Fan Palm With Seed Pods On It

Q: I have a twelve-year-old fan palm outside. The tree has seed pods on it. How and when can I take the seed pods off and plant them? 

A: There are several different plants that are called fan palm. In general, harvest palm seed when several have fallen from the seed bunch, indicating that most are close to maturity. Use a sharp knife to slice a few open to be sure they are green and healthy looking inside. Clean off any extraneous material. Put the seeds in a bucket of water. Healthy seed usually sink to the bottom; most floaters are not viable. Fill an 8” clay pot with a 1:1 mixture of sand and potting soil. Scatter several seeds on top and cover with a half-inch of soil. Moisten the soil and put the pot into a resealable plastic bag. Store the pot in the warmest place in your house. On top of the refrigerator or above kitchen cabinets are places to consider. Mark your calendar to check on the seeds every two weeks. It may take several weeks or even several months for the seeds to germinate. When green shoots do appear, care for them until they are a few inches tall and then gently transplant each one to an individual 10” pot.