Date Palm Tree Phoenix dactylifera

(meaning date bearing)

Phoenix dactylifera is the edible Date palm tree grown for the sticky sweet fruit it produces. True Date palm, Medjool Date palm and Deglet Noor are the popular cultivars for sale here.

Date palm tree in fruit. Central Florida.

The North African date palm was one of the first cultivated plants. Dates have been an important food source for the peoples of Africa and the Middle East for many millennia.

This is a suckering palm which, left to grow naturally, will form a multi-stemmed clump. Most growers prune the suckers away to make single stemmed trees out of them.

This is a very tall palm which can grow to 100 feet. The sometimes glaucous feathery fronds can grow to 18 feet long by 2 feet wide creating a 40 foot wide canopy atop the tree. Leaflets at the base of each frond are modified into sharp 4 inch spines.

The trunk of the date palm tree is characterized by diamond shaped leaf scars.

The grayish fronds of the edible Date.

In the spring, 4 foot flower stalks emerge from amongst the canopy. The off-white flower clusters are not showy but the fruits that soon follow sure are. Male and female flowers grow on separate plants. Females alone produce edible fruit and will only do so if a male tree is in close proximity.

The immature fruits range in color from yellow to red and turn brown as they ripen. They are about an inch and a half long and each one contains a large seed. They hang from the tree’s canopy in bunches like grapes.

Unpicked fruit will drop and make an animal-attracting mess on the ground.

True Date Palm Germinated Seedling or Sprout – $24.95
Retail Price: 29.94
You Save: $4.99
From: Real Palm Trees
Buy a 25′ Deglet Noor Date – Large Palm Tree – $1399.95
Retail Price: 1679.94
You Save: $279.99
From: Real Palm Trees

True Date Palm – Seeds – $ 11.95
Palm Seeds – Freshly Harvested by Season

Buy a 27′ True Date – Large Palm Tree – $1399.95
Retail Price: 1679.94
You Save: $279.99
From: Real Palm Trees

As the tree matures, the fruit will be too high up to pick easily. If you want a palm of this scale but don’t want the mess, plant a male tree.

Phoenix dactylifera will not set fruit if the weather is too cool. In humid climates (Florida for instance) the dates will form but will often drop before they are ripe.

Tips for Growing Date Palms

Buy a 25′ Date Palm v. Medjool – Large Palm Tree

Dates are grown commercially in Israel, North Africa, Iraq, Arizona, and southern California. Date palms adorn landscapes anywhere winter freezes do not last very long. Trees are hardy as far north as Jacksonville, Florida which is in USDA zone 8. The foliage may suffer freeze damage at that location.

These trees are not picky about the soil they are planted on, but they are partial to strong sun and heat. They are tap rooted and therefore drought tolerant, but grow best when watered regularly.

Because of their ultimate size, date palms are best used to landscape commercial buildings or multi-story homes on large lots. They can be seen in abundance, adorning the grounds of Las Vegas hotels.

The date palm tree is vulnerable to lethal yellowing so avoid planting it near palms infected with this fatal disease.

Young Phoenix dactylifera plants grown in Florida should be treated with a fungicide to prevent leaf spot.

Like most palms, P. dactylifera can be propagated from seed. Date palms also produce suckers on their trunks and around their roots. Young trees sucker more often than mature specimens.

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