The Dwarf Palmetto is a small palm that is remarkable for its hardiness. It is one of the most cold hardy palms and it can be grown outdoors as far north as Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. It is an attractive palm with a subterranean trunk and large, fan-shaped dark green or blue-green leaves that are on long petioles. 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. Although in most of its range, it has an underground trunk, some populations have large individuals that can have an aerial trunk that may be several feet in height. It grows in rich soils of moist forests, ravines, flood plains, swamps and bottomlands from North Carolina to Florida west to Oklahoma and Texas. Brings tropical flair to part shade areas of the landscape. In a protected location, dwarf palmetto is considered to be winter hardy to USDA Zone 7. 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.
- Fill several pots with drainage holes in the bottom with a well-drained potting mix such as peat/perlite, sandy soil or a sandy/potting soil mix.
- Sow the seeds on the surface and cover them with 1/4 inch of soil.
- Water the seeds and let the water drain from the pots. The soil needs to be moist but well-drained so water them regularly but don't let the soil become water-logged. If the pots have dishes at the base, remove the dishes so that the water can drain from the pots.
- Put the pots in a warm, sunny location. Sabals can grow in the sun or shade but they do better in full sun.
- When the seedlings have a few leaves, they can be transplanted into their permanent location.