Cocos Species, Coconut Palm

Cocos nucifera

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cocos (KOH-kohs) (Info)
Species: nucifera (noo-SIFF-er-uh) (Info)


Edible Fruits and Nuts

Tropicals and Tender Perennials


Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:





Dark Green

Light Green

Medium Green


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:



Gold (yellow-orange)

Pale Yellow

Bright Yellow


Pale Green

Chartreuse (yellow-green)

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Under 1"

Bloom Time:

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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; direct sow outdoors in fall

Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Hayward, California

Newport Beach, California

San Francisco, California

Venice, California

Altamonte Springs, Florida(3 reports)

Big Pine Key, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida(2 reports)

Bonita Springs, Florida

Bradenton, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida(2 reports)

Cocoa Beach, Florida(3 reports)

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Holmes Beach, Florida

Homestead, Florida(3 reports)

Islamorada, Florida

Jupiter, Florida

Key Largo, Florida(2 reports)

Key West, Florida(2 reports)

Kissimmee, Florida(3 reports)

Lake Mary, Florida(2 reports)

Lake Worth, Florida(2 reports)

Lakeland, Florida(3 reports)

Maitland, Florida

Merritt Island, Florida

Miami, Florida

Naples, Florida

Odessa, Florida

Orlando, Florida(10 reports)

Palm Bay, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Ruskin, Florida

Sanford, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Sugarloaf Shores, Florida

Summerland Key, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Venice, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida(2 reports)

West Palm Beach, Florida

Windermere, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida(3 reports)

Winter Park, Florida

Ainaloa, Hawaii

Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaii

Hilo, Hawaii(2 reports)

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honomu, Hawaii

Kailua, Hawaii

Kaneohe Station, Hawaii

Kurtistown, Hawaii

Leilani Estates, Hawaii

Maunawili, Hawaii

Nanawale Estates, Hawaii

Pahoa, Hawaii

Dorr, Michigan

ST JOHN, Mississippi

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Cayce, South Carolina

Brownsville, Texas

Houston, Texas

Christiansted, Virgin Islands

St John, Virgin Islands

Deer Park, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 24, 2020, jasonthienzy from Kota Kinabalu,
Malaysia wrote:

I've had a decade worth of experience growing coconuts, mostly Malayan dwarfs and tall. Coming from Malaysia where the average is 30C with only distinct dry and wet seasons, I am able to watch them grow round the clock. I have grown them in coastal plains as well as up to 500 metres a.s.l. in a mountainous valley.

Apart from its multitude of uses, I adore the coconut palm for its aesthetics. The diversity of traits between varieties constantly stirs my curiosity. My interest is complemented by the fact that seednuts are readily collectible from public spaces around my city. By a months end, my hunt yields about 100 nuts in my pre-nursery!

My experience with Malayan dwarfs is enriching. Three color forms - MGD, MRD and MYD - set first fruit at about waist-heig... read more


On Mar 29, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council has listed this species as a Category ll invasive. That means that there is a danger of its altering native plant communities by displacing native species, changing community structures or ecological functions, or hybridizing with natives.


On Feb 20, 2014, DaveTorquay from Torquay,
United Kingdom (Zone 10b) wrote:

I grew a Cocos nucifera for a number of years in my garden in Torquay SW England. It germinated from a nut I bought back from a holiday to the Bahamas, I simply tossed it onto my side border, which receives sun from approximately 10:43am to 16:21pm during the summer months, where it readily sprouted. During its first winter I gave minimal protection with some low grade horticultural fleece, (probably overkill as Torquay very rarely drops below 10C/50F during an average winter), and it sailed through.The following summer it pushed out 8 new fronds, summers here have average highs of 32C/90F, with the hottest days reaching around 38C/100F and average minimums of 24C/75F, with some nights staying particularly uncomfortable with lows closer to the 30C/86F mark. The Cocos chugged along for seve... read more


On Jul 24, 2012, Palm1978 from Bonita Springs, FL wrote:

Very common in Southwest Florida - and thankfully so! Unfortunately, it suffers burn damage or death in cold spells, dies from LY and now is being invaded by the Gumbo Limbo Spiraling White Fly on both coasts of Florida. Fertilize it regularly and drench the bud with copper fungicide before the cold hits and - God willing - you should be able to maintain a beautiful coconut.

Common at retail stores - usually the Maypan variety. Supposedly the Fiji Dwarf is LY resistant but I have yet to see one example of this variety in our area. There are a few stunning Jamaica Talls (more towards the Naples area). Go to the Fairchild Gardens in Miami if you get the chance. They have a superb collection.


