Here’s How Much Water Coconut Trees Need (Watering Tips)

Coconut palms with cows in bali. Tropical island

When you think of coconut trees, you probably think of tropical trees surrounded by perfectly blue water. Would you believe they still require a LOT of water? Here’s how much water coconut trees need.

Coconut trees need 15-30 gallons of water per day if being grown for fruit harvesting purposes. They can also be grown indoors, but need much less water since they will not bear fruit. The amount of water a coconut tree needs will depend on it’s climate, which is generally tropical.

If you think about it, it makes sense that coconut trees need so much water, especially since coconuts are 94% water! As we mentioned, you can grow a coconut palm indoors, but remember, it will not bear fruit. Read on to learn more about Cocos nucifera, the coconut tree and how much water coconut trees actually need.

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What Is A Coconut Tree?

So you might think, what exactly is a coconut tree? Did you know there is only one species of coconut tree? It is the Coconut palm, Cocos nucifera. People have used coconut trees for centuries, for a multitude of reasons. 

The coconut tree, Cocos nucifera, is a palm and the only living species in the Cocos genus. Contrary to its name, the coconut is a fruit, not a nut. 

Today, we use things from coconut meat for coconut oil, coconut water, and coconut milk for cooking, consuming, and baking. In other parts of the country and around the world, all parts of the coconut trees are used. It is used for things like baskets, arrows, furniture, dyes, instruments, syrups, and utensils, to name a few.

The coconut tree or coconut palm is found in hardiness zones 10–11 where the weather is hot and tropical. Coconut trees or palms are part of the palm family called Arecaceae.

They are characterized by having a single leaf or frond and no branches! It grows up to 100 feet tall and does not grow any branches, but rather palm-leaf stalks, which are roughly 3-5 feet long.

Coconut palms can produce around 50-200 coconut fruits per year depending on the variety and climate. Coconut palms typically do not produce fruit until 3-8 years of age, but once they produce fruit, they do so year-round.

Did you know that the coconut tree will continue to produce fruit for 80 years?

How Often Should I Water A Coconut Tree?

Coconut trees are found in warm tropical climates, meaning they love the heat and humidity! Although they can tolerate some dry soil conditions, it’s not ideal. 

How much water a coconut tree needs depends on its location, cultivar, climate, and what it’s being used for. Is it producing fruit for consumption, or is it an indoor houseplant? Yes, you can grow them as a houseplant!

Coconut palms, as we mentioned, love the humidity. If you are going to grow a coconut palm indoors, your best bet is to have a humidifier, as you would for any other tropical plant. 

Watering coconut trees is where most of the trouble lies, especially if you are growing one indoors. Over-watering causes the death of most house plants, which is what makes some of them so fussy.

Farm Grown Coconut Trees Need More Water

If it is producing fruit and being grown in a tropical area, naturally, it may only need water during dry periods. 

If it is being farm-grown, depending on the method of irrigation, it could need anywhere from 4-30 gallons of water a day, and even up to 108 gallons per week!

Just like any other plant, depending on its age or stage in its life cycle, that will determine the amount of water that the coconut tree needs making it all more important to know how much water your coconut tree needs. In the germination stage and the first year of the coconut tree’s life, it needs frequent attention and care.

Tall Coconut Trees Need The Most Water

Tall coconut trees need the most amount of water, as mentioned, and are not drought tolerant, however, certain types of dwarf coconut trees need half the amount of water as tall coconut trees and are even drought tolerant.

Indoor Coconut Trees Need The Least Water

If you are growing a coconut tree inside as a houseplant, water it once the top half of the soil has dried out. However, if the soil is soggy, too wet, or left in standing water, it spells out peril for your coconut tree. So basically, you want the soil to be moist, but not overly wet.

To measure the moisture of the soil in your plants, a moisture meter will be your best friend.

One of the best recommended soil moisture meters is SONKIR Soil pH Meter. It’s easy to use, does not require any batteries, and will save your plants.

