Date trees  can reach up to 100 ft. in height, growing singly or forming a clump with several stems from a single root system. Slow-growing, they can reach over 100 years of age when maintained properly. The date palm has separate male and female plants. They can be easily grown from seed, but only 50% of seedlings will be female and hence fruit bearing, and dates from seedling plants are often smaller and of poorer quality.  Plants grown from cuttings will fruit 2–3 years earlier than seedling plants.

Dates are naturally pollinated in the wind. Natural pollination occurs with about an equal number of male and female plants. However, with assistance, one male can pollinate up to 100 females. Since the males are of value only as pollinators, they are usually pruned in favor of fruit-producing female plants. Some growers do not even maintain any male plants, as male flowers become available at local markets at pollination time. Manual pollination is done by skilled labourers on ladders, or by use of a wind machine. In some areas such as Iraq the pollinator climbs the tree using a special climbing tool that wraps around the tree trunk and the climber’s back (called تبلية in Arabic) to keep him attached to the trunk while climbing.

Date fruits are oval-cylindrical, 3–7 cm (1–3 in) long. Date palms can take 4 to 8 years after planting before they will bear fruit. They do not all ripen at the same time so several harvests are required. To obtain fruit of marketable quality, the bunches of dates must be thinned and bagged or covered before ripening so that the remaining fruits grow larger and are protected from weather and animals, such as birds, that also like to eat them. Date palms require well-drained deep sandy loam soils with a pH of 8–11 (alkaline). They prefer full sun. Deep watering but can survive drought conditions.