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chinandega81

Coconuts Slow until what age?

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chinandega81

I planted a 1 foot tall coconut that sporuted that I brought back from the beach last year. I planted it and have watered and fertilized it over the past year. It has grown to about 5 feet tall now, but it certainly isn't "fast" as this stage. How long until it takes off? I have mature coconuts that do grow fast, but i'm not sure at what age they start to grow faster?

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mnorell

Jaime--

Different forms grow at very different rates; and it also really matters in what state it was when you transplanted it, and whether in sun or shade. Also how many leaves are present, since each one is a solar panel that creates the sugars setting the stage for new leaves to be manufactured, and the more 'panels' you have, the faster the plant will grow. Also, when they're young, they want shade (at least dappled), this is especially important if their root-zone has been torn up and pulled out of the ground. Best thing if ripping it out of the ground (and if you want to put it into a sunny spot) is to cut off all but two leaves, put it in shade at first, pile coco-mulch or other mulchy soil over the root-mass, spritz it daily (if out of the rainy season) and let it alone for a couple of months or so, to develop some new roots. Then you can think about transplanting it into its final spot.

My own experience in my garden in the Keys is that speed variations are surprisingly great. For me, 'Panama Tall' is the race-horse...I had one out of a seven-gallon pot that I bought from Dave Romney reach about 25' overall in 2-1/2 years! The Green Malay also grow at a decent clip...once trunking they grow about a foot a year. 'Jamaican Tall' is to me the most beautiful with its huge leaves but it is slow to get going, a bit faster once it is trunking. But it is no speed-demon even though it eventually gets to be the tallest and most majestic of them all. The slowest in my experience are the Malayan Gold, and in particular the 'Niu leka' (Fiji Dwarf), which to me looks more like a Ravenea rivularis and just puts on a huge, thick shuttlecock of leaves and really doesn't care much about making a trunk, at least not for some good time. That Fiji Dwarf also refused to grow in shade for me, it wants full-on, hot sun.

There are a lot of different forms and hybrids in Florida, including 'spicata' (a smaller, more gracile type), and lots of spontaneous hybrids such as the 'PanJam' (I have what I think is one of these, it has a medium growth-rate). If you grabbed it somewhere it could be just about anything, so you'll just have to wait and see how it grows and develops. But in the meantime, if you can get a true Panama Tall, I don't think you'll ever come across a coconut that grows as fast in the South Florida climate. And in general, I'd say the best thing you can do is start a sprouting nut in situ. Field-grown, larger palms make an immediate effect, but in my experience they are far slower in the long run than a seed-nut. And I think coconuts are pretty fast growers from the outset. I find it wonderful to see those huge first leaves emerge, just feeding on the endosperm of the fruit and yet really cranking out a large and eye-catching plant, even as an infant.

There are many other folks here who have grown more types than I have, and for much longer, and will no doubt have more robust answers to your question...but those are my personal experiences on Big Pine Key.

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chinandega81

I don't know what variety I have...it is the orangish.-red colored one if that descrption makes any sense to you? The coconut tree it fell from had those dark orange nuts, large canopy and was tall.

I planted it a year ago and of course I didn't do anything you recommended lol so that probably set it back. Plus, I did this all in September so the ideal transplant season was fleeting at that time regardless. 

Coconuts always seem to be stagnant until one day I notice and they are monsters, they just sneak up on us. A lot of neighbors want to cut them down after they get too tall...regardless, I collect the coconuts and let them sprout and guerilla plant wherever possible.

 

 

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kinzyjr

I agree @chinandega81.  The other day, I walked down my sidewalk on the side of the house and realized I could walk under the fronds of my 4.5 year old Jamaican Tall without ducking.

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