It is a genus that includes some palm trees originating from the islands of the Pacific Ocean, cultivated in Asia, Africa and South America due to the large fruits known as coconut. It is a very long-lived plant, which in nature can reach 20-30 meters in height, produces a large umbrella-shaped inflorescence and large fruits with a thick and woody rind, with juicy and sweet pulp.
Cultivated in an apartment, it is a predominantly decorative plant, which maintains small dimensions, not exceeding two meters in height and which usually does not bloom. In the potted specimens we note the large walnut tree from which the plant starts, which consists of a stem bearing long green, pinnate and shiny leaves.
It is a plant of the Palmae family that includes more than 2000 different species.
The Cocos nucifera, in nature, has a crown that can reach 10 meters in width, with a trunk usually curved; in houseplants it is not very developed, with a grayish color with a smooth surface.
Cocos nucifera are plants that like very bright and sunny locations, possibly near a window; in spring and summer you can take the plant outside, taking care to shade it on days that are too hot to prevent direct radiation from causing burns to the foliage. They are plants that like a good air exchange, but very sensitive to temperature changes, so be careful where you place the plant, to prevent cold drafts from damaging them irreparably.
The temperatures for the cultivation of this palm are around 20 ° C and should not fall below 15 ° C to prevent them from showing signs of suffering.
The palms of cocos nucifera they can easily endure some days of drought, but they prefer damp soils, it is therefore advisable to water them frequently, waiting for the soil to dry slightly between one watering and another, but taking care to check that they do not dry completely. To prevent the soil from drying out quickly, especially during the hottest period, it could be useful to use mulching material to place at the base of the plant, so that it helps to maintain the right soil moisture. When the temperatures are high, then, it is good to intervene with the nebulizations of water on the leaves, better if using water without limescale.
It is advisable to provide fertilizer for green plants with water for watering every 15-20 days from April to October; during the rest of the year, administrations can be reduced.
To obtain a new specimen of this type of palm, it is necessary to obtain a still complete coconut, that is still wrapped in the semi-woody rind that is usually removed to consume these fruits; the walnut must be buried half or one third of its volume in a very well drained soil, containing a good percentage of sand and coarse material. It is advisable to buy the coconut already sprouted because usually the nuts on the market are not intact and therefore are now sterile. The ideal temperature for rooting the plant should be around 26/28 ° C, so the best time to put this operation into practice is summer. The soil must be kept constantly humid and the presence of new shoots should be seen after about 3 months. It is essential to place the plant in a protected environment with a constant temperature, using special lamps to maintain the ideal temperature.
Plants of this type are to be planted in soils that are light, soft and with a good degree of drainage, as the plant needs a good degree of humidity but does not tolerate persistent water stagnations, which could cause dangerous rots. The palm does not like calcareous soils, but prefers those with a good percentage of peat.
Given the rather rapid growth, it is good to intervene with the repotting every year, in the spring period, using a compound formed by peat, sand, soil, lapilli or crushed stone and humus.
Coconut - Cocos nucifera: Pests and diseases
Coconuts are hardly affected by pests or diseases, except for cochineal, but in rare cases. Rather these plants are motion sensitive to incorrect watering, both excessive and scarce, it is therefore appropriate to adjust according to the season, temperatures and humidity of the air.
They may also be affected by red spider mites, but, as with cochineal, they are not particularly affected by their presence, although, to prevent these parasites from spreading to other plants in the home, it is good to intervene with specific specific products that will defeat the problem. To eliminate the red spider mites it is also possible to intervene simply by increasing the quantity of humidity with more frequent nebulisations.