Sabal minor
Common Name: dwarf palmetto
Type: Palm or Cycad
Family: Arecaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Yellowish-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: High
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

In a protected location, dwarf palmetto is considered to be winter hardy to USDA Zone 7. It is not reliably winter hardy in the St. Louis area where it may not survive harsh winters. It is typically grown in organically rich, moderately fertile, evenly moist but well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best performance is in part shade. Site in protected locations that are sheltered from winter winds. Established plants will often survive some 0 degree F. temperatures in winter. Mulch around the base of the plant in winter. Plants rarely sucker. Plants may be propagated by seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Sabal minor, commonly called dwarf palmetto, is a fan palm that is native to rich soils of moist forests, ravines, flood plains and bottomlands from North Carolina to Florida west to Oklahoma and Texas. In the landscape, it is noted for its excellent winter hardiness and tropical appearance. This is a small shrubby plant with (a) a subterranean trunk, (b) long smooth unarmed petioles and (c) huge deeply-divided palmate leaves (each 1-5’ tall and wide). Each leaf features narrow pointed segments in the shape of a fan. This palm typically grows to 6’ tall and as wide. Yellowish white flowers in compound panicles (to 6’ long) bloom in summer. Fruit is a single-seeded shiny black drupe.

Genus name is of unclear origin and meaning, but may have been derived from the Latin name for palmetto.

Specific epithet means smaller.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Winter hardiness in the St. Louis area is a concern.

Garden Uses

Brings tropical flair to part shade areas of the landscape. Evergreen foliage is unique and attractive in winter. Specimen or groups.