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Growing Dwarf Coconut Trees – A Complete Guide

Introduction to Growing Dwarf Coconut Trees

Are you thinking of growing Dwarf Coconut trees? Well, you are in right place. The dwarf Coconut tree is a short stature variety of the palm-tree scientifically called Cocos nucifera. The scientific name is the same for all Coconut varieties and it is the cultivated species of Coconut plant. Commercially, Dwarf Coconut is cultivated in many tropical and Subtropical countries. Also, it can be grown as an ornamental plant in home gardens. Coconuts can germinate and grow into Coconut palms and start fruiting after 3 years under suitable climate conditions, rainfall, and environmental conditions. Generally, Dwarf Coconut trees can be successfully planted at any time of year, when given the proper care and the right conditions. In this article we also discuss the below topics about Dwarf Coconut trees;

  • Process of Growing Dwarf Coconut Trees
  • How long Dwarf Coconut varieties take to bear nuts
  • How tall do Dwarf Coconut trees grow
  • How long Coconut can be planted until harvesting
  • Which soil is best for growing Dwarf Coconut Trees
  • Dwarf Coconut Plant Care

A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Dwarf Coconut Trees

Dwarf Coconut palms are the second most common variety of tree species. They’re smaller than the tall Coconut tree. As the most self-pollinate, there are fewer varieties of this type of tree. The Coconut Dwarf tree is the preferred variety of the species for planting palm trees in home gardens. Dwarf palms grow up to about 5 meters and usually produce fruit after 3 to 5 years. Dwarf Coconut palms are lovely plants that produce tasty fruit. So what are we waiting for? Let’s start growing Dwarf Coconut trees.

Guide to Growing Dwarf Coconut Trees
Guide to Growing Dwarf Coconut Trees (Pic Credit: Pixabay)

Characteristics of Dwarf Coconut Trees

  • The Dwarf Coconut is small in stature (5-7 meters) and commences bearing earlier than the tall variety
  • The average life of Dwarf Coconut tree span is 40-50 years.
  • Dwarf or short variety which producing green, orange, and yellow color nuts.
  • Coconuts are small in size and ovoid or round.
  • Nut weighs about 85 gm with 65% oil content and susceptible to drought.

Botanical Description of Dwarf Coconut

Height – The height of Dwarf Coconut is about 15-20 feet. It is the average height of the tree variety. The average height of the tree is the height of a fully grown plant/tree.

Leaf –  Leaf color is yellow. An example is the yellow Dwarf tree and pinnate leaves are more separated than a variety in the juvenile stage and the leaf has is a sword-like shape.

Flowering – Year-round flowering and takes less than 5 years. The well-nourished plant can start flowering after 40 to 50 months.

Fruit and Fruiting – Fruit is yellow and orange. The fruit is small to medium size. Fruiting starts very early and it takes 3-4 years to produce the first crop.

Soil Requirement for Growing Dwarf Coconut Trees

Coconut palm trees grow in a range of well-draining soils with a pH level of 5.0 to 8.0. The Dwarf Coconut trees require from 40 to 60 inches of annual rainfall and a minimum average temperature level of 22°C. Red sandy loam soil, laterite, and alluvial soils are suitable.

Soil with a minimum depth of about 1.2 meters and fairly good water holding capacity is preferred for growing Coconut trees. Proper moisture and sufficient drainage are essential for Coconut trees. Mix your planting soil and use a mixture of half potting soil and half sand. And, also add some fine gravel or vermiculite to help aerate the soil. If you plan on planting Coconut outside, you do not need to use premixed soil. Find a location outside that has loose, well-draining soil.

Difference between Tall and Dwarf Coconut Trees

  • Generally, Tall Coconut palms have longer economic lives than Dwarf Coconut trees about 60 to 80 years and can live up to 100 years old under favorable growing conditions.
  • Dwarf Coconut trees are mostly self-pollinated and have fewer variations compared to Tall Coconut tree varieties. They are classified by the color of the Coconut fruits produced. Dwarf Coconut trees are smaller in stature than Tall Coconut varieties.
  • Dwarf Coconut trees have shorter economic lives than Tall Coconut palms and only live up to 60 years old. Normally, Dwarf Coconut trees can be planted per hectare of land.
  • Dwarf Coconut varieties show good resistance to virus diseases compared to Tall Coconut trees. However, they begin to bear fruits earlier, after only 3 years of planting. At about 10 years old, the trees come into regular fruiting. Similar to Tall tree varieties, the bigger the Coconuts, the lesser number of fruits found per bunch.
  • Compared to Dwarf and tall Coconut tree varieties, hybrid Coconut palms have more nut yields and higher copra production.

