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Palm family. Homeland - coastal regions of tropical countries. Coconut is the most famous of all fruit-bearing palm trees. It grows in one trunk, leaves in the amount of 30-35 pieces only at the top, they are pinnately dissected, dense, leathery, in nature they reach 5-6 m in length, in domestic specimens it is about 1 m maximum. The fruit is not a nut, as is commonly believed in everyday life, but a dry drupe. The shell of the coconut is inedible, and only the seed with the seed (copra) and the "liquid" - the endosperm (turbid water), called coconut milk, are edible.
However, it is not the best palm for indoor cultivation. It can be grown at home for a maximum of three years, since this plant is very light-requiring and requires space. She lives longer in conservatories or greenhouses with appropriate temperature and light conditions. From a small genus of coconut, only two types are grown in the room:
- Coconut Cocos weddeliana with narrow, drooping green leaves, silvery on the back of the leaf. A miniature palm suitable for a bottle garden. In winter, it requires a temperature of at least 18 ° C. Extremely sensitive to root damage, so transplanting must be very careful. Does not tolerate overdrying and direct bright sun.
- Coconut Cocos nucifera is a large plant even at a young age. Indoors it can grow up to 3 m, although it grows slowly. In a young plant, the leaves are long and narrow, similar to fish tails, in an adult coconut, the leaves are large and feathery.
How to grow coconut at home
The life of a coconut tree at home begins either with buying it in the store or growing it from a nut. To grow it yourself, though for a long time, is interesting! First, we need a coconut. The most common one, which is sold in the fruit department of the store. Choose the one that is heavier in weight, which has a light, dense shell, without dents and cracks - a damaged nut will easily rot. Pay attention: on the coconut there are three "windows" in the form of circles - these are sprout pores, they must be dense and not squeezed!
So, we chose a nut, now it needs to be soaked in water. In nature, coconuts are often washed into the ocean and travel through the waves, maintaining their viability for 3-4 months. Having nailed to the shore and hitting the wet sand, they germinate within 1-2 months. Best of all, without any problems, green coconuts sprout, but we don't sell them. Therefore, we need to soak the coconut in hot water to speed up the process. You cannot put it in a thermos, but it is quite possible to put a basin on a battery, and change the water periodically so that it does not deteriorate. Two weeks of soaking is sufficient. The fibers on it will get wet, peel off, and the woo needs to be cleaned off.
Now you need to plant the coconut. To do this, take a large pot, make sure that the holes in the bottom are large and not sealed. We fill in the soil: in equal parts universal peat (for example, soil for palm trees) and well-washed river sand sifted from dust. The coconut must be laid on its side so that it is covered with soil 2/3 of its height. The eyes should be immersed in the substrate (not necessarily all, at least one or two). Now all care consists in maintaining uniform soil moisture and temperature - preferably at least 30 ° C. Therefore, it is best to put a pot of coconut on germination in winter, on a battery. The main thing is that the coconut does not rot from excessive dampness and does not dry out too much. As soon as a sprout appears, we remove it from the battery and put it on the window.
Temperature: Coconuts are thermophilic, which means that both outside and in the room they need a temperature of 20-23 ° C. However, home conditions differ from natural ones in the absence of fresh air; at temperatures above 24 ° C, the coconut tree requires a powerful supply of fresh air. If you can open windows in the summer, then at other times of the year there is a problem with ventilation. It is better, of course, to keep the plant in the garden in the summer, and from autumn to spring on a warmed, but cool balcony, where the temperature does not drop below + 10 ° C. If the coconut is kept in the rooms all year round, then regular ventilation is needed.
Lighting: Bright diffused light, shade only from the hottest sun. The lightest window is provided in the room, while the coconut is small, but when it no longer fits on the window, you will have to put it in the room and provide very intensive additional lighting. In total, the daylight hours are 12-14 hours a day, most likely, you will need not one lamp, but at least two to illuminate the crown more evenly. As the palm grows, two lamps may not be enough. Think about it - natural conditions for a coconut are a lot of sun!
Watering: In summer (from May to September), watering is abundant, with the obligatory drying of the upper part of the soil. In autumn and winter - moderate, the earth should dry well, at least 2/3 of the height of the pot, but not dry out to dust. From May to August, every two weeks, fertilizing with fertilizer for palm trees or decorative foliage plants.
Air humidity: Coconut loves very humid air, so regular spraying is needed, especially in summer and winter during the heating season. The leaves are periodically wiped with a damp sponge. If in winter a coconut stands next to a battery, you will have to cover it with a screen or a damp sheet (moisten in the morning and evening) - dry heat from a battery is the most harmful effect for a coconut.
Transplant: Coconut, like many palms, does not like transplanting when the roots are disturbed, therefore, transplant only when the pot is small. But if the soil from above is covered with a salt coating, it must be carefully removed and replaced with fresh one. Soil for coconut: 1 part of light clay-turf soil, 1 part of leaf, 1 part of sand and a few pieces of charcoal. Drainage to the bottom is obligatory, 2-3 cm high. The acidity of the soil is 6.5-6.8, rather slightly acidic.