Sabal minor or Dwarf Palmetto is a very hardy palm with mostly underground stems native from North Carolina to Florida and west to Texas and Oklahoma. The leaves may reach up to 5 feet (1.5 m) in height and width. Leaves are briefly costapalmate and regularly divided 2/3 or more to the base, into 16-40 one ribbed segments. Trunks are usually underground, but sometimes they may reach up to 6 feet (2 m) in height. They are very hardy in USDA zones 8-10 and one cultivar is hardy in Oklahoma zone 7.
Blooming: In the greenhouse our plant blooms every spring. The erect inflorescence is above the leaves and has tiny 1/8 inch white flowers followed by shiny black, round fruits.
Culture: Sabal minor need full sun to partial shade with a well drained soil mix. In the greenhouse we use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to equal parts sand and loam. The plants in the greenhouse are well watered and allowed to dry in-between waterings. They are fertilized on a monthly basis with a balanced fertilizer. They are slow growing, but since most of the plant is underground they tend to push themselves up in containers. Due to this one needs to repot them every other year and sometime yearly. Ours at 25 years old is in a 30 gallon container. During the winter months, water is somewhat restricted and fertilizer is with held until new growth starts in the spring.
Propagation: Sabal minor is propagated from seed. Fresh clean seed germinate readily at 70-75° F (21-23° C).
Sabal minor was featured as Plant of the Week February 18-24, 2005.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.