What Else Do Coconut Trees Need Besides Water?

Fresh coconuts in the bunch at coconut tree.

Have you ever thought of exactly where palm trees grow? Well, you certainly don’t see them growing naturally in New York, except maybe at restaurants or around someone’s pool. Coconut trees grow in hot, humid, tropical environments.

For more on this, check out Here’s Why You Can’t Grow Tropical Palm Trees In New York.

So, aside from specific watering needs, coconut trees need high humidity, heat, well-draining soil, and lots of sunlight!

Humidity

Since we already covered the watering needs of coconut trees. Let’s talk about humidity. Coconut trees need at least 70% humidity. Although they can tolerate some dry heat, over time, your coconut tree will suffer. 

A great humidifier for any of your indoor tropical plants is the Air Innovations Humidifier! This humidifier runs 100 hours and operates quietly with it’s 1.6 gallon-capacity humidifier!

Warm Temperatures

Coconut trees need heat! They grow in warm, tropical, humid climates, so if you decide to grow your own coconut tree, make sure the temperature is warm! 

All this has to mean is the temperature in the room where you’re growing your coconut tree is at no less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but ideally, they will grow best at 80 degrees Fahrenheit and above!

Well-Draining Soil

Coconut trees, like other tropical plants grown indoors, need well-draining, tropical plant-specific soil! Most palm trees prefer well-draining, loamy soil. Tropical plant mixtures can include perlite, earthworm castings, coconut coir, shredded bark, and more!

A popular choice of potting soil for your coconut tree is the FoxFarm FX14100 Coco Loco Potting Mix

Many plant owners choose FoxFarm soil for its exceptional quality, and the best thing about this tropical coconut coir potting mix is it holds its weight in water while still being well-draining! This means the plants can suck up nutrients and water as needed while reducing the probability of root rot and insects!

How Often Do Coconut Trees Bear Fruit?

Once your coconut tree becomes of mature age, which is around 6-10 years old, it will begin to bear fruit and produce coconuts year-round. However, it will take a year for coconuts to ripen once your tree flowers. 

Each coconut grows in a bunch on a coconut tree, which is part of a bunch of anywhere from 5-15 coconuts. How many coconut fruits a coconut tree produces depends on the variety and climate, including temperature, sunlight, humidity, fertilizing, and watering. 

What you use the coconuts for will determine when they get harvested. For coconut water, coconuts can be harvested 6-7 months after the coconut fruits sprout.

However, if you want to use the coconut for copra, then it takes almost half a year longer to ripen for use. Copra is from dried coconut kernels, which coconut oil is made from. 

Because coconuts grow in bunches, you can harvest the coconut bunches all at once, and all coconuts in a bunch will ripen at roughly the same time.

Can I Grow A Coconut Tree Indoors?

Indoor pots plants, next the window in the morning. Decorative palm.

Yes! You can grow a coconut tree indoors. 

Remember, coconut trees are found on or near beaches in hot, humid, sunny climates. So yes, you can grow a coconut tree indoors, but you need to give it optimal conditions of humidity, sunlight, temperature, soil, and water!

Also, a coconut tree grown indoors will grow given the right conditions, just like many other tropical house plants, but unfortunately, it will not produce any coconuts.

If you decide to move your coconut tree later on, check out 10 Best Steps For Transporting Palm Trees (And How To Do It) for some tips!

What Else Besides Watering Can Make My Coconut Tree Grow Faster?

So, you’re growing a coconut tree and it seems like it’s slowed down in growth, but how do you make it grow faster?

First, make sure you are giving your coconut tree optimal conditions: Full sun, above 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit, high humidity, and adequate watering but not over or under-watering.

If all of those conditions are good, then check out using fertilizer!

Espoma PM4 4-Pound 4-1-5 Palm-Tone Plant Food is a one of the better organic fertilizers, and this one is specifically for all palm trees! It has a 4-1-5 NPK ratio, meaning it is 4 parts nitrogen, 1 part phosphorous, and 5 parts potassium, making it a perfect fertilizer to tackle the most common nutrient deficiencies in palm trees!

