How to Germinate Your Own Oil Palm Seeds

sprouted nuts

In order to raise your own oil palm seeds yourself, you need to get the high yield seed from the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) or any other places you can find it and make it germinate.

Note you can’t just take the seed and plant directly on the field like your maize seed. The oil palm seed required special care and treatment because if you do not take care of the seeds, it will take several years before they germinate. In order to ensure that your oil palm seed germinate fast, the seeds should be kept in a very hot room. Doing this we make the seeds to germinate in about 90 to 100 days (smiling).

Do you have the patient to wait for over 3months? If yes, then continue reading.

germinated nut

When the seeds have germinated, you transfer them into small plastic container with black loam manured soil. They will grow new leaf every month. The young seedlings will stays in the plastic container for about 4 to 5 months. When the seedling begins to bring out new leaf with two points you can then start transplanting to the nursery.

In raising oil palm seeds, you germinate it first in the pre nursery before transplanting to the nursery. The seedlings will stay in the nursery for 1 year before transplanting it to the field.

By that time, they will have about 15 green leaves. This is when you can finally transplant them into your prepared farm land.

Is it compulsory to wait till the seedlings have 15green leaves? Well, doing so we reduce mortality rate (probability of seedling drying out when you move it to field and also prevent transplanting shock)

The overall period it will take before the seedlings are transplanted into the farm is 15 to 17 months old.

You don’t really need to go through all this stress when you can just go to the agricultural institute to buy already prepared seedling at about N300 per seedling, before it was usually sold for N120. If you are planting 10,000 palms, you will have to have 300 x 10,000 = N 3 Million. So, germinating your own seedling is less costly but takes some times.

NOTE: I need to update this article today (07/04/2020), due to calls and inquiries on how to sprout palm nuts since the day this article was published.

I will like to use this opportunity to enlighten the audiences on the major limitation of sprouting the oil palm nut yourself.

First, the END product or result of this process will no longer be an F1 (first filial) generation. The Original Tenera specie is an F1 (first filial) generation as it was obtained from the crosses of two different parents. So, the yield can never be like the original Hybrid parent as there will be reduction in yield.

163 thoughts on “How to Germinate Your Own Oil Palm Seeds”

    • No. If you have access to cheap man-power. But on second thought, if you have more than 5 hectares, using tractor is more efficient.

      • Weldon sir, I really commend you for a great article and easy to understand as well, but I have a question regarding the transplant from the pre nursery to the nursery.
        While transplanting sprouted seedlings from pre nursery to the nursery l, do you need to change the bag to a bigger one and add more soil, if you know you don’t want to use a normal nursery bed…if not what is the best way?

        • You need to change the bag. Because the nuts from the pre nursery were sown in a place. To plant in the nursery, you must use a big polyethene bag

  1. Hi, when you say already prepared seedling that is sold at the 300 naira do you mean that before it is taken to the nursery or to the field ?

    As in does it mean the seedling that has got already the 15 leaves ?

    • Already prepared seedling, it means that the seedling has been raised from sprouted nut to seedling, and all these activities are done in the Nursery.
      You move your seedling from the nursery to the field after spending at least 7months in the nursery. The time of planting in Nursery to transplanting on the field should be at least 7 months. It can even be in the nursery for a year before transplanting.

  2. to get the nut to sprout into a seedling, you said to keep it in a very hot room. is it kept in a nylon bag? is it kept in soil? is it in a metal container? are we trying to dry the seed out and in the process it germinates?

    • Nut to sprouted nut.
      thick Nylon bag. No, we not trying to dry the seed. The seed must be moist (part of the condition required for seed germination).
      You may add peat or sawdust inside the nylon bag as well. ensure it doesn’t dry out and keep in a dark room.
      All these processes is to break dormancy and hasten germination

      • Boki in Cross River State?
        350 naira multiply by 1000= 350,000

        As for the logistics, you will be responsible for it.
        But, you will pay for the logistics upon arrival of your seedlings.

        • We need seedling where can we get the get the seedlings because we are from akure and please i need your phone number this is my own phone number sir you can drop a flash 08067653730,08033883743

          • Messaged already treated.
            Thank you, Ma.
            It was a pleasure hosting you yesterday as we had a fruitful conversation.

