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The date palm has been cultivated since 6000 BCE, according to archaeological evidence. The species would originate in Iraq, from where it spread throughout western Asia and northern Africa. Dates were eaten fresh, or processed into datewine. Nowadays dates are often processed in bread, into syrup or juice, or can be used in a large variety of dishes. Egypt is currently the largest producer of dates, and mature palms can produce 70-140 kg dates per harvest season. In nature the date palm can grow up to a height of 25 meters, and has leaves of 4 to 6 meters in length. In temperate climates the palm can best be grown as a container plant, at a minimum temperature of -8 degC. In a sheltered and dry stand the plant could possibly stay outside during winter. Because the plant is dioecious, both a male and a female plant are needed for fruit set.
Soak the seeds for 2-3 days in lukewarm water, after which they can be sown in sowing mix. Keep the soil constantly lightly moist, and let the seeds germinate at a warm spot (25-30 degC), for example close to a heater or with artificial bottom heat.
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