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Coconut Palm in North Carolina Experiment


ZPalms

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@ZPalms

For me still no browning of lower fronds yet, while autumn is nearing. Surprised it did well for me as a houseplant this summer near a south facing window.  I didn't help it out with humidity which I read is what makes Cocos suffer as houseplants.

Luckily or unlikely depending on one's perspective, due to the ridiculous energy prices in Europe because of the Ukraine situation I won't be turning on central heating in the upcoming autumn and winter in the room where my Cocos is located. Hopefully that will help it survive this crazy experiment of mine to make a Cocos Nucifera get through winter as a houseplant. 😂

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  • 4 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

After I repotted my coconut in the trash can, I didn't realize the mistake of repotting right before winter. It's still alive and doing great, even with the couple of leaves that died off, and the new spear is coming in nicely! I'm not sure why the three leaves all died off one by one, and I'm not sure if it was shock or a lack of water because I try to be generous with watering but wait long enough between the time I water because with the lack of heat I want to make sure it's getting enough time to dry and utilize what it can before the next time I water. 

Ignore the mess behind the coconut on the bench; with the amount of plants and tables I have at the moment, it's difficult to get over in that corner. 😂

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Edited by ZPalms
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Looking good @ZPalms

PS. I've managed to get a cheap Syagrus Romanzoffiana at about the same developmental stage of your current Cocos. I think I will go for it instead and forgo the Cocos project next year. For my northern self it is just as tropical, maybe not as mesmerising, but good enough and with the added benefit of a bit more hardiness. It can stay outside from early-March to late-November instead of late-May to just early-September for me. 😄

Edited by Zeni
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3 hours ago, Zeni said:

Looking good @ZPalms

PS. I've managed to get a cheap Syagrus Romanzoffiana at about the same developmental stage of your current Cocos. I think I will go for it instead and forgo the Cocos project next year. For my northern self it is just as tropical, maybe not as mesmerising, but good enough and with the added benefit of a bit more hardiness. It can stay outside from early-March to late-November instead of late-May to just early-September for me. 😄

That’s a palm I definitely want to get this year after I plant all my palms in pots into the ground, I hope it performs awesome and grows quick!!!! 😍

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15 hours ago, ZPalms said:

That’s a palm I definitely want to get this year after I plant all my palms in pots into the ground, I hope it performs awesome and grows quick!!!! 😍

Slight downside is that Romanzoffianas have rapid verical growth. In less than 5 or 6 years they could start being too difficult to place indoor for overwintering. They are like little rockets. 🚀

Some sellers cut off all the fronds when shipping as they grow back in a short time. Analogous to Robustas in growth, maybe even slightly faster.

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6 hours ago, Zeni said:

Slight downside is that Romanzoffianas have rapid verical growth. In less than 5 or 6 years they could start being too difficult to place indoor for overwintering. They are like little rockets. 🚀

Some sellers cut off all the fronds when shipping as they grow back in a short time. Analogous to Robustas in growth, maybe even slightly faster.

I think I want a mule more than Syagrus because they look more attractive to me, I'm not even sure about the growth speed of mule palms

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1 hour ago, ZPalms said:

I think I want a mule more than Syagrus because they look more attractive to me, I'm not even sure about the growth speed of mule palms

True, but they are more difficult to get and are a bit pricey. 

Currently seeds are available here:

https://www.mulepalmsofmississippi.com/mule-palm-seeds/100-mule-palm-seeds-x-butiagrus-nabonnandii-f1-fnf3h

https://wanderlustnursery.com/shop/products/p/mule-palm

I think you should try from seed. It's also rewarding to grow from seed. 👍

 

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18 minutes ago, Zeni said:

True, but they are more difficult to get and are a bit pricey. 

Currently seeds are available here:

https://www.mulepalmsofmississippi.com/mule-palm-seeds/100-mule-palm-seeds-x-butiagrus-nabonnandii-f1-fnf3h

https://wanderlustnursery.com/shop/products/p/mule-palm

I think you should try from seed. It's also rewarding to grow from seed. 👍

 

Oh awesome! Thanks for the links. I was looking for seeds earlier but couldn't find a good place. The $15 is great! I usually grow all my palms from seeds anyway, as it's cheaper for me. 😍

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  • 2 months later...

