How to Germinate Your Own Oil Palm Seeds

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.


  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

  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.

    • It’s quite expensive. That is why we often advise our small scale and low budget client to plant the Tenera. Because we only supply the supergene for clients who needs large quantity

  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.

  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.

    • 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

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