Grow your own date palm from the date's pit.

Date Palm Pit Germination

by Joshua Duvauchelle

Date palms (Phoenix dactylifera) originally hail from the Middle East, but today they thrive throughout U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11 where you can enjoy them as outdoor palms or as houseplants. Although you can buy juvenile date palms or start the palms from transplanting suckers, starting date palms from the hard pit in the middle of the fruit is the easiest way to propagate this palm.

Cut open a date palm fruit with a knife, and remove the hard, stone-like pit from the middle of the fruit.

Clean the pit under running water to remove all pieces of fruit. Leaving fruit on the seed increases the risk of mold growth and other problems. Continue rinsing the pit until it no longer feels sticky.

Place the date palm pit in a glass of water to soak. This helps soften the seed's outer layer to improve germination. Let the seed soak for seven days, changing the water once a day.

Prepare a quart-sized planting pot with drainage holes while your palm pit is soaking. Rinse out the pot, then fill it with a commercially prepared palm seed germination soil mixture. If you don't have this type of soil available in your local garden stores or nurseries, make your own mix by combining 1 part perlite with 1 part peat moss.

Remove the date palm pit from the water it was soaking in, and bury it in the potting soil at a depth of approximately 2 centimeters.

Spritz the potting soil once or twice a day with water out of a spray bottle, keeping the soil consistently moist.

Place the pot on a windowsill or similar area that gets direct sunlight with temperatures staying within the range of 85 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. If necessary, place a thermostat-controlled heater or heating pad near your pot. While germination rates vary widely depending on temperatures, sun exposure and the age of the palm seed, it should germinate within a month of planting.

Items you will need

  • Date palm fruit (unpitted)
  • Knife
  • Water glass or jar
  • Palm germination soil
  • Perlite
  • Peat moss
  • Quart-sized plant pot
  • Spray bottle
  • Heater (optional)


  • Starting a date palm from seed may result in a male date palm, which does not produce fruit. Thus, starting date palms from the tree's pits can create unpredictable results.

About the Author

Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images