On Aug 20, 2010, puremagick3 from Brisbane,
Australia wrote:

I live in Brisbane, Australia (Late 27*S) and I have a tall Coconut and a Malay Coconut (both Seedlings) They are both doing extremely well. The climate here is Tropical/Sub Tropical (Very Similar to Miami). We get Wet season (Summer) highs of 30c (86F) and Wet season Lows of 22c (72F) and in the Dry season (Winter) we get highs of 21 - 22c (70 - 72F) and lows of 11c (52F) and high humidity for most of the year (70%) except in the dry season when the humidity can go down to 18% if the winds coming from the West (From the desert interior) but I have got no cold burn or wind burn on them and they havent stop growing all winter.

They seem to be doing extremely well. I had to repot them a month ago due to growth speed. All I have done is given them good potting mix and Seaweed ... read more


On Jun 2, 2010, FlKeysRedneck from Key Largo, FL wrote:

Coconut palms are my favorite palm tree of all.

I am eager to learn how many coconut palms survived Florida's record cold winter of 2010 especially in the further northern locales at the extreme limit of their growth zone of coastal Central Fl or those that had repeated sub freezing nights where there coconut palms sustained heavy to severe damage.

It was heartbreaking to see the amount of frond burn/ damage to the coconut palms up in the Miami area after the January 2010 record cold event. Even here in the Florida Keys there was some slight to moderate damage to many of the coconut palms despite the fact we had no freezing temperatures or frost.
I did extensive research over the past months on coconut palms. Even though Southern CA and south Fl hav... read more


On Feb 19, 2009, JamesPark from Auckland,
New Zealand (Zone 9a) wrote:

The most hardy plant I have ever known.

I wish! It is impossible to grow outside here, and excruciatingly difficult to grow indoors without a greenhouse. However, it is one of the most beautiful plants on the planet and almost every part of the plant is useful. They can be germinated from a supermarket coconut, but this rarely happens due to many being stored at a temperature too cool for the embryo to survive, the nut being cracked slightly so it is easier to open or just that the nut has no germination pore.


On Aug 21, 2008, grouper from Odessa, FL wrote:

You can find fruiting coconuts all over the Tampa area and especially along the beach in St. Pete/Clearwater. There are numerous 20' trees in neighborhoods 15 miles n. of dwntwn Tampa that have mucho fruto. Most of these planted after the winter of '89 and have gone almost un-scathed since. They are so cheap and plentiful in the nurseries why not try one? The area is beginning to show why it's the new z10.


On Jul 23, 2008, Jungleman from Pasadena, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I planted one outdoors when I was living in the Hollywood Hills, CA, Sunset Zone 23 (Newport is in Sunset 24, a slightly milder, more humid climate). It did not survive. I believe the problem was twofold in that it was overly irrigated in the winter (as we had no temps below 40F that year), though it was planted on a south facing slope. The soil type was rather sandy clay, so that was most likely a contributing factor in it's demise.

I believe it could have survived had I known what I know now about the Cocos requirements.


On Jun 7, 2008, Tetrazygia from Miami, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

Coconuts can be hardier than the 10b listed, wherever hard freezes don't affect them. However, they tend to fruit only in warmer areas and so typically only set fruit in coastal South Florida and Hawaii.


On Oct 21, 2007, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

Well,I planted on in my Northern California garden in July of 08. As of Jan 1st 2009,its alive and looking as it did in summer..seems to be still growing as the spear that it went into winter with is still opening.Slowly,but opening.
No heating cables or plastic covers are being used.
EDIT: No chance-it died by March. And I doubt the best protected spot does nothing more than get it through A winter..nothing more.
Just as it looking lush in the fall gave me hopes...seeing it die in a mild winter crushes any hope.
ADDED: It been proven that the Coconut palm can be grown fine in the Southern California Desert. Fruiting around the Salton Sea. Rare,but has been done.


