Dwarf varieties of coconut palm trees (Cocos nucifera) usually grow 6 to 7 feet tall, although they occasionally reach 25 feet tall and produce coconuts just like full-sized coconut palms. They are planted outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 to 12. In cooler climates, if you have a sunny room with a high ceiling, these trees can be planted in containers and grown indoors. Young dwarf coconut trees can be planted at any time of year indoors; but, when planting outdoors, it is best to plant them at the beginning of the rainy season in your area.
1 Prepare the planting hole one to three months before planting the dwarf coconut tree seedling. Use a dirt shovel to dig a 3-foot-wide-by-3-foot-deep hole where the tree will be exposed to at least four to six hours of direct sunlight each day while young and full sun as it gets taller. Build a raised 3-foot-wide-by-3-foot-high planting bed if the ground is low-lying and the soil drains slowly. Space dwarf coconut trees 6 to 10 feet away from each other and from other trees.
2 Place a 2- to 3-inch layer of coconut husks, macadamia nut husks or wood chips in the bottom of the hole or raised bed. Mix 2 pounds of potassium chloride or muriate of potash into 3 cubic feet good-quality top soil. Pour the topsoil mixture into the planting hole or raised bed.
3 Dig a hole in the center of the topsoil mixture that is wide enough to hold the dwarf coconut tree root system. Dig the hole just deep enough to plant the tree at the same depth it was growing previously. Set the seedling in the hole. Push the soil into the hole around the roots, and firm it gently by hand. Pour 4 gallons of water over the soil. Spread a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch over the soil around the tree. Give the tree 4 gallons of water twice per week for the first three years if it does not rain.
1 Purchase a container with drain holes in the bottom that is twice the depth and width of the base of the dwarf coconut tree seedling. Rinse course builder's sand with water until it runs clear. Mix soil-based potting soil and the rinsed course builder’s sand together in equal amounts. Pour the potting soil-sand mixture into the container until it is one-quarter to one-third full.
2 Set the seedling into the container. Pour the potting soil mixture into the container around the seedling roots until the crown or where the roots grow from the trunk is 1 inch below the surface. Firm the soil gently around the roots.
3 Pour water over the soil until it drains from the bottom. Set the dwarf coconut tree where it will be exposed to direct sunlight. Water it generously when the top of the potting soil begins to dry.
Items you will need
- Dirt shovel
- Tape measure
- Coconut husks, macadamia nut husks or wood chips
- Potassium chloride
- Organic mulch
- Large container with drain holes
- Soil-based potting mix
- Coarse builder’s sand
- University of Florida: IFAS Extension: EDIS: The Coconut Palm in Florida
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Cocos Nucifera
- University of Hawaii: Cooperative Extension Service: Coconut as an Ornamental
- Purdue University: Horticulture and Landscape Architecture: Cocos Nucifera L.
- University of Wisconsin-Madison: Chemical of the Week: Agricultural Fertilizers: Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus
- University of Hawaii at Manoa: College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources: Cooperative Extension Service: Mulching for Healthier Landscape Plants
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images