Growing Coconut Tree at Home: A Guide on the Growth, Care and Variety of Coconut Palms
Quite popular across India
A member of the palm tree family, scientifically referred to as Arecaceae, Coconut trees are a popular kind of tree to have around. The plant is mainly known for its manifold uses and the different benefits of coconut fruits. Coconut palms are quite popular in India owing to the religious symbolism of the fruit associated with the Hindu community.
The coconut palms grow as large trees that can easily grow up to measure a height of around 30 metres. In favourable growing conditions, mature and healthy coconut trees can easily produce around 75 fruits in just one year. However, on most occasions, this yearly number is just around the 30s.
Coconut Tree Leaves and Coconut Tree Roots
The leaves of the coconut trees are long and pinnately divided. Each of them consists of around 200 to 250 tapering leaflets. The coconut tree leaves can easily reach around 24 to 30 inches in length.
Just like the other palm trees, the coconut palm also has fibrous roots. The coconut tree root system is made up of an abundance of thin roots. These roots tend to grow in an upwards direction and generally lie at the foot of the plant and around the surface of the soil. It is only a bunch of these roots that grow inwards to provide some stability to the plant. The Coconut tree roots are also known by the name of adventitious roots.
Another interesting fact regarding the coconut tree roots is that the roots get replaced with new ones once they decay.
Growing Coconut Plant from Coconut Seed
Easy to grow
The coconuts that you bring home to consume, extract, or for religious purposes can easily be used to grow your full-fledged Coconut tree at home. Yes, it’s just that easy. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of growing Coconut plants from coconut seeds.
- Start with picking out a coconut that has the husk still attached to it. Give it a nice shake to see if it sounds like it has water inside.
- Keep the coconut soaked in some water for around two to three days.
- Meanwhile, prepare a planter with some well-draining potting soil. Make sure that it consists of some sand and is at least around 12 inches deep.
- After the coconut is done soaking, gently transfer it to the planter, pointing side down. See to it that one-third of the coconut is above the soil.
- Shift the planter to a spot that receives lots and lots of sunlight and maintains a temperature above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Water the coconut frequently. However, also see to it that you do not over-water and let the coconut sit in excess water.
In around three to six months, the coconut seedlings should be visible.
Use of Coconut Tree/ Coconut Palm
Offers a host of uses
As mentioned above, the Coconut tree or the Coconut Palm is often lauded for its manifold uses. The different components of the Coconut trees can be used in different ways to extract several benefits. Here is a look at some of the many uses of Coconut palms.
- The flesh of the coconut fruit is known to be quite nutritious. Each serving of this flesh is proven to provide us with 354 kilocalories of food energy as well as important nutrients such as copper, iron, phosphorus, protein, selenium, zinc, etc.
- The flesh of the coconut, which is dehydrated by drying or baking, is often used in the preparation of confectionery and bakery items, like macaroons, as these desiccated coconuts have a longer shelf life than freshly grated coconuts.
- The coconut flesh, also known as coconut meat, is also often used in the preparation of coconut chips and coco chips. The dried coconuts are also used as fillings in the preparation of several chocolates.
- Coconut milk, obtained by pressing the coconut flesh with hot water, is a clever way to extract the oil, proteins and aromatic compounds present in the compound.
- Not to be confused with coconut water, coconut milk is known for being low-fat. It can be used as an effective substitution for regular milk.
- Coconut milk, as well as coconut cream, is often used in the preparation of many coconut-based beverages, jams, custards, curries, stews, etc.
- Extracted from coconut milk, coconut oil is often used by many people for purposes of frying and cooking. It is also used as a staple in food preparation in different regions around the world.
- Coconut water is often consumed as a soothing and refreshing drink in several regions that are beaten by the heat. Coconut water is also growing increasingly famous as a processed sports drink.
- Coconut vinegar, produced through the fermentation of coconut water, is an important part of Southeast Asian cuisine. It is also used in the cuisine of several regions across India and Sri Lanka.
- The leaves of coconut palms are used to make brooms in certain countries, like India, Indonesia and Malaysia. They are also used in the making of baskets that are used on cooking skewers, kindling arrows, mats, thatched roofs, etc.
- The coconut trunks can be effectively used in the building of small bridges as well as huts. They are popularly used in the construction of houses in Kerala. Coconut timber is also being used as a substitute for endangered hardwoods.
Caring for Coconut Sapling/ Coconut Seedlings
Easy to care for
The Coconut palm is a slow-growing plant. That means that the plant remains in any particular stage of growth for a prolonged amount of time. That is, the plant takes time to germinate into a seedling and even remains a seedling for a particularly long period.
No wonder, coconut palms need some basic care to be thriving well in such prolonged periods of growth. So, here we have listed down some basic care needs of a Coconut palm which can make taking care of Coconut seedlings a much easier task.
- The Ideal Planter: The planter chosen for growing the Coconut palm should neither be too large nor too small. The planter should also consist of enough drainage holes to flush out the excess water. Also, see to it that the planter is deep enough to accommodate the growth of the long fibrous roots of the coconut palm.
- Potting Requirements of the Plant:Coconut palm prefers to grow in soil that is rich in organic matter and drains well. Having said that, you can use any general potting mix that promises the two constituents mentioned above. You can also add some more sand or vermiculite to enhance the well-draining capability of the potting mix.
- Meeting the Light Needs:Coconut palms love the full sun. They prefer growing in lots and lots of bright light. So, make sure that you place your plant at such a spot that receives sunlight for most of the day. However, in the early stages of growth, coconut palms can also grow well in partially shaded regions and under the exposure of different fluorescent lights indoors.
