How to grow tropical trees from seed

Homegrown tropical trees

Dragon Tree grown from seed
Dragon Tree grown from seed
Canary Date Palm grown from seed
Canary Date Palm grown from seed
Baby Dragon Tree
Baby Dragon Tree
Fan Palm
Fan Palm
Poinciana grown from seed
Poinciana grown from seed

Growing trees from seed is fun

Growing your own trees from seed can be easy and is a lot of fun. It provides a sense of achievement as you watch it your own little trees get taller and taller.

Many tropical and sub-tropical species will germinate readily from seeds. If you live in places where palms are planted, for example, you will be able to get seeds for free underneath trees in your area. Where I live in Tenerife I see thousands of seeds going to waste on pavements and streets where they get swept up and thrown away. If I go into shop or look online I have to pay quite a bit for the same seeds.

If you live in a non-tropical country you can grow tropical trees indoors as houseplants. Many fruit pits or stones will readily germinate and the Avocado is a good example of one to grow like this. I have also grown Kumquat and other citrus fruit trees from seeds found in fruit I bought.

When I was living back in Wales I had Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) trees growing as high as my ceiling. The first one I grew was from seeds a friend in Australia sent me. Where I live now the Jacaranda is a commonly planted ornamental tree and so is the Poinciana of Flame of the Forest (Delonix regia).

Both these very pretty trees produce plenty of seeds in their curiously-shaped pods. The little trees grow fast and look very attractive with their delicate foliage.

Many palms are easy to germinate and I have Canary Date Palms (Phoenix canariensis) and Desert Fan Palms (Washintonia filifera) both doing well.

The crazy thing about all this is to buy trees from a nursery or gardening centre will cost you a lot of money and to grow your own is free or a very small cost and gives you a sense of achievement too.

I have found that the Dragon Tree (Dracaena draco) comes up easily from seeds too as long as you soak them for a day or so before planting, and then exercise some patience because this species needs as much as three weeks to a month to germinate.

This is the case with many trees seeds that are hard and come in the form of pips and stones. It is always best to soak before planting and be prepared to wait a while before you can expect to see the first green shoots.

Obviously trees like a lot of room when they get bigger but what you do with them when they are too big for where you have them is something you can think about later. In the meantime just give them a larger pot each time their current ones become rootbound.

I always think it is really sad to think of how many seeds from fruit trees get thrown away as rubbish every day all around the world. They could all be growing forests and orchards of fruit trees.

Many trees are so easy to grow from seed that they will even grow if you simply scatter seeds on the soil. I remember back in Wales I had too many plum trees in my back garden because I had thrown the stones of fruit I had been eating outside onto my garden and they had germinated without even being planted.

This happens here too and I often spy baby palms growing or trying to grow in borders and even in cracks in the pavement where the seeds fell.

We can make our homes and gardens more beautiful by growing our own trees too. And it's a lot of fun experimenting with finding out if you can grow something from seed. So I say let's help Mother Nature by planting more trees.

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

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Comments 20 comments

advisor4qb profile image

advisor4qb 7 years ago from On New Footing

Well, I am not much good at gardening. You make it look so easy!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 7 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

It really is easy with many trees! Like I said some of them will grow if the seeds are thrown on the ground and even in cracks in the pavement so imagine how much better they can do if properly planted in a pot and looked after!


Georgiakevin profile image

Georgiakevin 7 years ago from Central Georgia

Great hub. I wonder if I can demonstrate this to my students in class.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 7 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thank you! You could maybe suggest they bring in some tree seeds and you could all plant them and see how many come up. Get a lot of plant pots.

See what tree seeds they can find in your area or they can save from bought fruit. For plant pots they could be maybe be inventive and use empty containers as long as there's a hole in the bottom for drainage. That would teach about recycling too.


advisor4qb profile image

advisor4qb 7 years ago from On New Footing

Well, I am a big fan of "surprise gardening," because that is all I have done! I will have to throw some seeds into the cracks of the sidewalk when I get a chance!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 7 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

I have noticed that plants and trees in cracks often do well because surrounded by concrete they are not so likely to get eaten by pests. Actually on this island there is a tree growing out of the front wall of a house in La Laguna that gets lots of photos taken of it!

If you removed people from built up areas the plants and trees would eventually break up the concrete and pull down the walls.


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

Really liked the picture of the Poinciana tree in full bloom. As more and more business close and properties are neglected here in the states, especially here in Florida we see nature taking back quickly what used to be hers.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 7 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thanks for your feedback, Jerilee!


Sarah m Marie profile image

Sarah m Marie 7 years ago

Your hub is wonderful! I love the pictures and the story as well. Thank you for bringing nature's inspiration right into our homes!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 7 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thank you, Sarah, for appreciating it!


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

My sister has a lemon tree - lovely shiny leaves - that she has to cut back often. It's touching the ceiling! All from a little seed after making a pot of iced tea!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

I am glad to hear it, Dolores! That is another good example! The citrus fruits are all easy to grow as well.


Adamgreen profile image

Adamgreen 6 years ago from Peterborough

Really interesting article. Here in England garden centres charge £100+ for big citrus trees. Not all about the money I know, but it goes to prove how you can get your own trees and have the pleasure of watching them grow without costing you anything. I'm waiting for 2 lemon seeds and about 6 orange trees to germinate now. Hopefully I'll see them come through soon!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Good luck with your seeds, Adam!


Shady Man 6 years ago

Great post. I'm a plant hobbyist and I just came across this dragon tree plant as a seed and description. Most websites say that they won't grow into full trees, but I was wondering if there were some tricks of repotting to get them to grow into their native sizes (40 ft+)? I live in a subtropical region.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

They are very slow growing so you need many years to get them in anything like a tree form. They prune the leaves off here which is a cheat really because it forces that plant to grow taller faster by producing new leaves just like with palms. I have one here that has grown about 10 inches in five years to give you some idea. Obviously you would need bigger and bigger pots to accommodate them. They will not flower until they are around 5 foot high (minimum) and only branch after flowering. Some do not do this for many years and there are 20 ft specimens with a straight trunk and a rosette at the top.


stars439 profile image

stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Beautiful plants, and magnificent colors. God Bless.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thank you, Stars439!


Mini Greenhouse Guy 5 years ago

Hi Bard, great hub here, really interesting and useful tropical tree info. I live in a cooler climate so im more limited in my choices but ill be keeping an eye out! Thanks


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Well of course it is possible to grow tropical trees indoors or with frost protection in winter in colder places although they can never reach the same height as in a warmer climate. So many seeds go to waste here. We had recent storms and where I live thousands of Washingtonia palm seeds were thrown on the ground in a carpark. They have been swept up and dumped over a wall into a border. When they sprout they will no doubt get uprooted and thrown away. Each one planted properly could be a new tree!

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