Plant Parenthood: Date palm

Life finds a way.

A few months ago, my friend Judy sent me some dates. I had not eaten dates in years, and to be honest, even when I was growing up in the Middle East, I don’t think we ate them very often at home. Still, the rich sweetness of the fruit and the density of its flesh brought back memories of Riyadh, and I was so grateful to Judy.

The rest of the family wasn’t too fond of them, so I ate them all by myself. I only had one or two pieces a day, usually with my afternoon coffee. Often, I was too lazy to get up and throw the seeds into the trash, so I just threw them into the ground outside the living room window.

Little did I know they would take root!

It was just a little shoot. I had no idea what it was, but it sprang up beside some other plants. At first we feared it was an anahaw, and my mom said it wouldn’t fit in the space beneath the window. So I uprooted it, and that’s when I saw the date seed attached to it!

I was so surprised and elated that I decided I would try to grow it.

A few days later, I saw another one, seed attached too. Both plants I moved to glass jars, sitting in full sunlight, with just a little water each day.

Date palm trees grow to be huge.

The date palm can grow up to 80 feet high and 40 feet wide, bearing large, sprawling, green fronds at its peak.

The Spruce

And apparently:

In its native North Africa, where it is farmed for its fruit, date palms (Phoenix Dactylifera) can reach heights of 100 to 120 feet.

SF Gate

Obviously we don’t have the space for something like that. But my research showed that if I keep it in a large pot, I can keep it indoors, and keep it to a maximum of several feet.

So let’s see where this goes.

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