Also known as: Palmetto, Bush Palmetto, Blue Palm
Scientific name: Sabal minor
Did you know?
Dwarf Palmetto is the most cold hardy Sabal palm.
The fruit of Dwarf Palmetto is edible when it is a flat black color and has a flavor similar to dates.
Sabal minor is often confused with Texas Palmetto (Sabal Mexicana). Texas Palmetto can be identified by the presence of an emerged trunk above ground, which it absent in all but the largest Dwarf Palmettos.
Dwarf Palmetto is one of only a handful of Palm trees native to the United States. It typically reaches a height of 5-10 feet with a similar spread. Dwarf Palmetto is indigenous to damp, shady areas and, as it is adapted to these conditions, needs plenty of water during establishment, and should be kept out of full sun. Once established, Dwarf Palmetto is drought hardy although its leaves may brown if it gets too dry. Dwarf Palmetto’s main interest its strikingly different form, which stands out from other native vegetation with its large fan like leaves, making it an excellent accent plant.
Sabal minor is native to the southern United States from Texas east to North Carolina and north to Oklahoma and south into northern Mexico. It grows in damp alluvial soil found in swamps, river bottoms, and in flood prone areas. Dwarf Palmetto can handle occasional drought once established although plant size is directly related to moisture availability, with plants in dry areas being stunted in size. Dwarf Palmetto will always look its best in the landscape if given plenty of water.
The large fan like leaves aren’t typically eaten by deer so the plant can be considered deer resistant. Deer and birds will however eat the palm’s numerous small fruit which show up in late summer to mid fall.
Because of its unique form and large leaves, Dwarf Palmetto is an excellent accent plant for shady to partly shady areas and can also be used for a striking understory if planted in groupings.
Plants are available commercially, ranging from 1 to 30 gallon sizes with larger options occasionally available. Because Dwarf Palmetto is relatively slow growing, larger plants and specimen plants can be expensive.
Take advantage of Dwarf Palmetto’s unusual foliage and shade tolerance for an interesting accent plant in the landscape. Water regularly, and remove any dried/brown leaves to keep it looking its best.