Wild Date Palm, India Date Palm

Phoenix sylvestris

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Phoenix (FEE-niks) (Info)
Species: sylvestris (sil-VESS-triss) (Info)



Foliage Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer


Grown for foliage


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Encino, California

Santa Barbara, California

Visalia, California

Boca Raton, Florida

Brandon, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

Niceville, Florida (2 reports)

Palm Bay, Florida

Venice, Florida

Houma, Louisiana

Kenner, Louisiana

La Place, Louisiana

Lutcher, Louisiana

Metairie, Louisiana

Beaufort, South Carolina

Bluffton, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

North, South Carolina

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Alvin, Texas

Austin, Texas

Schertz, Texas

Streetman, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 16, 2012, SouthTexaspalm from Cibolo, TX wrote:

This palm grows quickly in the San Antonio area. While it does get damaged by temperatures between 23 and 21 degrees F, the spear for me has stayed green and by Labor Day, it has fully recovered. This palm should be more widely planted here. Does great with the heat and drought.


On Feb 13, 2012, NorthSC from North, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I planted Phoenix sylvestris (purchased in a blue plastic pot from LOWE'S in 2011) in the ground in the spring of 2011. It grew quite some and when the winter came it was a mild winter of 2011-12 and the lowest temp was 22F just one night and then more than a month later we had 28F followed by another night of 25F. The palm is brown some and green some, but I was able to pull the central spear. So it either is fully hardy (as a 4 ft. plant) to Z10 or perhaps it is true when some nursery specialist told me to NOT purchase any palms in blue pots from LOWE'S, because he said the nursery who grows those palms treat them with something that makes those palms 1 full hardiness zone less hardy. So whichever is true I was surprised that in Z9A (mostly Z9B) weather this palm that should survive Z8B ... read more


On Feb 11, 2011, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This excellent, if very spiny, palm is becoming quite popular as the date palm of choice in southern Louisiana. I will always consider it the "poor man's Phoenix dactylifera," but it does have one big thing going for it: It's all but immune to graphiola (false smut), a leaf problem that plagues P. dactylifera and P. canariensis in humid areas with lots of rain. It (along with P. dactylifera) also is immune to the terrible Fusarium wilt that devastates P. canariensis. Its growth rate is intermediate between those two. Mine is extremely cold-tolerant, showing zero damage down to the mid-20s F, despite being in a pot (~15 gal.) on a cold concrete driveway. Some specimens have a very orange/peach color to their upper trunks / leaf bases, while others are more of a standard date palm gray... read more


On Mar 21, 2010, donnacreation from Sumter, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

This palm was heavily marketed here in central SC last summer. I planted three in mid August, and protected two with xmas lights and frost cloth in Dec. The unprotected specimen turned brown, but it is still alive with a half green spear that won't budge. The specimens protected are beautiful and green. I only protected them for about 2 months, and only burned the lights those nights when the temps dropped below about 22f. I moved 2 a few weeks ago and was amazed that they had developed extensive root systems in only 7 mos. I will never attempt to move another Sylvester date - they root quickly and are covered in dangerous and very long thorns. I'm hoping that they will become more hardy with age, so winter protection is no longer necessary. Time will tell.


On Jun 6, 2007, AmandaTaylor7 from Alvin, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

WOWOWOWOWOW!!!!!!!! How beautiful!


On Jun 12, 2004, gardnerj from Streetman, TX wrote:

Sylvestris dates are not supposed to do well in my temperate zone, 8a-8b. It has survived it's first winter and seems to be doing quite well.


On Aug 30, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a striking Phoenix, though often confused with Phoenix canariensis. It has more blue-green leaves with more visciously spiney leaflet tips, and slightly more plumose looking. Finding 'true' undiluted species is not that easy, but they are around. I have had several seedlings and they are particularly slow, but forgiving palms (take 'unintentional' drought well).


On Aug 29, 2003, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is another palm in that promiscuous phoenix tribe that includes the pygmy date [P. roebelenii], the California date [P. dactylifera], the Senegal date palm [P. reclinata], and the Canary Island date [P. canariensis].

The picture I have posted, however, is a one of a kind--it's a three-headed palm. I've heard [but I don't think it's true] that there are only a half dozen multiple-head palms extant. Whatever; this is one--a three-headed sylvester.