Coconut Growing Guide
Crop Rotation Group
Fertile, well-drained soil, often coastal sand.
No. Coconuts are tropical plants with little tolerance for cold. They are hardy only to about 25°F (-4°C).
Not generally needed.
Single Plants: 24' 7" (7.50m) each way (minimum)
Rows: 24' 7" (7.50m) with 24' 7" (7.50m) row gap (minimum)
Sow and Plant
In tropical climates with plenty of rainfall, fully ripe unhusked coconuts that fall naturally from the tree can be planted directly where you want them to grow. Choose a coconut in which you can hear the water swishing inside when you shake it, and soak it in a pail of water for two days. Plant the coconut on its side, with only half of the nut covered with soil. When kept warm and moist, a coconut will germinate in three to four months. Coconuts that sprout naturally can be lifted and transplanted when the leaf shoot emerges. Maintain steady soil moisture after planting coconuts. The trees need plenty of moisture and sun to support strong growth. Most coconuts grow to 100 feet (30 meters) tall, though a few dwarf cultivars are available. Coconuts have shallow roots and need constant moisture, which makes them poor candidates for containers. However, coconuts can be germinated in containers and then transplanted a few months later when the leaf sprouts appear.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.
Most at home in Southeast Asia, coconuts can be grown in many tropical areas with abundant rainfall. Young trees require six to ten years of growing time before they start producing, with full maturity after 15 years. With good care, a mature coconut tree will produce 30 or more fruits each year and live to be 80 years old.
Green coconuts that yield delicious coconut water and soft, jelly-like flesh are harvested 6 to 8 months after flowering and stored in their husks. More familiar mature coconuts take 11 months or more to mature and are sold with their husks removed. Coconut trees bloom intermittently all year, so production is not limited to a single season.
Many small animals can damage coconut flowers so that few nuts are produced. Wind damage to trees can be severe. If you live where coconuts are grown commercially, take the time to learn about locally abundant animal pests and how to manage them. In south Florida and the Caribbean, a disease called lethal yellowing that is spread by planthoppers causes episodic problems for some varieties of coconut palm.
Planting and Harvesting Calendar
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Pests which Affect Coconut