How To Grow Sylvester Date Palm Tree (Phoenix sylvestris)

Sylvester Date Palm Tree (Phoenix sylvestris)
Sylvester Date Palm Tree (Phoenix sylvestris). Photo by Flickr.

The Sylvester Date Palm Tree, scientific name Phoenix sylvestris, is one of the most popular palm trees in the world. This spectacular palm is often used throughout luxury homes, renowned golf courses or for avenue planting.

Sylvester Date Palm Tree can also grow indoors. This palm can be grown in states like Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon and Texas.

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Quick Facts:

Scientific name:Phoenix sylvestris
Common names:Sylvester Date Palm, Sugar Date Palm, India Date Palm, Silver Date Palm, Wild Date Palm, Toddy Palm.
Origin:Native to India.
Growth Rate:Slow. Up to 40 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide.
Cold Tolerance:USDA Zones 8b (15 to 20 F) to 11 (above 40 F).
Light Req:Full sun.
Water Req:Moderate.
Soil Req:Widely adaptable.
Fruit:Yes. Orange- yellow. Red. Not edible.
Propagation:By seeds, germinating in 2-3 months.

Sylvester Date Palm Identifying Characteristics

It has a lot of similar characteristics with True Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera). It has a solitary robust trunk, with interesting diamond pattern created by leaf scars. The Sylvester Date Palm requires some maintenance trimming old dead leaves that tend to make “skirt”. Trunk is swollen at the base, about 13-18 inches in diameter.

Without crownshaft 90-100 large pinnate, feather-shaped, leaves emerge at the top of the trunk. Leaves are about 10-15ft long, silver or blue-green color, slightly curved, with 100-120 sharply pointed at the end leaflets.

Leaflets are 1-1.5ft long by 1-2 inches wide and arranged in groups of 2 or 3, often cross-crossing. Petioles have are about 3ft long, armed with long spines.

Sylvester Date Palm Flowers and Fruits

Sylvester Date Palm Tree (Phoenix sylvestris) fruits
Sylvester Date Palm Tree (Phoenix sylvestris). Photo by Flickr.
Sylvester Date Palm Tree (Phoenix sylvestris) flowers
Sylvester Date Palm Tree (Phoenix sylvestris). Photo by Flickr.

The Sylvester Date Palm produces small white flowers supported by 2-3ft long branching inflorescence coming from among the leaves. The Sylvester Date Palm is dioecious, male and female flowers are born on different plants.

Flowers are followed by oval fruits, about 1 inch in diameter, turning purple-black when ripe. Fruits are editable and have sweet taste. They contain a single seed inside.

How To Care For Sylvester Date Palm

Phoenix sylvestris is a slow growing palm that can get up to 40 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide. Phoenix sylvestris is a cold hardy palm that can tolerate cold down to 15F. It grows best in the USDA Zones 8b (15 to 20 F) to 11 (above 40 F).

The Sylvester Date Palm can withstand a drought for a short period of time. Grows best in full sun and moist but well drained soil.

The only thing this palm requires is some trimming to avoid “skirt” of old dead leaves. To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during growing season.

Propagated by seeds.

Sylvester Date Palm Tree Pictures

Sylvester Date Palm Tree (Phoenix sylvestris)
Sylvester Date Palm Tree (Phoenix sylvestris). Photo by Flickr.
Sylvester Date Palm Tree (Phoenix sylvestris)
Sylvester Date Palm Tree (Phoenix sylvestris). Photo by Flickr.
Sylvester Date Palm Tree (Phoenix sylvestris)

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6 thoughts on “How To Grow Sylvester Date Palm Tree (Phoenix sylvestris)”

  1. my large Sylvester palms have new growth out the top which turns brown. they were set out 2 months ago. I soak them 2 times each week. They are in well drained sandy soil in central Florida. Do you have suggestion why new growth turns brown ?

  2. After living in Melbourne Fl for over Forty years, this palm information site is the best I have found on the net. Thank you for the great photos and data you have provided. Your info about palm growing outside Florida is perfect for my son who lives in Gulfport Mississippi. The book you recommend is on the way to him and me. Thanks for a great site and if I can support you in any way, please contact me.

  3. I have two Sylvester Palms and both are dying from ground up. . Both are fertilized twice yeary and watered (3) times weekly.
    Your suggestions appreciated.

    What fertilizer do recommend and how often

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