Before we get into how to grow dates from seeds let’s just establish what type of plant it is. The Date palm is a tree that is part of the palm tree family. This tree is known and cultivated for its sweet edible fruits. Date palms have been priced since the early antiquity and the date palm is believed to have originated in modern-day Iraq. It is a staple delicacy in North Africa and the Middle East. Now they are spread all around the world and can be found in many countries. They are cultivated in many regions around the world that have weather conditions that are warm sunny summers with mild winters.
Dates squares are a scrumptious dessert. Date palm trees are known for their fruits, and these fruits are known for their sweetness and caramel-like taste. Imagine if you had your own date tree and could make date squares with freshly grown dates. Sounds delightful, right? This is possible to do once you learn how to grow dates from seeds.
Date palm trees are not only known for their fruits, but they also offer other benefits as well. Its trunk is used for timber, its leaves for making baskets, and syrup, alcohol, and vinegar are derived from its fruits. The sap is also used for beverage and is a delicacy in some countries, but the method of extraction severely hurts the tree so this is only used in date palms that yield fewer fruits.
Growing dates from seeds take a while but are well worth the wait. Although your tree takes some time to grow a decent amount of fruit, it won’t take up all your time with maintenance. If you’re interested in starting your own tree keep reading for more tips on how to grow dates from seeds. A fun fact, in Israel, a date tree was successfully grown from a date palm see that is 2,000 years old!
So, How Long Does It Take To Grow A Date Palm Tree?
If you’re wondering just how long does it take to grow a date palm tree, be prepared to wait a bit. When it comes to growing dates you aren’t investing your time into a plant, but instead a whole tree. Trees take time to grow, but with that, you get years and years worth of fruit to supply you and your family with.
It takes approximately 4 or more years before you see any fruit on your tree, and it takes anywhere from 7-10 years before your tree produces a full amount of dates. They can even live as long as 150 years old, but they are replaced before they reach that age since their productivity declines as they get older. Don’t let that discourage you from starting a date tree. In the meantime, you will still have a beautiful tree to keep in your yard.
How Fast Do Date Palms Grow?
It takes quite a few years to get fruit from your tree, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a beautiful plant in the meantime. So how fast do date palms grow? They can grow anywhere from 12-18 inches every year. After a few years, your tree should be taller than you! The date palm tree can grow up to 30 feet tall.
How To Grow Dates From Seeds
Growing your own dates is very rewarding and can supply you with a lifetime of fresh fruit as long as you care for your tree. This is not a high maintenance plant, but does require a little bit of work in the beginning stages. Let’s learn how to grow dates from seeds.
- First, you will need to find some date seeds. Go to the supermarket and purchase some ripe Medjool dates and collect the seeds from inside them. To tell if a date is ripe it should have wrinkled skin and have sticky fluid leaking out of it.
- Rinse your seeds off and make sure there is no leftover fruit on them. If the fruit is really sticky and won’t come all the way off, soak the date seeds in water for 24 hours and try cleaning again.
- Soak the pits in freshwater for 48 hours and make sure to change the water once a day. Absorbing the water helps the date seed prepare itself for the germination process. After 48 hours discard all the seeds that have floated to the top and only work with the seeds on the bottom.
- Dampen a piece of paper towel then take 2 date seeds and put on each end. Fold the paper towel up so that both seeds are covered and have a layer in between them.
- Collect a plastic sandwich bag with a seal and palace your paper towel in there. Double-check that the seeds are still in place before closing the bag up.
- Time to germinate! Store that bag in a warm dark spot for 6-8 weeks. The ideal temperature range should be 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep checking on your seeds to see how the germination process is doing. After 2-4 weeks you should see little roots starting.
- Once your date seed sprouts, you can put it in a pot. You can get the pots ready by mixing one part seed-starting compost and one part sand. Put your date seed in with half of it sticking out, and lightly water the soil. Top of the remainder of the pot with sand.
