Dwarf Palmetto is a native evergreen palm, growing 3 to 5 ft. tall and wide. Spikes of small creamy white flowers open in early summer, followed by black fruit that ripen from late summer into fall. Hardy from zones 7 through 9.
How to grow
Plant Dwarf Palmetto in shade to part shade, in moist to wet soil. Once established, plants can tolerate both drought and flooding! Don’t cut through or break the underground trunk, as this will probably kill the plant.
Where to plant
Dwarf Palmetto brings a sub-tropical look to gardens and landscapes, and is looks especially effective along the edges of damp woodlands or ponds. Plants blend in well with other natives on barrier islands and Intracoastal waterway properties.
Dwarf Palmetto’s evergreen leaves provide year round cover for wildlife, and birds feed on fall ripening fruit.
Where found in the wild
In the coastal plain, Sabal minor occurs in maritime and swamp forests, where often growing over marl (shell limestone) from northeast North Carolina, south into central Florida. It is uncommon in southeastern North Carolina.
Source and origin
Plants are grown from seeds collected along a streambank in Pender County, North Carolina. Plants are three to four years old.
There is a saying “you’ll only ever dig up a dwarf palmetto once,” testament to the thick underground trunk that descends deep into the ground. Those who try to dig up a plant, and persist with the struggle, will likely cut through trunk, kill the plant, and realize that it wasn’t worth the effort.
Seeds ripen from late summer into the fall. Fall sown seeds will germinate in the spring, but are slow growing – patience is required!