I'm kinda wanting to put my coconut outside but I'm not really sure if I should, the weather looks decent and the lows don't last very long and my coconut is constantly exposed to cooler temperatures indoors with the A/C including at night so I'm not sure

I could throw burlap over it during the night to help keep it a tiny bit warmer why its outside at night but Im all ears but I really want to get it outside as quick and safe as possible to extend the grow season as much as I can with it

IMG_9040.thumb.jpg.8989461ce34a5c8d58d2314cc3a4b691.jpg

 

 

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On 4/15/2023 at 5:15 PM, ZPalms said:

I'm kinda wanting to put my coconut outside but I'm not really sure if I should, the weather looks decent and the lows don't last very long and my coconut is constantly exposed to cooler temperatures indoors with the A/C including at night so I'm not sure

I could throw burlap over it during the night to help keep it a tiny bit warmer why its outside at night but Im all ears but I really want to get it outside as quick and safe as possible to extend the grow season as much as I can with it

IMG_9040.thumb.jpg.8989461ce34a5c8d58d2314cc3a4b691.jpg

 

 

It can go outside if lows are above 45F (anything less than that will cause leaf spotting and yellowing). Coconuts want high heat, full sun and warm rain so yours will be much happier outside when weather is warm/hot.

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Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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2 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

It can go outside if lows are above 45F (anything less than that will cause leaf spotting and yellowing). Coconuts want high heat, full sun and warm rain so yours will be much happier outside when weather is warm/hot.

Appreciate the reply! I suppose maybe in 3 weeks or so the temperature should be good enough! 🌞

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  • 3 weeks later...

Alrighty its that time of the year again, It's finally outside and nature is rebalanced and spider mites can kiss my *** 😂 anyway It made it through winter and this year I didn't baby it at all indoors, If I was hot and I wanted the fan on and the a/c blasting then that's what I did but it spent the majority of its time in what I would consider cooler temperature indoors, I should really get a thermometer in my bedroom so I can see what it's actually experiencing! I think repotting it before winter was a really dumb idea but it pulled through 😍

I expect the leaves this season to finally go full pinnate 🤠🌞🌴

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Edited by ZPalms
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Looks really good, @ZPalms. It should take off over your NC summer. Well grown

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Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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  • 1 month later...

What do y’all think if I drilled holes into the side of the trashcan for more air into the soil? Or will it not matter?

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Looks great! I think that the main threat is water in the bottom where water can remain for a time. I don’t think that in other areas it is critical as long as the plant receives light and heat. In the end, coconut palms live in areas where it is always moist. You can aerate the soil though by poking the soil with bamboo sticks or something like that.

Edited by CGMarko
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  • 4 weeks later...

Alrighty here’s a mid summer update! Working on its nature fronds, very excited! I wish it would move them out quicker but it’s what I’ve been waiting for! 🤠🌴

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Edited by ZPalms
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That new growth looks great. Well done.

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Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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  • 2 months later...

It's that time again; the coconut is moved indoors and protected from the chill, and it has grown significantly over the summer, with the new leaves being much larger compared to the older ones. 😍

Now that it has successfully made it this far and matured, it's time for me to start thinking about my next steps. I'm not entirely sure what I want to do going forward. My original plan was always to build a dedicated greenhouse for it, and that's still a possibility. However, with the way things are, it might not happen anytime soon. Even then, the coconut might outgrow its space, as it has already started poking out from the bottom, and it's not possible for me to use a larger container as it would become impossibly heavy. The tree is also starting to gain some weight itself.

I've thought about the idea of maybe selling it or even donating it to somebody or someplace that could continue to let it grow, and I'd be able to continue to see its progress.

As of now, I get to enjoy it over the winter in my room and possibly maybe one more summer before I decide what to do, but if anyone has a suggestion, I'm open to seeing them.

IMG_4150.thumb.jpeg.47ccc01384ddc504f5ee82a3d733918e.jpeg

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 10/23/2023 at 5:08 AM, ZPalms said:

It's that time again; the coconut is moved indoors and protected from the chill, and it has grown significantly over the summer, with the new leaves being much larger compared to the older ones. 😍

Now that it has successfully made it this far and matured, it's time for me to start thinking about my next steps. I'm not entirely sure what I want to do going forward. My original plan was always to build a dedicated greenhouse for it, and that's still a possibility. However, with the way things are, it might not happen anytime soon. Even then, the coconut might outgrow its space, as it has already started poking out from the bottom, and it's not possible for me to use a larger container as it would become impossibly heavy. The tree is also starting to gain some weight itself.

