Coconut trees are some of the most valuable plants you can have in your backyard. For one thing, their fruits yield many products that are both nutritious and versatile. Coconut water, oil and milk are versatile ingredients that are great for cooking. Anyone looking to raise these plants can look forward to reaping the benefits it can give.
But the main problem anyone faces with raising them is the temperature. Anything over 72 degrees Fahrenheit or 22 degrees Celsius is sufficient. This is why these plants thrive best in tropical conditions if you want them to bear fruit.
If you’re interested in growing your own coconuts, here’s a short guide to plating them.
To check whether the coconut is fresh, you can try shaking the nut. Good coconuts usually have more water in them, making them weigh around 6 pounds. And if you shake it, you should hear the liquid sloshing around. It’s recommended to pick the ones that have just fallen from their trees, as these are ready for planting. Those that are dry inside are fully ripened copra coconuts, which means they aren’t viable for use.
Once you’re sure that the nut is fresh, it needs to be soaked in a bucket of water for two days to prepare the husk. You also need to prepare a potting soil mixture that is moist and fast-draining. While soil pH is not an issue with coconuts, it needs constant watering each day. It’s recommended to use equal parts of coarse sand and soil to mimic its natural environment.
When planting the coconut, you need to place it with the side connected to the tree pointing upwards. Also, be careful not to bury the entire thing, because that spot is where the sprout will grow once it germinates. To accommodate it, a 3-gallon pot will work best for its size. Finally, place the plant in a warm place to allow growth. At least 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or 32 to 37 degrees Celsius will work.
Once you’ve set the plant in its ideal area, you need to constantly water the visible area of the husk. Keeping it moist will prevent it from drying out. From the time of planting, the nut will germinate from four to nine months. At this stage, you should see the roots and the shoot pushing out of the husk. From here, the plant will be viable for transferring out of the pot within another six months. This will allow it to grow and mature into a full coconut tree.
When selecting the transplant site, make sure that the soil composition allows the water to drain well. Pick a spot where it will be exposed to complete sunlight and dig an area that’s equal to the size of the three gallon container you used to hold the nut. Once you’ve prepared the hole, gently remove the young plant and place it in. Be sure to water it weekly during its first year to keep the soil moist, but not drenched. Applying a layer of organic compost (bark, leaves etc.) will also discourage weed growth.
It’s also important to note that coconut trees will take at least 5 years to grow to their full height. Healthy trees will produce at least 50 nuts a year, making it a viable source of income if you intend to sell them.