  3. Good day my Brother and thank you for this post.
    My question is how do I get the nut out from the shaft, is it through the process of seed decay.

    Expecting your reply
    Remain bless.

  4. Sir, please I want you to throw more light about the seed germination.
    How can I keep the seed moist, should i be watering it?
    Should i mix it with soil or just the seeds alone?
    Should i cover the nylon or leave it open to air?

    • First, I hope you don’t have the intention of selling the sprouted nuts?
      The reason is because the yield will not be like the parent material. The purpose of this article is just to teach people how to sprout oil palm seeds, and not for commercialization.
      I realized that the people now pick seeds from the bush to sprout. After which they sell to innocent Nigerians.
      NOTE: The yield will be very low, compared to the F1 (Original Tenera) generation.

      Back to your question, either way you do it, it will germinate. Cover the nylon.

    • Sir, the cost of Supergene is very expensive currently.
      Under a good management, you will get the best out of the Tenera.
      Both species are hybrid. Tenera was developed at NIFOR Benin City(more 40years ago) while supergene is an exotic species.

      I strongly recommend you go for Tenera except you have the money.

      NOTE: Because Tenera is common and readily available in Nigeria doesn’t make it a local species.

    • How much is the tenere( ready to plant stage and the exotic ( ready to plant stage) which of them produces 8 heads per stand and what is the difference in their productivity?

  5. Sir, can you please shed more light on how to germinate the seeds? Say I picked some fruits with flesh, how do I get the flesh removed? I know I am not suppose to boil. So how then do I get the flesh removed before continuing the process of germination.

    • Yes. You can subject to hot water treatment to remove the flesh. After which you will air dry for 24 hours

      • When you say keep it in a short room does it not require sun light. Can I keep it in a dark closed room that is hurt?

  6. Sir, say I have seedlings that has already been subject to flesh decay, do I go ahead and attempt germination? If yes, how do I condition the temperature locally? Your reply will be well appreciated.

    • You can go ahead with the germination process. You can use either of the three options; sawdust, topsoil, or airtight container. But ensure you keep all the media moist.

      • My questions are these
        *if only has bought a sprouted seed, will one place it directly in a small black polythene bag?
        *if it is to be place in the polythene, can one place the bags containing the seedlings outside so that they could have access to sunlight Or one should make a shed covered with palm fronds for the growing sprouted seeds?
        *Can one add fertilizer

        • If you buy a sprouted seed, YES, you plant directly in a small polyethene bags.
          You don’t need to place indoor. Arrange everything outside, but must be kept under shade. The seedlings also need sunlight for photosynthesis. But most not be exposed to direct or extreme temperature. So, you need to construct a simple Peasant Nursery if you cannot afford a standard Crop Nursery.
          Your last question about fertilizer application, it’s up to you. You may, you may not.
          The most important thing is regular watering and ensure the seedlings stay in Nursery for atleast 9months. NIFOR even recommend minimum of a year. Although, some people often transplant even at 5-6 months. Just that the risk is high.

          • Thanks so Much. I really love the way u replied all those questions.
            if we Want to buy the sprouted seed
            *do u sell,
            * how much,
            *ur location and
            *how can we get it in Ijebu igbo ogunstate

          • We sell sprouted nuts.
            Regardless of location, it will be shipped to you.
            We sell per bag.
            500 nuts per bag.
            We sell NIFOR developed nuts,
            Price per bag is 55,000.

            This price used to be 30,000 before.

    • First, it depends on the quantity of palms in the nursery. If less than 1000, you can make use of watering can. To make watering easy.

      But when you have over 4000, you will need to make use of Storex water tank, holes, and nozzle. To make watering easy and to ensure all palm are watered optimally

  7. My questions are these
    *if only has bought a sprouted seed, will one place it directly in a small black polythene bag?
    *if it is to be place in the polythene, can one place the bags containing the seedlings outside so that they could have access to sunlight Or one should make a shed covered with palm fronds for the growing sprouted seeds?
    *Can one add fertilizer

  8. The admin i really appreciate your kind information and guidance to all people,I have interest in super-gene before but your response confused me.All my question as been answered, i will soon reach out to you. Thanks

    • Thank you sir,
      I shall be expecting your message. I will be glad to make proper clarification on areas you are having issues.

