Here’s our baby coconut palm tree – named Indira - just potted in her new home, which she’ll probably grow out of in a few months.
Why not grow a coconut tree in your house? It’s going to be a long winter, so we might as well keep things interesting.
Sprouting a store-bought coconut is insanely easy. Horticulturalists and YouTubers will have some work-intensive ways to do this, but the reality is that it’s ridiculously simple, and once it sprouts, you have a coconut tree in your living room in winter, and outdoors in summer (in U.S. Zone 8b and below). If you’re lucky and live at or above Zone 9a, you can plant coconut palms outdoors.
To start, you want a healthy (very preferably organic) coconut that is full of water. Shake it and listen. If you hear a lot of sloshing around, this coconut has lots of water inside. The sprout will use this life-giving water like a placenta to begin its journey.
Rinse the coconut, and place it in a bucket of room temperature water (if you only have chlorinated tap water, use spring, well, or distilled water instead). Place something – like a large rock – on top of the coconut so that it stays submerged. Soak it for three days in the warmest part of your house, and keep it in the dark. Cover it with a towel if you need to.
After 3 days, remove the coconut from the water, rinse again, and place it in a gallon-sized Ziplock bag. Add a little fresh water to the bag, and stand the coconut up so that the three holes at the top end are facing upward. Seal the bag. Place the bagged coconut back in the bucket, holes facing up, and place it in the warmest spot in your house.
Give your coconut a name, write it down, and place it somewhere on the bucket. Believe me, it works. Plants are aware.
Now, wait. It takes anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months to sprout. From time to time, check the bag and replenish the water if necessary. Eventually, you’ll see, emerging from the holes, several tap roots and a young palm sprout.
Now, you can pot up the coconut in a light, sandy soil mixture, in the largest pot possible, and place outdoors in the sun, or indoors in a warm, sunny window. Keep it moist, warm, and bright.
A growing coconut palm is always hungry, so feed it often with a 10-10-10 or other balanced fertilizer. A potted coconut especially will gobble up all the soil’s nutrients in a short time. Don’t let the soil go bone dry: coconuts are tropicals, so their native climate is warm and bright with frequent rain.
For aesthetics, I planted our sprout, named Indira, with the entire nut above soil and the roots below. I think it looks amazing this way. But you can plant the nut below the soil and the tree will grow nicely.
Indira looks healthy and, barring any problems, will likely grow fast. What am I going to do when she starts getting really big? I haven’t thought about that yet. And I can’t think of a better problem to have on my hands than a beautiful, fat, happy coconut tree.
Live in peace.