- After 3-8 weeks when the seed starts to sprout, look for a decent-sized planting pot with good drainage. Fill that pot up slightly more than halfway with potting soil. Keep the soil loose and don’t pack it down! Place your date sprout in the center of the pot, it’s sprout should be approximately 1 inch below the pot’s edge. Don’t plant more than one seed per pot!
- Hold the sprout in place while you fill the rest of the pot up with either soil or sand. Lightly pack the soil down just enough to keep the sprout in place.
- Give that plant a good drink of water and let it run out the bottom drain holes in your planting pot. Use that water to re-water you plant to keep the soil moist.
How To Care For Date Plants
Your date palm may be low-maintenance but they do require certain things to grow to their full potential. There are things you will need to know such as how often to water your plant, where to keep it, how to keep date seeds from mold, and when your date tree can be planted outdoors.
Knowing how to keep date seeds from mold is very important before you begin this process. This is one of the reasons it is important to change the water once a day when soaking seeds before germination. Also, when checking your seeds throughout the germination process make sure you check for any mold in the paper towel. If this happens switch up for a new piece of paper towel. You don’t need mold ruining your date seeds.
For best growth, place your date plants in a sunny area. The plant will grow best in full sunlight, so keep it exposed to as much sun as possible. Whenever the first 2 inches of soil feels dry is when you need to give your plant some water. It’s best to water the date palm whenever the water is needed and not set it based on a schedule. Its best to only water the date palm about once a week. Excess moisture in the soil will only inhibit their growth.
A part of the maintenance of the date palm tree is providing it with some fertilizers. It is best that you apply the fertilizer during early spring and you can use palm tree fertilizers that are high in potassium. It is recommended to fertilize every second year with magnesium sulfate. Make sure to constantly weed the soil around the date palm tree, at least weed the soil 1.5 meters around the palm tree.
Over the date palm’s growth stage you will need to re-pot it in bigger pots several times before it can go outdoors. When you notice roots at the bottom of their pot that’s when it’s time to re-pot them. Once your plant is near tree size then you can bring it outside. Wait until the tree is too big for it’s the biggest pot to put it in the ground. Plant your date tree in a location where it will have a lot of room to grow over the next decade.
What are the best ways to use Dates in cooking?
One of the reasons that we love dates is that they are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes, both sweet and savory. Here are some of the best ways you can use dates in your snacks and cooking:
- Sweet treats: Dates are a great natural sweetener and can be used in a variety of sweet treats, such as energy balls, granola bars, and smoothies. They can also be used to make date squares or added to baked goods like muffins, bread, and cookies.
- Salad toppings: Chopped or sliced dates can add a chewy texture and sweetness to salads. They pair particularly well with greens like arugula, spinach, and kale, and can be combined with nuts, cheese, or other fruits for a tasty salad. Aside from just eating them with cheese, popping them in a salad is one of our favorite things!
- Stuffed or wrapped: Dates can be stuffed with cheese or nuts, or wrapped in bacon or prosciutto for a tasty appetizer. They can also be stuffed with almond butter or peanut butter for a sweet snack. YUM!
- Sauces and dressings: Dates can be used to make a sweet and tangy sauce or dressing. Simply blend soaked dates with vinegar, oil, and seasonings like garlic or ginger for a tasty sauce or dressing that pairs well with salads or grilled meats.
- Moroccan cuisine: Dates are commonly used in Moroccan cuisine, particularly in savory dishes like tagines and stews. They can be added to dishes with meat, chicken, or lamb, and pair particularly well with spices like cinnamon, cumin, and coriander. Check out this amazing recipe for Moroccan Lamb with Dates – trust me it is absolutely delicious.
Overall, dates are so versatile which is why we think they are worth the effort. They can add natural sweetness and chewy texture to a variety of dishes, both sweet and savory. Experiment with different ways of using dates in your cooking and discover new and tasty ways to enjoy them and then don’t forget to share it with us.
Final Thoughts on how to grow dates from seeds
Growing a date tree sounds like a fun project that the whole family can get involved with. Your kids will love watching them grow and learn a lot in the process.
What is your favorite dish to make using dates? Let us know in the comments