Means, Methods & Techniques for Sowing Palm Seeds

Techniques for Sowing Palm Seeds - Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii) Seedlings
Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii) Seedlings

The article Means, Methods & Techniques for Sowing Palm Seeds is – after the first – the second and last of the two tributes to the amateur – domestic production by the plant lovers of Palm species through the products of sexual propagation – that is, the seeds or spores.

In this second part the main goal is the adequate presentation of the necessary materials, the relevant means, the most appropriate methods, as well as the most suitable sowing techniques for a satisfactory percentage of germination of the seeds of these plants.

However, the article does not stop there: for the convenience of amateur gardeners, at the end of it, there are two tables with Palm plants names whose seeds germinate easily or with difficulty, so that they know in advance what they have to deal with, and based on their experience to choose and / or experiment.

Now, based on the experience of the editorial team of "Kalliergia", the completion of the tribute in a reasonable time – something rarer than the rare for this team – gives rise to endless revelry, because has a firm belief that such a thing it will hardly be repeated – and let the always patient and understanding of this site visitor and reader have no doubt about it.

And for the sowing of Palm Plants by amateur gardeners and Palm-lovers there are various means, among which are the seed trays, which are filled with the appropriate substrate, where the seeds are placed.

Chinese Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei - syn. Chamaerops excelsa) Sprouts
Chinese Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei - syn. Chamaerops excelsa) Sprouts
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Suitable Sowing Substrates

The suitable substrate for planting the seeds of the Palm plants should show, among other things, excellent porosity and perfect drainage.

Palm plant lovers can obtain such substrates (which are soilless material mixtures) from the market or make them themselves.

If they decide first, there are high quality blends at their disposal; if they decide the latter, they have at their disposal the poor quality information and advice from "Kalliergeia" – as can be seen from what is written below.

Mixture Materials for Sowing Substrates

The materials selected for the creation of seed substrates of Palm plants as well as the percentage – their participation in them, depend to a large extent on the special characteristics of the seeds that come from the respective plant species.

However, the presence of both organic and inorganic materials in the mixtures remains a constant condition.

The most widely used organic materials are:

  • Peat
  • Sterile sphagnum moss
  • Grated and sifted coconut fibers

The minerals used are:

  • Perlite
  • Vermiculite
  • Sand

Preparation of Mixtures

Regardless of the materials, the mixture to be used as sowing media for the Palm plant seeds should be as free as possible from biotic phytopathogens, such as fungi, bacteria, and the like.

One way to achieve this is to sterilize the mixture in a microwave oven.

As for the materials and their participation in it, a reliable and flexible "recipe" includes peat and perlite or vermiculite in proportions:

  • 1: 1
  • 2: 1
  • 3: 1

Means, Methods & Techniques for Sowing Palm Seeds

Techniques for Sowing Palm Seeds - Biodegradable Coconut Palm Pulp Seed Starter Tray Pots
Biodegradable Coconut Palm Pulp Seed Starter Tray Pots

Means, Methods & Techniques for Sowing Palm Seeds

Containers, pots, sowing trays, or plastic bags can be used for sowing Palm plants seeds. The choice of the most suitable medium also depends here on the particular features of the seeds of each species, but also on the experience of the sower, mainly in relation to the ability to control the humidity in the planting medium.

As for the methods and techniques are indeed many, however immediately below we talk about the most common.

Plastic Bag Method

The plastic bag method seems to be better for seeds that are slow or very slow to germinate.

According to this method, the selected sowing substrate:

  • Mixed with about 10% charcoal powder
  • Must get well wet
  • It is pressed or allowed to drain
  • Sprayed with a fungicide
  • Mixed with seeds
  • It is placed in the bag

The bag is then closed and placed in a warm place, without being exposed to direct sunlight. The mixture is checked at regular intervals to verify the moisture level. This work is absolutely necessary, because if the mixture dries or the humidity levels are too high then the sowing will fail.

Sowing in Containers, Pots or Seed Trays

According to this method, the soilless substrate is poured into the selected mean and then:

  • The seeds are placed at a depth of half their diameter
  • The sowing surface is covered with sand
  • Watering follows

The container, pot, or seed tray is then placed in a warm site and not exposed to direct sunlight. In this case, too, the growing medium is frequently checked to ensure that it is at the correct humidity level.