On Mar 27, 2006, PanamaJack from Santa Monica, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I brought a coconut from my home country of Panama. I live in coastal Southern California, in Newport Beach. The coconut has been doing great! is has grown at an amazing rate. Since I brought it to SoCal during the winter, I have kept it mostly indoors, where I keep the temps around 72 degrees. I take it out on the balcony only on sunny days above 60 degrees. One week in February we had all days around 80 degrees and it loved the heat. Now I will be leaving it out during the day since temps are back into the 70s. Can't wait for the SoCal heat to kick in and watch my tropical baby grow!...I have posted a picture so you can see it. There's also a specimen on Pacific Coast Highway in the city of Newport Beach, about 45 miles south of Los Angeles. The palm is not too big, it has been there fo... read more


On Sep 30, 2005, AnaM149 from Casselberry, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is one of my most favorite tropicals. I really hope it will do well over our winters. I am hoping it will get tall enough in a year or two that it will be above the frosts. I keep mine in a spot of the backyard that ALWAYS gets flooded during storms. And the only time it actually dries (when you dig a foot or two and the soil is dry) is if it has not rained for a few weeks (about 5 or 6). Water will not be a problem. Cant wait for my first coconut!


On Jun 26, 2005, sweetthing from Cocoa Beach, FL wrote:

we first purchased 5 of our now 12 coconut palms at a local superstore. They were approx 18 in high. Now five years later, they are over 16 feet. We got our first coconuts last year on two of the five. They have done extremly well with little care but MUCH water. They surived the two hurricanes last year with no damage at all and we had winds over 100 miles per hr. We love them so much we planted 7 more and all are doing GREAT! They are beautiful and make our backyard into our little tropical paradise!


On Aug 30, 2004, OIIIIIO from Owings Mills, MD wrote:

Bought a nut from a grocery store that still had liquid inside.
Put it in a 5 gallon pot full of potting soil and sand mix.
3 months later it had sprouted!

I'm in the 5th month and it has finally gotten it's first frond at about 6 inches.


On Aug 27, 2004, tcfromky from Mercer, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Coconut Palms are, no doubt, the most universally recognized and economically important palm. Copra (the dried "meat" of the seed), from which oil is extracted, is a significant cash crop throughout the tropics. Coir, the fiber from the fruit, is used in manufacturing. The fruits, or coconuts, yield several food products at different stages of development, and the leaves are used for thatch or are woven into baskets, mats and clothing. Even the trunks are used for construction. Of the tribe Cocoeae, and subfamily Arecoideae they are also known by the botanic name Cocos nucifera.


On Aug 23, 2004, Kylecawaza from Corte Madera, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

IF you want this palm in Southern California it is possible. They do not die from the temperatures, but from a combining effect of the cooler temperatures, the water, and the soil. If you want it to survive, make sure you dig a large whole and fill it in with mostly sand, also plant it on a mound and in full sun, and NEVER water it in thje winter, or at times the average high temperature is below 75 degrees. There are a few surviving trees.


On Jul 9, 2004, tovis from Dorr, MI wrote:

Well looks like I am the furthest north growing in the database. I live in Michigan, plant was recieved via mail from Hawaii. Planted and have been caring for for about a month now and its growing.

Tree is wonderful, excellent conversation piece, and adds the element of paradise to any area it sits in, just like my banana plants.

To care for in Northern Areas bring inside on chilly nights, mist a lot on dry days, and just give it lots of patience and love.


On Jul 8, 2004, punaheledp from Kailua, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

this is hawaii...there are coconuts. like them best in somebody elses yard, or along the beaches, parks, pretty in lower valley areas... had one large and many of it's offspring but had it removed as I was not going to climb all 25'-30' of it for trimming and bringing in trimmers got old (falling frond is one thing, but falling coconuts where you may be is another). Called "niu" in Hawaii, it is from S. Pacific and brought here by early polynesians who used virtually all parts. there is something graceful about the tree, but they can get kind of spindley looking when REALLY tall. (used too leave extra nuts on curb, and almost always someone would pass by that wanted them) P.S. No problem with crabs, but rats are a problem. people band them with wide metal, but I have been told that'... read more


On Aug 13, 2003, Thaumaturgist from Rockledge, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

The nocturnal Coconut Crab or Robber Crab (Birgus latro) is a delicacy in the Cook and other Pacific Islands.

In the daytime, they simply rest in their holes. At nightfall, they come out and forage for small animals, roots and preferably Coconuts.

First they cut through the husk to reach the hard shell of a fallen Coconut. One can only imagine the strength and sharpness of their claws that cut through the Coconut's hard shell day in and day out. All the meat is removed flawlessly and consumed with hardly any left over.

Miami's 87-acre Fairchild Tropical Garden, named after the late Dr. David Fairchild, boasts one of the largest collection of Coconut Palms (Cocos nucifera) in the world.

So, what do you do with a... read more


On Mar 3, 2003, Greenknee from Chantilly, VA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Self seeds - coconuts float around the world in tropical zone, wash up on beaches and germinate. Trees never straight, but lean and curve. When blown over by hurricane force winds, they will right themselves.