grow to 40-50′ tall.
Many people even refer to these phoenix palm species as one of its sub-types – Medjool Palm, and you can find a plethora of different variants in this best date palm variety.
These date palm species are hugely popular in California, where about seventy percent of the total date production is of this category. These date palms are beautiful, tropical-looking plants, which can be an excellent value addition in any landscape or home office.
Zahidi Date Palm
Zahidi is one of the most popular types of date palm and is typically utilized in just about every application. They have a thick trunk caliper, a dense green canopy of leaves, and a vertical appearance.
You can see them as freestanding, in rows that envelope the avenues, or in a group of many. Usually, they grow quite tall, especially in desert areas.
However, these phoenix palm varieties are relatively slow-growing, and the humid weather conditions only slow the growth. It is one of those date palm varieties, which grow a foot taller every 2-4 years.
Medjool Dates Trees
Medjool is one of the varieties with a thick canopy. Also known as the feather palm, it is native to Morocco’s Atlantic Coast, where it is even reserved for royalty.
It has a good frond count, giving the palm a beautiful, lush experience. It is the best date palm variety with wide leaves and is even superior to the other variants, primarily when utilized in tropical or sub-tropical climates. They can grow tall up to 60′.
In these date palm species, the truly edible ones are the desert plants, which belong originally to the Middle East. Unfortunately, this variety is not seen in good numbers in areas with heavy rainfall.
However, the people in Arizona and California grow these types of date palm widely for its fruit. Surprisingly, these are also the most expensive dates. This is because they are labor-intensive phoenix palm species. Hence, it takes time for them to harvest and grow, and the fruit is very sweet, soft, and large.
Halawi Date Palm
Next is one of the favorite phoenix palm varieties of several date enthusiasts – Halawai Date Palm. It is derived from the Arabic word, which means very sweet.
These date palm varieties are medium-sized and have blonde-colored, buttery skin, elongated, thin and oval-shaped appearance. Their texture and appearance are quite similar to the Deglet Noor.
Consequently, they melt quickly on the tongue, leaving you with a sweet taste quite similar to caramel. Given its nutritional content, it is the best date palm variety. It is a rich dietary fiber source and has flavonoids, B-vitamins, potassium, amino acids, and antioxidants.
In addition, because of its lower than average sugar content, it is a good pick for people with a sweet sensitivity, craving for something deliciously sweet.
These date palm species originally belonged to the farms and desserts in Iraq, formerly known as the Ottoman Empire.
Ajwa Date Palm
Next is one of the most delicious phoenix palm varieties, which is famous as a global superfood. Even though there are over 600 different types of date palm trees, there is none like Ajwa. It is exquisitely grown in Medina, Saudi Arabia.
Its sweet fruit has a good nutritional value and contains fiber, essential vitamins and minerals. Ajwa is also one of the varieties of dates medical experts widely recommend, given its heavy health benefits, both for the mind and the body.
Its fruit is good for heart health. Moreover, as it is an excellent phosphorous and calcium source, Ajwa strengthens the bones and the teeth.
In addition, since these date palm species have good natural sugar (sucrose, fructose, and glucose), they are one of the top picks for people with diabetes.
It will elevate your energy levels instantly, without spiking your blood sugar levels. Moreover, it strengthens the immune system and is also an exceptional pick for pregnant women.
There are many ways to consume these famous date palm varieties. You can eat them fresh as and how picked from the trees or preserve and dry them. You can find them in various shades going from dark brown to black.
Safawi dates are one of those date palm species available all around the year. Botanically referred to as the Phoenix dactylifera, they are cylindrical, medium-sized dates, which have a cherry, dark black color, with shades of brown.
It is sweet, semi-dry, and is quite chewy and soft. They are famous for their refreshing sweetness, luscious texture, and soft feel.
These types of date palms are native to Saudi Arabia’s Madinah region. Many people believe that eating Safawi dates empty stomach tends to kill the worms in your stomach.
Beyond that, given its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, several other health benefits are associated with these date palm varieties.
Thus, it is no surprise that they have been actively used medicinally for over a century. These date palm species improves your immunity, prevents anemia, betters digestion, and helps boost breast milk production for lactating mothers. Moreover, it also better bone health and helps with childbirth.
Pygmy Date Palms (Bonus – Indoor)
If you wish to include one of the phoenix palm species in your home or garden, your go-to pick is the Pygmy date palms. It is one of the low-maintenance palms, which can grow and thrive well both indoors and outdoors. However, to keep its growth manageable, regular pruning is a must.
Care Growing Tips For Phoenix Palm Varieties
Now that we have discussed different date palm varieties, we will discuss general palm care tips and growing guide.
Date Palm Species Growing Guide
The majority types of date palm production happens in the United States in Arizona and Southern California. Florida has many date palms, too, but unfortunately, the dates tend to grow in the rainy season. Consequently, they are unable to mature.
For growing different phoenix palm species in your garden or landscape, you will need:
- Pollination at thirty-five degrees
- Temperature above twenty degrees
Typically, the date palm thrives in a hot, dry temperature, where nights are warm.