I've thought about the idea of maybe selling it or even donating it to somebody or someplace that could continue to let it grow, and I'd be able to continue to see its progress.

As of now, I get to enjoy it over the winter in my room and possibly maybe one more summer before I decide what to do, but if anyone has a suggestion, I'm open to seeing them.

IMG_4150.thumb.jpeg.47ccc01384ddc504f5ee82a3d733918e.jpeg

I remember when you first started this thread, this is very cool. Happy to see how big it’s gotten. Looks like sand on top, is it full sand that it’s potted in?

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4 hours ago, teddytn said:

I remember when you first started this thread, this is very cool. Happy to see how big it’s gotten. Looks like sand on top, is it full sand that it’s potted in?

Thanks! It's been cool to watch it from where it was to where it is now! 😁

I put diatomaceous earth on top of the soil to try and control the gnats that I assumed were in the soil. However, it did not help; I can tell the gnats are starting to increase, and I have no idea how to maintain and get rid of them.

The soil I have it in is Sta-Green tree and shrub mix with pine bark and perlite. 🤠

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24 minutes ago, ZPalms said:

Thanks! It's been cool to watch it from where it was to where it is now! 😁

I put diatomaceous earth on top of the soil to try and control the gnats that I assumed were in the soil. However, it did not help; I can tell the gnats are starting to increase, and I have no idea how to maintain and get rid of them.

The soil I have it in is Sta-Green tree and shrub mix with pine bark and perlite. 🤠

Gotcha, I had one year that was awful with gnats in my house. I fought them all winter with vinegar traps, the yellow sticky traps. And mosquito bits….🤬. The best way to control them is to let the soil dry out on top, the gnats really need that moist environment to reproduce and live. Not that you want to add weight if it’s already heavy, but top dressing with small pea gravel enough to cover all the soil at least an inch and a half or more thick basically eliminates the gnats habitat. There’s other products you can use just not anything porous like wood mulch that will just add to the problem. 

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52 minutes ago, teddytn said:

Gotcha, I had one year that was awful with gnats in my house. I fought them all winter with vinegar traps, the yellow sticky traps. And mosquito bits….🤬. The best way to control them is to let the soil dry out on top, the gnats really need that moist environment to reproduce and live. Not that you want to add weight if it’s already heavy, but top dressing with small pea gravel enough to cover all the soil at least an inch and a half or more thick basically eliminates the gnats habitat. There’s other products you can use just not anything porous like wood mulch that will just add to the problem. 

I tried using sand on my Majesty Palm one year, but it didn't allow moisture to escape the soil, and it died because the soil remained cool and wet. Will pea gravel allow moisture to escape? I keep my plants on the drier side, even though it makes them look terrible. Would I be able to maintain appropriate watering if I used pea gravel? It seems like all my plants are constantly on the verge of suffering and looking bad just enough to get them through winter.

I'm not a fan of mosquito bits because I have too many plants, and having to keep mixing water and letting it steep makes it challenging to ensure they all get what they need when I give them a good soak.

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54 minutes ago, ZPalms said:

I tried using sand on my Majesty Palm one year, but it didn't allow moisture to escape the soil, and it died because the soil remained cool and wet. Will pea gravel allow moisture to escape? I keep my plants on the drier side, even though it makes them look terrible. Would I be able to maintain appropriate watering if I used pea gravel? It seems like all my plants are constantly on the verge of suffering and looking bad just enough to get them through winter.

I'm not a fan of mosquito bits because I have too many plants, and having to keep mixing water and letting it steep makes it challenging to ensure they all get what they need when I give them a good soak.

Oh yeah, a bunch of my plants have gravel in their pots, pretty much all my cactus do, an aloe, a few agaves, dracaena, a few palms. Most of my palms don’t have gravel, but I also don’t have gnats atm knock on wood. Sand can definitely hold a bunch of moisture. Yeah gravels key feature is that it drains, definitely allows moisture to go down into the soil and evaporates off the gravel quickly. 