  9. Good morning sir, I really appreciate you for reply all the questions.
    My own question is this, do I need to dry it on the sun before nursing it?

  10. Good morning sir, I really appreciate how you respond to questions.
    My own question is this, is it right to dry the seeds under the sun before nursing?

  11. Weldone Sir,
    How long should the nuts be treated with hot water so as to avoid boiling it completely?

    How do you mean when you said a specie will not give the same yield as the parent?
    Does it mean there is depreciation in terms of yields as one continue to grow a particular specie that was once producing much yields?

    Some of us are close to colleges/Universities of Agriculture, is it correct to accept what they offer to us since they also make their order from NiFOR?

    • Question 1.
      The hot water treatment is to soften the flesh for easy removal. So, remove as soon as the flesh has been softening.

      Regarding your second question sir,
      “A specie will not give the same yield as the parent”… It is a simple Planting Breeding / Genetics explanation

      If you sprout the seed yourself, the yield will reduce.
      Let me explain this using the Tenera
      Tenera is an hybrid species gotten from cross between two parents (Psifera (Tall) and Dura (Short)).

      Those are the parent materials.

      This parent materials are with NIFOR, Benin City.

      That is why we kept on going there to buy planting materials every year.

      If you decide to sprout Tenera yourself (Raising from seed to seedlings), you will agree with me that you can no longer call the New seedlings Tenera again?

      Because it is now a F2 generation.
      Tenera is F1.

      Planting F2 will also produced fruits, but it is risky if you want to go into commercial production. The yield may reduce within 10years of establishing the farm, instead of 30 to 40 years normal palm plantation. You will agree with me that an average oil palm plantation can be harvested for the next 30 to 35 years?

      In fact, aside from the fact that the yield may reduce, the whole palm plantation may even be Sterile (not producing a single fruit at all).
      So, If you consider all the effort and suffering from time of land preparation to the 3rd or 4th year, I’m sure you won’t like to take such risk?

      It also applies to MAIZE. You know there is different between Seed and Grains?. Grains are what you buy from the markets with the aim of processing into other products or other purpose aside planting. Although most people still buy grains from market to plant. Those are one of the reasons for low yield. But people don’t really know. Although a Maize farmer will never do such. But people who plants for personal consumption do it.

      Your Last question, Yes you can get from colleges/Universities of Agriculture, since they also buy from NIFOR.
      They no the implication of sprouting seed themselves. So they will never try to do it.

  12. How long should the nuts be treated with hot water so as to avoid boiling it completely?

    How do you mean when you said a specie will not give the same yield as the parent?
    Does it mean there is depreciation in terms of yields as one continue to grow a particular specie that was once producing much yields?

    Some of us are close to colleges/Universities of Agriculture, should we take what they offer to us since they also make their order from NiFOR?

    • Sir, I think the steps were already described in the post. But, if I may ask, which of the steps were you not clear with?

  13. Thank you sir for your timely attention.
    Please, if one wants to buy for sale is he going to buy the seedlings at same price?
    Do you also coconut seedlings and what is your advice on locally(home) germinated coconut seedlings?

    • No. Seedling price is different from sprouted nut price.

      I think most of the coconut seedlings that are being sold are locally germinated seedlings.

      Coconut is different from oil palm, because most of the coconut seedlings around us are not Hybrid. The problem of yield reduction experienced in the case of Oil palm is because it is an hybrid. If the coconut is not an hybrid. You have no problem, in fact, the yield may even be higher than the parent if well managed.

  14. Good evening sir.
    Pls sir, am a novice here and I want to go into raising oil palm seedlings.
    1)If I want to use fresh fruit anhave air dry it for 24hours according to your explanation sir, should I then pack them inside polythene bags with sawdust insde it directly sir?
    2)In case the seed it decay fruit with the fleshy part available but decay and has not been germinating, should I pack it inside polythene bags as well sir?
    3)Do i need to watering the seed b4 packing into the polythene bag and watering it after removing them from the polythene bag sir? Thanks in advance sir

  15. 4)About the hot water treatment sir, should i first boil the water b4 pouring the palmfruit or how will it be done sir?

    • I understood the rainfall pattern of this zone, but I want you to understand something very clear, the main reason for starting a nursery around September/October in the Southwest is because the rainy season usually starts in March/April and becomes steady by June/July.

