Phoenix dactylifera

date palm
True date palm. Suckering growth habit. Blue- green sharp foliage in open crown atop thin trunk.
Phoenix dactyliferaPhoenix dactyliferaPhoenix dactyliferaPhoenix dactylifera
height 30–50ft
width 15–20ft
tolerates Cold, Heat, Salt, Wind
Not all palms love water! This one is actually drought-tolerant and can live quite happily on little or no water once it’s established, though it’ll grow more slowly and may not look as lush. To keep your palm looking its best, be sure to water it consistently and deeply while it’s getting established, then after a few years give it a good deep soaking every couple of weeks. It will also be happy to have more water, provided the soil drainage is adequate.
exposure Full Sun
drainage In Ground: Cactus Mix, In Pots: Cactus Mix
fertilizing Palm Fertilizer
origin SE Mediterranean

Sunset Zones Map

Outdoor Exposure Guide


Full Sun
Six or more hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Shade
Three to five hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Sun
One to two hours of sun beams directly landing on the plants leaves.

Full Shade
The plant is never fully lit by sun beams, but is in a bright spot or has dappled sunbeams playing over the leaves throughout the day.

Deep Shade
The plant never has dappled light on the leaves, and is in a place that feels dim, even on a nice sunny day.


Growing Notes

Palms are generally heavy feeders, so if you want them growing quickly and looking their best, they should be fertilized at least three times a year. Fertilizing at spring equinox, summer solstice and fall equinox will allow for a winter rest. Be sure to feed your palm with a fertilizer that contains micronutrients (especially including magnesium), especially if you see yellowing leaves or yellow spots on the leaves.
Suckering palms like this one send out additional palm trunks from the base of the palm over time, so that you’ll end up with multiple trunks on one palm. If you want fewer trunks, go ahead and thin out the suckers; just be sure to do it when they are young to avoid unsightly scarring later on. Typically this palm has the suckers removed and is more attractive as a single trunked palm, though they do look quite handsome as multiples. If you’d like multiple trunks choose a dominant sucker where you’d like a second trunk and thin out any others that are not desired. Continue to do this maintenance over time as the desired trunks fill in.
This palm holds its leaves for a long time, creating a beard or skirt on the trunk. Typically this palm is best pruned by a professional who can sculpt their pruning to create the iconic textured date palm trunk. If you do decide to prune your palm avoid the sharp spines along the rachis (leaf stem). If fire retardance is a consideration the beard should be removed annually.

Special Interest

Edible dates! This palm is one of the few palms that gives edible fruit, but only where long hot summers exist in the Central Valley and Southern California. This palm is even grown commercially in Coachella Valley where fruiting is consistent. Since date palms are dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants) you will only receive those sweet delicious dates if there is a pollinator nearby. Many dactylifera are actually pollinated by nearby canary island palms, and this hybridization results in edible fruit. Almost all dactylifera are female, with only the occasional male tree.

This palm contributes to the oasis-style garden, especially when it’s mixed with cactus and other drought-tolerant plants like euphorbias. It also makes an unusual and yet compelling addition to the Mediterranean garden when mixed with lavender, rosemary, and olives.