What Is The Lifespan Of A Coconut Tree?

Fresh green yellowish coconut on the tree, coconut cluster on coconut palm tree with clear blue sky as background.

Did you know that coconut tree varieties have different lifespans? Dwarf coconut trees live for about 60-80 years, while tall coconut trees can live to be 80-100 years.

Let’s go a little deeper into a few facts on different cultivars of coconut trees and their lifespans.

If you’re interested in how tall your coconut tree will grow, you can read our full list in our article: Here’s How Tall Coconut Trees Actually Grow

Chowghat Orange Dwarf Coconut Tree

This dwarf coconut lives for around 50 years and will produce bright orange coconuts after 3-4 years. This coconut tree is known for the meat and water it provides.

Malayan Yellow Dwarf Coconut Tree

This coconut tree is native to Malaysia and lives anywhere between 40-50 years. Being a dwarf coconut tree cultivar, this tree only gets 30-60 feet tall and is known for its yellow coconuts.

Macapuno Coconut Tree

It is native to the Philippines and lives for up to 75 years. What is so cool about this coconut tree is its fruits have virtually no water! This is why this coconut tree is known for its use of its coconut meat for desserts, because of its soft and sweet meat.

Jamaican Tall Coconut Tree

The Jamaican tall coconut tree is robust and dense. It is known for its dark green leaves and swollen trunk base. This tree will produce anywhere from 100-200 coconuts per year and live for up to 80 years.

Tiptur Tall Coconut Tree

This coconut tree is native to India, living anywhere from 80-90 years, and producing 70-80 coconuts per year. Surprisingly, this tree needs little to no maintenance once it is established.

Panama Tall Coconut Tree

The Panama tall coconut tree, commonly known as the Pacific tall, grows up to 90 feet tall and is very tolerant of wind. It also grows well in areas where temperatures are less than optimal, below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The Panama tall, being a tall coconut tree cultivar, lives anywhere from 80-100 years.

Maypan Hybrid

The Maypan hybrid coconut tree is a cross between a Malayan dwarf and a Panama tall coconut tree and grows to be 60 feet tall. This cultivar was bred in response to a devastating disease known to coconut trees called lethal yellowing disease. This tree lives anywhere from 50-100 years.

That’s A Wrap!

Thanks for sticking around and reading all about coconut trees! Hopefully, you now know how much water coconut trees need and learned some other helpful tips on caring for your coconut tree.

The coconut tree, Cocos nucifera, is a palm and the only living species in the Cocos genus. Contrary to its name, the coconut is a fruit! Coconut palms produce anywhere from 50-200 coconut fruits each year depending on the cultivar, climate, and care.

So, if you decide to grow a coconut tree indoors, give it optimal conditions. Doing this will give you the most chance at success.

Optimal conditions mean 70% or more humidity, with the help of a humidifier, temperatures over 75 degrees Fahrenheit, try the warmest room in your house, a bathroom, or put it outside in the summer. Also, proper soil, a loamy, well-draining soil mixture, proper watering, moist not overly wet, and make sure it is in full sunlight, meaning at least 6 hours of sunlight per day! 

References: 

Gunn, Bee F., Luc Baudouin, and Kenneth M. Olsen. “Independent origins of cultivated coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) in the old world tropics.” Plos one 6.6 (2011): e21143.

Nayar, N. Madhavan. The coconut: phylogeny, origins, and spread. Academic Press, 2016.

Peiris, T. S. G., R. O. Thattil, and R. Mahindapala. “An analysis of the effect of climate and weather on coconut (Cocos nucifera).” Experimental Agriculture 31.4 (1995): 451-460.

Yong, Jean WH, et al. “The chemical composition and biological properties of coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) water.” Molecules 14.12 (2009): 5144-5164.

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