I wish I could grow dates - Phoenix dactylifera

I’ve been collecting date seeds for more than 20 years and have been a huge fan of dates long before that. Luckily the seeds last for hundreds of years so if I ever find a place to grow them out they’re ready to go, or I can just give them to someone else to keep. Below are dates I sampled in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The two on the left are amazing - Safari and Kholas. Safari is a very dense extremely chewy date with excellent flavor that I have never seen in the US. Kholas is recognized in the Middle East as one of the best flavored dates and it truly has amazing flavor. Allegedly there is a date grower in Southern California that has a Kholas palm but keeps the dates for himself and his friends and will not sell them. Wanan is a large very sweet date that has a

simple flavor much like Medjool but seems to be from very different genetics than Medjool. To the far right are Lulu dates which are very popular in the UAE but not one of my favorites. The yellow dates are fresh Barhi dates which we do have in the US. Most fresh dates cannot be eaten because they are very astringent, like American persimmons, until they soften up. But Barhi and a few other varieties lose their astringency while they are still fresh and can be eaten while still crisp.


Do dates grow true from seed?

And I’ve heard they have dwarfing dates that you might be able to grow in a half-whiskey barrel and take them in for winter. Have you looked into that?

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What are climate requirements for ripening dates? I’m growing a few date palm trees from seeds as landscape specimens, but they are no-name and grow very slow, so I have no idea whether they will fruit, and even if they do the fruit quality probably will be subpar.

The problem in zone 9 or even some places in zone 8 is not winter cold. The problem is not enough summer heat. Dates won’t flower without enough heat. And even if they flower they won’t ripen without enough heat. Date palms grow fine here in the California central valley but they sometimes will not set fruit and even when they do it rarely ripens properly. Seedlings grow pretty quickly and start producing fruit pretty quickly (5 or 6 yrs old) if they get enough summer heat. Dates are not really true from seed but some populations of dates tend to produce somewhat similar seedlings such as Medjools.


Good luck w/ your seedlings! Clonal propagation is done by mounding soil up around the plant bases and collecting offshoots, or cutting down the palm and mounding to make a stool bed, once again collecting offshoots. I have a dozen or so queen palms that drop inedible dates – it’d be nice to have a palm that dropped something edible on my yard, sidewalks, head etc. It would provide some payoff for having to find creative ways to dispose of palm fronds. The green waste collector won’t take them, the county chipping program won’t chip them and the fire department won’t give me a burn permit to burn them. I resort to using them for roofing material for chicken and duck coops. So ya, a date would be nice.

medjool works fine in my zone (9b) … best if you try early varieties

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love those fresh dates! They have a nice tang to them, on top of the crunch.
wish i could grow deglets here. Then again, they do grow here but fruits are no good.
the canariensis is the only ‘edible’ date tree i see around here which sweeten their fruits enough.

very sweet and flavorful, in fact, but flesh is so thin it probably burns more calories trying to gnaw the tiniest bits off from the pits…

always a popular choice, especially for anybody with a sweet tooth.

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Dates being sold in one grocery store in Dubai -


For anyone wanting to try US grown dates straight from the grower check out these guys:


I ordered the Royal Treatment which had 5 varieties. They were much better than typical dates at the store, with different flavor profiles.


Does anyone know what’s the best way to treat the date seeds for propagation? Do they need stratification and if yes for how long?

Soak them in water for 24-48 hours. Plant in a well drained mix in a warm area - at least 75 degrees F. That’s it.


Anyone growing Butia capitata (aka pindo palm, jelly palm) for fruit? When grown in my environment and fed like a fruit tree the dates are quite good with apricot overtones.

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Richard I don’t grow them but there are some at the park I work at that fruit some years (cold gets them some years). Growing up in Baton Rouge there were several fruiting specimens around include a few at the nursery I worked at. The quality was variable but sometimes they were very good. I didn’t know if the difference was cultural or varietal.



From my past nursery operation, I grew them from seeds collected from a specimen down along the San Diego waterfront. These were started in 4" pots followed by 5 gallon pots, all the while on a low ppm professional palm formula. Most of my customers who planted them out continued with the palm formula as did I. They fruited (small crop) the following year. The seed size was identical to the parent but the average total fruit size was about 1.5" x 2", quite a contrast to the thin skin of fruit on the parent. These plants still reside in coastal communities of north county San Diego. The tallest of them is maybe 8’ high at the pseudostem, and perhaps 1’ diameter at the base. The fruits are still the same size range, and as mentioned earlier – the taste is somehow date x apricot.

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The ‘Ajwa al Madinah’ seem to command a premium price. Do you have any experience with them?

There’s a reason they grow them in Indio CA and not western San Diego County.

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I’ve eaten the Ajwa dates many rimes. They’re a good, small date, but they’re not one of my favorites.

Maybe it was just the size and color but they reminded me of Loquat a bit with a bit more bite. I enjoyed them when they were good.

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When I visit relatives in Beaumont, going the extra few miles to Hadley’s is always worth it!