Dwarf Coconut Varieties

Dwarf palms are small in stature. They do not exceed 30 feet and often top out at around 16 feet in height. The Dwarf trees have a shorter lifespan than tall varieties, with a life expectancy of between 40 and 50 years. One of the best things about Dwarf Coconut trees is that they begin bearing fruit at a young age, sometimes after just 2 years. The fruit of Dwarf Coconut trees tends to be smaller than that of tall palms, though they are still a very popular food source.

Chowghat Orange Dwarf Coconut – It is an early flowering variety, and taking between 3 and 4 years to begin flowering and subsequently bearing fruit. The Coconuts produced by this Dwarf tree are round with orange skin. The trees have subtle yet sweet-tasting water and a high content of meat. The tree itself typically grows to about 16 feet in height and has an average expected lifespan of 50 years. Once it begins, it produces about 65 nuts each year per tree once mature. This Dwarf tree is sensitive to high winds and drought and then needs to be grown in a protected position in soil that is kept consistently moist. It requires warm temperature levels, ideally above 21ºC.

Macapuno Coconut – These Coconuts have much higher sugar content than regular Coconuts and making them ideal for use in desserts.

Malayan Dwarf Coconut – This palm is thought to be the most normally grown Dwarf Coconut tree across the world. The Coconuts are medium in size and measure about 6 and 12 inches. As long as you live in a suitable climate, this tree is easy to grow. It is drought-tolerant, salt-tolerant, and can survive in a different variety of soil types so long as they are well-draining. The Dwarf tree will begin fruiting at around 3 years of age.

Green Dwarf Coconut – Green Dwarf palm tree yields around 60 to 70 Coconuts per palm and begins fruiting in 3 to 4 years.

Fiji Dwarf – It bears fruit just several years into its life while it is still quite short, and it can be harvested by hand without having to use a ladder. However, as the Dwarf tree ages, it continues to grow to quite an impressive height, typically at a speed of about 1 foot each year. The Fiji Dwarf has several advantages besides its disease resistance.

King Coconut – King Coconut water is known to have excellent nutritional qualities, and it is prized for its health advantages. It has higher sugar content than most Coconuts, so it has a delicious sweet taste.

Some of the famous Dwarf Coconut cultivar is given below, which is a high yielding capacity.

  • Chowghat Dwarf Green
  • Chowghat Dwarf Yellow
  • Malayan Orange Dwarf
  • Malayan Yellow Dwarf

Propagation and Planting Material for Growing Dwarf Coconut Trees

Generally, use seeds and seedlings from nurseries where dry mature seed nuts are selected from high yielding healthy Coconut trees. Select seedlings at 6 to 9 months old or those with 6-8 leaves. The leaves should begin to split, an indication of desired photo-synthetic activity. Choose plants with straight, wide stems (3-4 cm or approximately 1.25-1.5 inches). The region which joins the leaf to the stem (the petiole) must be short and broad. The leaves should be broad, dark, and green. Discard thin, long seedlings with weak or curved and pale, green color, narrow leaves. Ensure seedlings are free from several pests and diseases.

Propagation – Propagation of Dwarf Coconut trees is done from seed. Bold and vigorous nuts should be selected. The broad surface of the nut must be pointed toward the upside. Germination takes 4 to 4.5 months. The Coconut palm is propagated by seeds. The mother palms must be regular bearers giving an annual yield of more than 100 nuts with the copra content of 150 g per nut. These Coconut palms producing barren nuts and shedding immature nuts in large numbers should be discarded for the nursery purpose.

Planting and Spacing Requirement for Growing Dwarf Coconut Trees

For growing a Dwarf Coconut plant, begin with a fresh coconut that still has the husk on it. When you shake it, it still must sound like it has water in it. Then, soak it in water for 2 to 3 days. After the Coconut has soaked, and then place it in a container filled with well-draining potting soil. Then, the container needs to be around 12 inches deep to allow for the roots to grow properly.

Plant the Coconut point side down and then leave one-third of the Coconut above the soil. Coconut trees do best in spots that are 21°C or warmer. To plant a Coconut that has already sprouted, go ahead and then plant it in well-draining soil so that the bottom two-thirds of the tree is in the soil. Place in a warm area and water frequently.

Begin planting at the start of the rains. About 30 x 30 x 90 cm at a spacing of about 8 x 8 m apart on the square and plant along the contour on sloping lands. Dig a deep hole, 30 to 60 cm and then place organic material such as dry Coconut husk at the bottom of the planting hole and cover with a 3:1 mixture of soil and pen manure. Place 100 g of NPK fertilizer to encourage rapid growth.