If you wish to grow date palm varieties in your home, you will have to follow the below-listed method:
- Decide which date palm you wish to grow – There are different types of date palm trees. So, before you get started, you need to decide which variety will best thrive in the climate that you can provide your date palm.
- Find the seeds – After discovering the best date palm variety for your home, it is time to get the seeds. You can easily find them at a grocery store near you. Make sure the seeds are fresh and the dates have not been pitted to achieve a healthy fruit bearing date.Then, wash the seeds thoroughly. After this, the seeds have to be soaked for two days in a bowl full of cold water. Change the water after 24 hours. In this process, you will see some seeds floating at the top. Please get rid of them, and use the rest.
- Seed germination – Before installing the seeds into the soil, you have to germinate them regardless of the date palm varieties. For this, take a damp paper towel, fold it around anyone seed, and now, seal it in an airtight packet.Let it sit in a warm, dark place for about 1.5-2 months, and examine it every fourteen days. You can change the towel if you see any mold development on it.
- Pot it – Now, when the seeds grow tiny sprouts, they are ready for plantation. Take a mid-sized pot, and fill it to half-level with the apt soil. Do ensure that the soil is well-draining.Go slow and plant seeds one by one. The seeds should be planted an inch below the pot’s lid, covering them with soil, leaving the sprouted part above.
All the types of date palm are slow-growing. So, follow regular care and maintenance tips, and your palm will surely grow well over time.
Phoenix Palm Varieties Care Guide
Regardless of your phoenix palm species, it will need thorough care to thrive. Here are some tips for caring for your date palm.
As stated, date palms grow well in hot, dry weather. It is because these plants enjoy the sun. Of course, they can grow in the light shade, but full sun is preferable for your dates. However, ensure that the humidity should be little to none. The plant thrives in areas with warm nights and warm weather.
Date palms do not love a lot of water. It is drought-tolerant. So, you can water it once every 15 days in the hot weather and once every 30 days in colder weather. However, ensure that the waterings are deep as the date palm extends its roots deep into the soil. When the plant is in its fruiting or flowering season, you can give it more water.
Date palm is a summer-loving plant. It enjoys sunny conditions. Hence, when the temperature falls below 20 degrees, it might even freeze, which can even cause death or damage.
There is no better fertilizer than manure for your date palms. You can also use a slow-releasing packaged fertilizer but always invest in a specialty product. Fertilizer should be given two times during the growing season, that is, in the late winter. This can help prepare the plant for the impending fruit production.
The soil should be well-draining. Even the salty and sandy soil works well for the date palm.
Date palms are susceptible to pests, such as nitidulids and Coccotrypes daclyliperda. Therefore, it would be best to spray an insecticide as soon as you spot any pest. You can also disseminate benomyl once in 30 days to lower the risk of any fungal infections.
Not much pruning is required for the date palms, but once a year should be fine. However, anytime you spot damaged or brown fronds, you must get rid of them. Make sure to pick the fallen fruits and fronds to avoid rotting under the soil.
Phoenix palm species hate repotting. Moreover, frequent repotting is unnecessary since it is slow-growing, but it should suffice once in 24 months. Always repot in a pot that is a size bigger, and be very careful while you shift.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ques 1. How long does it take to grow a date palm tree?
Ans. The date palm takes about two decades to grow to a 20-feet height depending on the available conditions. But a century-old date palm can be over 100-feet tall.
Ques 2. How do I identify a date palm?
Ans. It is pretty easy to identify the date palms, courtesy of their heavy cluster of delectable dates and unique pointy leaves. Further, they have a top-facing open crown of feathery 20-feet long leaves, rough, long trunk, and yellow, red, or brown fruits. Usually tall, they grow up to 75-feet and have spiny stems, ranging between 13-20 feet.
Ques 3. Do date palms need full sun?
Ans. Yes, date palms enjoy the sun, but they can grow well in partial shade.
Ques 4. What is the tallest date palm?
Ans. Located in Villa Tasca, Palermo, the tallest date palm is about 2.80 meters in height.
Ques 5. How long can a date palm live?
Ques 6. Are date palms self-pollinating?
Ans. No, date palms are not self-pollinating. Date palms will be either male or female. So, the male variant produces the pollen and has to be carried to the female plant to make flowers. Sadly, the flowers of date palms do not attract bees or birds. Hence, they are supposed to be hand-pollinated.
Ques 7. How can you tell if a date palm is male or female?
Ans. Typically, identification can happen when the date palms begin yielding fruits, as it is only the female counterpart bears fruits. Usually, it takes anywhere between five to eight years for female date palms to bear fruit.
Ques 8. What kind of dates is the healthiest?
Ans. Medjool dates are the healthiest date palm varieties.
Ques 9. What is the difference between a date palm and a canary palm?
Ans. Compared to the date palms, the canary palms have greener leaves, whereas the former’s leavers are slightly bluish. They also have a green, dense canopy and are taller than date palms.
Related: Small Palm Varieties