Planting Directly in the Ground

Although soilless substrates have been reported so far, there are Palm plants (eg Butia sp., Chamaedorea sp., Howea sp., Parajubaea sp., Trachycarpus sp.) whose seeds can germinate even in garden soil.

In order for this type of sowing to succeed, it must:

  • Climatic factors to be favorable
  • The soil should be well drained and have satisfactory porosity
  • Soil moisture is at the desired levels
  • The seeds should be planted in areas where they do not receive direct sunlight

Means, Methods & Techniques for Sowing Palm Seeds

Baggie Method for Palm Plants Sowing
Baggie Method for Palm Plants Sowing

Humidity & Watering

The humidity and watering are critical factors for a successful sowing outcome.

In sheltered, indoor spaces humidity should be between 60 and 70%, from the beginning of the process until the seeds germinate.

On the other hand, the moisture of the substrate should be at such levels that the hydration of the seeds is correct, but also that they do not risk rotting due to the creation of favorable conditions for the growth of fungi and other pests.

Regarding watering, it is recommended to frequently checked the selected substrate, in order not to let it dry completely, under any circumstances.

In fact, with the germination of the seeds, the need for more frequent and more watering will be present.

Means, Methods & Techniques for Sowing Palm Seeds

Temperature & Light

A constant temperature range that favors germination but also reduces the germination time of the seeds of most Palm plants, is that whose values range between 29.5 to 35 °C (85 to 95 °F).

The artificial heat sources for the growing substrate and the surrounding area vary, as they include from professional level media to home radiators.

In terms of light, it is recommended to avoid exposing the seeds to direct contact with sunlight, while shade conditions facilitate their germination. Of course in this case, after the seeds germinate, the seedlings must have the chance to continue to grow in bright environments.

Means, Methods & Techniques for Sowing Palm Seeds

Easy & Difficult to Germinate Seeds

Understandably, not all Palm plants seeds have the same degree of easiness or difficulty in germination. For this reason, immediately below we list two groups of Palm plant species, each of which is formed based on the criteria of ease or difficulty of seed germination, so that the plant lovers can choose those species that meet, among others, their level of experience.

Easy Germinators

Indicatively easy-to-germinate Palm plants seeds belong to the following species:

  • Archontophoenix alexandrae
  • Areca triandra
  • Arenga westerhoutii
  • Chamaedorea elegans
  • Chambeyronia macrocarpa
  • Dypsis decaryi
  • Dypsis lutescens
  • Licuala grandis
  • Pinanga crassipes
  • Pinanga kuhlii
  • Pritchardia hillebrandii
  • Sabal palmetto
  • Veitchia joannis
  • Washingtonia filifera
  • Washingtonia robusta

Difficult Germinators

Indicatively difficult-to-germinate Palm plants seeds belong to the following species:

  • Acrocomia crispa
  • Basselinia
  • Howea fosteriana
  • Jubaea chilensis
  • Jubaeopsis caffra
  • Lavoixia macrocarpa
  • Neoveitchia storckii
  • Parajubaea cocoides
  • Pelagodoxa henryana
  • Physokentia insolita
  • Pseudophoenix species
  • Rhopalostylis baueri
  • Syagrus oleracea
  • Synechanthus warscewiczianus
  • Voanioala gerardii


Techniques for Sowing Palm Seeds - Seeds of Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia Robusta) are Easy Germinated
Seeds of Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia Robusta) are Easy Germinated


The References of this article with strongly Tropical character entitled Means, Methods & Techniques for Sowing Palm Seeds are presented by the excellent guitarist and songwriter of the desert – Tuareg in origin – Mdou Moctar and his band, with the song Imouhagh – one more word to say "Tuareg".

With Pomp and Circumstance

Mdou Moctar (Mahamadou Souleymane – guitar / vocals), Ahmoudou Madassane (guitar / vocals), Souleymane Ibrahim (drums / djembe), and Michael Coltun (bass / vocals), live, videotaped December 1, 2019 at of the Dutch public broadcast organization VPRO.

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