      So, starting your Nursery by September, you will be guaranteed that your seedlings have already spent at least 8 to 10 months in the nursery before transplanting.
      Therefore, judging by the rainfall pattern in your area, set up your nursery during the dry season, or ensure the seedlings is ready for the next rainy season (minimum of 8 to 9 months).

  16. First of all let me thank you for this knowledge you have provided for the public. I am in Liberia and I need seedlings how can I get it from you and how much will it be in USD I need about 1500 seedlings.

    • Thank you for contacting us. Considering your location, it will be good if you can buy sprouted nuts instead of seedlings. Shipping 1500 sprouted nuts will be less than 4kg.

  17. Pls how many seedlings do I need to plant in 1hectres of land,why am asking is to know how many seedlings to buy for planting.

  18. Pls i WL need like 300 seedlings, I base in lagos and i can also come to your office In ibadan, but I want knw how I preserve this oil seedlings for export to african countries?

    • You can notify us as soon as you need the seedlings or chat us via our whatsapp line.
      Regarding your second question, currently I’m not sure if you will be able to transport such material (seedlings/sprouted nuts) outside Nigeria because it is a growing material. The Nigeria custom may not allow it.

  19. I need to germinate a special type of palm nut (akwu Ojukwu). How do I go about it? I already have the nuts, extracted the oil from it.

    • Sir, kindly drop a message on our WhatsApp line.
      But, I want you to understand that by sprouting the nut yourself, you will be getting an F2 plant.

  20. Good night sir,
    Please sir what is the current price of one bag of sprouted hybrid tenera oil palm seed? And how many pieces it contains.

  21. Pls admin the already per boiled nuts can it still sprout out? Because the ones I have here palm oil has already been processed out of it which means it already went through cooking.

    • Yes, it will still sprout.

      Sir, kindly note that this process is for EXPERIMENTAL purposes, and not to be done for commercial purposes.

      Whatever outcome you get from the sprouted nut, it is no longer an F1 seed again. It is an F2.

  22. Sir thank you for educating me through this medium on different species of palm seedling, i need 5000 of TENERA which i will personally nurse Sir i have two concerns: (1) Can you supply the seedling to Omoloro in Isoko south Local government area of Delta state? (2) How much will this cost me? Regards, Umuomor Joseph

    • Yes, we can supply all the seedlings to you. But to help you minimize your cost, we can visit your field and help you set up the nursery directly on your farm to save you from the cost of transporting 5000 seedlings..
      To transport 5000 seedlings, you will be needing a long vehicle like the Dangote Cement vehicle

    • Question already answered. Once again, we are sorry for the delay. As you know we are already in the planting season. Our activities are always reduced online.

  23. Am a farm manager, I need 100 palms seedlings, Pls send me Hi through your email address lets chat.

    • At the seedling stage, NO Way.
      Unless you get from a credible or reliable source.

      The local common ones are the tall variety (very tall).
      But, don’t let the height also make you conclude that you have gotten an Agric (hybrid).
      For people reading this comment outside Nigeria, the term, ‘Agric’, is the common name for an improved or hybrid crop or animal species in Nigeria.

      There are medium or short-height palms that are not hybrid, some are F2, F3, and so on. The most important thing is to source your planting material from a credible source.

  24. Well done Sir. I must recommend your work.
    I presently have supergene. It s actually quite expensive but we had to do it as it yields more. We have the nursery and could see the huge difference between hybrid and super gene. I can post a picture of both nurseries from our farm and let you see the difference. So it’s readily available in Nigeria – super gene Nursery. The super gene nursery are quite heavier than the Tenera thus when ordering one has to make proper arrangements for conveying them to their locations. No space for photos, I would have shared from our farm.
    Thank you.

  25. Pls how many seedlings can I plant on a land size of 100ft ×100ft, and can a land size of 1000ft x 2000ft accommodate 3200 seedlings?

  26. Good day sir, am really impressed by your explanation, please sir is this reduction in yield also applicable to cocoa. Let’s say you nurse your seedlings from the ones you have in your farm already.

    • It is not as pronounced in cocoa, unlike oil palm. If you plant the seed from an F1 tree, you will still get a good yield. but in Oil palm, it may even be sterile.


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