How to Germinate Your Own Oil Palm Seeds

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germinated nut
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.

83 COMMENTS

  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.

  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.

  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.
    Thanks.

  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?

  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?
    Thanks.

    • 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

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