Process of Growing Dwarf Coconut Trees Indoors

Step 1) Firstly, buy a container with drain holes in the bottom. Rinse the course builder’s sand by using water until it runs clear. Then, mix soil-based potting soil and the rinsed course builder’s sand in equal amounts. Pour the potting soil-sand mixture into the growing container until it is one-quarter to one-third full.

Step 2) Set the seedling into the growing container. Then, pour the potting soil mixture into the container around the seedling roots and firm the soil gently around the plant roots.

Step 3) Purchase a container with drain holes in the bottom side that is twice the depth and width of the base of the Dwarf Coconut tree seedling.

Step 4) Then, pour water over the soil until it drains from the bottom and then set the Dwarf Coconut tree where it will be exposed to direct sunlight. Water it carefully when the top of the potting soil begins to dry.

How to Plant Dwarf Coconut Trees

Step 1) First, choose an appropriate location for your Coconut palm, where the tree will see the full sun during the daylight hours.

Step 2) Amend clayey soil by mixing it with organic matter like peat moss, to encourage proper drainage.

Step 3) Dig a hole just deep enough for the root ball of the Dwarf Coconut tree.

Step 4) Insert the root ball into the hole and then cover it with soil, so the uppermost roots of the plant are approximately 1 inch below the surface of the soil.

Step 5) Then, spread 3 or 4 inches of organic mulch on the soil beneath the crown of the tree, but do not allow the mulch to come within 4 inches of the trunk.

Step 6) Water the tree deeply, until puddles form around the base of the Coconut tree.

Cost of Dwarf Coconut Tree

The cost of the Dwarf Coconut tree is approximately ₹ 200/ Piece

Water and Fertilizer Requirements for Growing Dwarf Coconut Trees

Regularly apply fertilizer every 3 months for the 1st year at the respective rate of about 0.5 kg, 1kg, 1.5 kg, and 2 kg per plant. Then, this will encourage vigorous growth and early bearing. Then, apply compound fertilizers high in potassium (e.g. 16:8:24) every 6 months after the first year at 1kg per plant.

The Coconut tree is one thirsty plant. Then, keep the soil consistently moist by saturating with warm water once to twice a week. Your Coconut palm tree needs at least 1 inch of water per watering, especially if it was recently planted.

Pests and Diseases Control in Dwarf Coconut Trees

Coconut palms are resistant to insect predators, but you might see mealybugs or spider mites on the leaves. Coconut palms also affected by a fungal disease that causes yellowing leaves, dropping fruit, and eventual death. Coconut trees can be given antibiotics, such treatment is not always successful and most Coconut palms end up succumbing to the disease.

Provide the proper insect and disease management for your Coconut palms. If there are any signs of disease, a certified arborist can apply an antibiotic injection into the trunk of the Coconut tree. The most common disease for Coconut palms is lethal yellowing, which causes the leaves to turn yellow, and can kill the tree within 6 months. Injection of the antibiotic must be given every 4 months as soon as you notice the disease. Also, the specific antibiotic can be used to prevent lethal yellowing as well.

Care for Growing Dwarf Coconut Trees

  • Place a Coconut tree in full sun in an area with well-drained soil. Coconut trees grow well in most soil types with a wide pH level from 5 to 8. If you live in an area where the temperature falls below 21°C, it can be best to have your Coconut palm in a container so you can move it inside during the cooler months.
  • Once the Coconut tree has started growing and then water the Coconut tree frequently. As long as the soil drains well, you can’t water it too often.
  • Dwarf Coconut trees thrive in full, bright sunlight. As a good rule of thumb, you should aim for at least 6 hours of full sunlight each day.
  • Growing Coconut trees are heavy feeders that require regular, complete fertilizer. Look for a fertilizer that provides the basic nutrients plus trace nutrients such as boron, manganese, and magnesium. Then, Coconut palms are very cold sensitive. If you live in an area that gets cold, your coconut plant will need to come inside for the winter season.
  • Provide supplemental light and then keep it away from drafts. In the summer season, grow it outdoors and make sure you place it in a very sunny and warm spot.

Harvesting and Yield of Dwarf Coconut Tree

In case if you miss this: Hydroponic Farming Tips.

Yield of Dwarf Coconut Tre
Yield of Dwarf Coconut Tree (Pic Source: Pixabay)

If you are into growing Dwarf Coconut trees, you must be aware of their yield. Dwarf Coconut cultivars bear fruit after 5 to 6 years and they become fully productive after 6 years. When the Coconut tree becomes too tall, climb the trees to pick the nuts. Do not let the fruits fall to the ground and harvest the Coconuts regularly and do not allow the nuts to dry on the tree. This will delay new inflorescences and reduce crop yields. Yields change depending on the level of management. With good management, each Dwarf Coconut tree can yield 100-120 nuts per year. That’s all folks about growing Dwarf Coconut trees, hope you enjoyed the content.


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