- Watering the Plant:Coconut plants need frequent watering. This watering requirement is further boosted by the well-draining capacity of the potting mix. In the first growing season, water the plant every couple of days. Make sure that you do not let the potting soil turn completely dry. Also, make sure that you do not over-water and let the plant sit soaked in water.
- Ensuring the Right Temperature:Coconut trees tend to grow well in warm temperatures. For healthy growth, it is advised to maintain a temperature above 70 degrees around the plant, at all times. The coconut trees are not cold-tolerant at all, and the seedlings might not survive when growing outside during the winter season.
- Fertilizing the Plant:While growing plants, fertilizing is an important step in ensuring that the plant is being met with all its nutrient requirements. Now, coconut plants are heavy feeders and thus need to be fertilized with regular and complete fertilizers. It is also advisable to use fertilizers that are rich in nutrients such as boron, calcium and manganese.
- Pruning the Tree: When it comes to pruning a coconut tree, make sure that you do that only with the dead leaves. Also, make sure that the leaves that you are cutting back are completely dead as you do so. The coconut palm is quite sensitive and cutting any green part away can end up causing severe harm to the growth of the tree.
Types of Coconut Trees
Available in different kinds
Coconuts and coconut trees are often available in a wide variety. Here we have listed down some of the most common and popular types of coconut trees.
- Bonsai Coconut Tree/ Coconut Bonsai: Grown in trays, Bonsai coconut trees are the miniature version of the tall and general Bonsai trees. The coconut Bonsai does not grow branches and does not take up a lot of growing space. The Coconut Bonsai is also capable of producing fruits.
- CocosNucifera: CocosNucifera is a tall variety of coconut trees. CocosNucifera is the most common variety of coconut and is widely found around tropical regions. The CocosNucifera is rich in antibacterial, antifungal antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
- Dwarf Coconut Tree/ Small Coconut Tree: There are several dwarf varieties of coconut palms. As the name implies, each of these trees is smaller in structure than other general coconut trees. The dwarf coconut trees or the small coconut trees seldom exceed a height of around 30 feet.
- Gangabondam Coconut Tree: The Gangabondam coconut tree is a dwarf variety of coconut trees. The plant is widely cultivated throughout Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The Gangabondam Coconut tree grows to a height of around 10 feet only.
- Hybrid Coconut Tree: The term hybrid coconut trees refer to the coconut trees that have been cultivated by crossing two different coconut varieties. These trees aren’t borne naturally but are created by the touch of the human hand.
- Keralian Coconut Tree: The coconut trees that are popular and widely cultivated throughout Kerala are often referred to as the Keralian coconut trees. Named after the fruit itself, Kerala alone accounts for 45% of India’s coconut cultivation. The coconut trees in Kerala are also known as Kalpavriksha.
- Malayan Orange Dwarf Variety Coconut: The Malayan Orange Dwarf variety coconut is a dwarf variety that does not exceed a height of around 25 to 30 feet. The Malayan Orange Dwarf variety coconuts The plant is popularly used for various beauty and medicinal purposes.
The Rising Popularity of Coir Pots
A biodegradable option
Coir is the fibre that pretty much makes up the outer covering of coconut. Coir is often used as a part of horticulture- in the making of potting mixes, especially orchid mix. Coir is also often used to make brooms, brushes, doormats, mats, ropes, sacks. It is also used as stuffing in mattresses and as caulking for boats. However, off late, coir pots seem to be the most popular.
Made of coconut husks, coir pots are a biodegradable option when it comes to planters and pots to grow plants in. Coir pots have high water and air permeability and also root distribution. And if you are looking to replant your potted plant to the soil, you can do it with the coir pot itself, without going through the pain of the process of transplantation.
Is coconut plant good for home?
Yes, the coconut palm is good enough to be planted at home. The plant provides various uses and benefits that can easily be availed once you grow the plant at home.
How many years will coconut grow?
The period is different for different types of coconut trees. However, the most common ones, that is the tall coconut trees, start bearing fruits after five years of growth while the dwarf varieties can do so after 3 years of growth.
Can a coconut be planted?
Yes, a coconut plant can easily be planted. Just make sure that the soil you use is well-draining and the spot you choose for the plant is warm and receives plenty of sunlight.
How do you keep a coconut plant alive?
To keep a Coconut plant alive, plant it in some well-draining soil. Water the plant frequently, without letting the soil turn completely dry. Ensure enough sunlight and maintain a temperature above 70 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.
Can I plant a coconut tree beside a paddy?
Yes, you can very well plant a coconut tree beside a paddy tree. However, do ensure that there is enough space between the two to grow.
Is coconut oil the same as palm oil?
No, coconut oil is not the same as palm oil. Coconut and palm are two separate plants; coconut is just a kind of palm. Thus, the oil of the two plants are different and not the same.
How can I plant a coconut palm tree?
To plant a coconut palm tree, soak a coconut in water for some days and then plant it in some well-draining soil. Make sure that one-third of the coconut is above the soil level. Water the plant frequently.
Is coconut plant a tree or a grass?
It might surprise a lot of people, but the coconut tree is not a tree as it does not have a bark, branches or any signs of secondary growth. Thus, coconut trees are often referred to as a kind of grass.
What variety of coconut plants is good for plantations?
The West Coast Tall and East Coast Tall are the two most commonly planted coconut varieties as they are easy to grow and look after and thus, good for planting.