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Coconut Palm Care

Sonia Nair May 13, 2019
Apart from adding a tropical touch to your landscape, coconut palms are useful in various other ways. Here are some guidelines about growing coconut palms.
Often described as a tree of thousand uses, coconut palm is commonly found in almost all tropical regions of the world. Most of us are familiar with the culinary uses of coconut. Besides that, coconut is used for various commercial and industrial purposes.
While the seeds of coconut palm contain refreshing water, the fleshy meat is used for making coconut milk, oil, desiccated coconut and various other derivatives. These plants are easy to grow, if you provide them with necessary care.

How to Take Care of a Coconut Palm

Coconut palm is one of the commonly found tropical palm trees with numerous uses. These trees belong to the genus Cocos in the family Arecaceae. In fact, coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) is the only species in this genus.
However, today, we have many cultivars that can be easily grown in tropical and subtropical areas, if you provide basic requirements of this palm. Usually, these palm trees do not thrive below 30°F. In general, they need an average temperature of around 72°F. Though they like intermittent rainfalls, these trees may tolerate drought to some extent.
Another basic requirement of this palm tree is moist, well-drained soil. They flourish well in sandy soil that is alkaline in nature. This is the reason why they are found to grow well in coastal areas. Once established, they are found to be hardy trees that require minimal care.
So, if you are interested in growing coconut palms, contact the local nursery and get the right variety that is ideal for your location. Those living in colder regions may opt for dwarf varieties that can be taken inside during cold weather. Here are some tips about coconut palm care for beginners.
✦ One of the golden rules about growing coconut trees is to find an ideal location for growing them. The location must offer the tree with ample sunlight for at least six hours a day. As the tree can grow tall, make sure that there are no overhead structures like power lines. Even those locations with underground cables and other structures must be avoided.
✦ Another basic requirement of a coconut palm is well-drained and moist soil. These trees may grow in other soil types too, but, if you need a healthy coconut palm, then make sure that the soil is well-drained with a pH range of 5 to 8. It is best to go for sandy soil that will help the roots of this palm tree to absorb nutrients.
✦ While planting seedlings, you have to make deep holes with a minimum depth and width of 3 feet respectively. Mix sand with top soil in a ratio of 40:60. Now, add a good amount of this soil into the holes and water thoroughly and plant the palm seedlings. Fill the holes with the remaining soil, before watering once again.
✦ As far as watering is concerned, you have to keep the soil moist, till the seedlings get established. Established outdoor coconut plants may not require water, unless the weather is too dry. In case of indoor coconut palms, watering has to be done, at least thrice a week.
✦ Mulching is also done, so as to lock in the moisture content of the soil. Three to four inches of mulch will be sufficient. As this palm tree needs certain nutrients for growth, you have to apply a fertilizer meant for coconut trees. Make sure that the fertilizer contains potassium, magnesium, boron and manganese.
✦ As in case of other plants, feeding is one of the important aspects of coconut palm care. You must feed these trees four times a year. It is advisable to use a slow release fertilizer.
For younger plants, apply the fertilizer on the soil that is about one foot from the base of the plant. As the palms grow, slightly increase the amount of fertilizer and apply it little bit farther from the base of the palm, as this encourages lateral root growth.
✦ Coconut palms are prone to certain pests and diseases. One of the most commonly found coconut palm tree diseases is 'lethal yellowing' that may cause premature fruit drop and even death of the palm. These trees are also attacked by coconut tree beetle, coconut mite, etc. However, these conditions can be controlled with proper remedial measures.
It is always better to consult the local nursery authorities or an expert horticulturist for some detailed information about growing coconut trees. These palm trees are excellent for adding to the beauty of your landscape. Besides that, you can enjoy the numerous coconut tree uses too.