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9 minutes ago, teddytn said:

Oh yeah, a bunch of my plants have gravel in their pots, pretty much all my cactus do, an aloe, a few agaves, dracaena, a few palms. Most of my palms don’t have gravel, but I also don’t have gnats atm knock on wood. Sand can definitely hold a bunch of moisture. Yeah gravels key feature is that it drains, definitely allows moisture to go down into the soil and evaporates off the gravel quickly. 

Oh I'll definitely have to try this, I have such a terrible time with gnats! thanks!

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/23/2023 at 6:08 AM, ZPalms said:

It's that time again; the coconut is moved indoors and protected from the chill, and it has grown significantly over the summer, with the new leaves being much larger compared to the older ones. 😍

Now that it has successfully made it this far and matured, it's time for me to start thinking about my next steps. I'm not entirely sure what I want to do going forward. My original plan was always to build a dedicated greenhouse for it, and that's still a possibility. However, with the way things are, it might not happen anytime soon. Even then, the coconut might outgrow its space, as it has already started poking out from the bottom, and it's not possible for me to use a larger container as it would become impossibly heavy. The tree is also starting to gain some weight itself.

I've thought about the idea of maybe selling it or even donating it to somebody or someplace that could continue to let it grow, and I'd be able to continue to see its progress.

As of now, I get to enjoy it over the winter in my room and possibly maybe one more summer before I decide what to do, but if anyone has a suggestion, I'm open to seeing them.

IMG_4150.thumb.jpeg.47ccc01384ddc504f5ee82a3d733918e.jpeg

Hey Zpalms. A little late replying. But have you considered a zoo or aviary? At the NC Zoo they have an aviary that is huge and climate controlled to tropical conditions. It’s a giant paneled dome full with other tropical palms and plants, and birds. They don’t have any other coconuts from what I’ve seen, but they might plant it if you are interested. There’s definitely enough room for it to grow for a good while. Might be worth a shot. 

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  • 2 months later...

So in the past three years that I’ve grown this coconut and I’ve learned a lot of different things that seem to work, and what didn’t work and recently, as the coconut was brought indoors this year, which looked great in the beginning but slowly over time, I noticed it started declining. I knew that something was different that it didn’t like, which it could’ve been my fault because I was gone for 3 weeks but it wasn’t abnormal for me to not water it that long but maybe it wanted more water since it was putting on size which could've been my mistake. I also think that the soil was not absorbing water fully with it having dry pockets and became hydrophobic (which I still don’t know how to fix) and I had new windows installed and I never got around to installing more lights over the coconut because as it grew I knew that it needed more light and I never got around to installing more overhead and then the gnats issue that made me hesitant and overwhelmed to water.

but as a result of my own doing and not paying close attention with how I cared for it, overall it was very easy and carefree and my minor slip-ups caused the coconut to die.

Will I come back to this? I most likely will but definitely not in the way that I did it. I do not want no more new plants occupying my bedroom space and the coconut was a lot to handle gnats wise but also the floor space it required. Eventually, I will have a greenhouse with a decent high ceiling and then I will try it again reserving the same trash can for the next time and I’m guessing it should be more successful because it will never struggle without the sun and I’ll have access to water to drench it without having to worry about the baby pool (plant saucer) overflowing.

I still claim this as a success because it was very fun to do and I made it to pinnate leaves! So hopefully the next one will be more successful!

Just some things I’ve learned: Dwarf Green Malayan actually takes room temperature very well, but others people’s experiences may vary. My bedroom, for the most part, throughout each year, I had it indoors during winter. I wish I knew the exact temperatures my room experienced, but I never heated the room for it. I would guess 60°F and up, but sometimes it felt like 50°F, although that could just be me feeling cold. We run the A/C through winter, and it doesn’t kick on unless it thinks it’s over the temperature, and we keep that ranged between 69°F to 74°F. I also think making sure you don’t run a fan also helps. I always noticed spotting appeared when the fan was running, but maybe there's no connection and it just did that. Also, it’s a given, but the more light, the better! Previous years, I had tons of lights over it so it never lacked that, so lighting is very important!

Very sad but not the end!

imagine if I turned this into a lamp LOL

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Edited by ZPalms
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Rest in peace DGM (dwarf green malaysian). There is no doubt you brought joy to your father's heart and inspiration to us all. May your spirit of determination and perseverance be passed on to a new generation of coconuts...

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Zone 6b maritime climate

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