Cabbage Palm, Sabal Palm, sabal palmetto

sabal palmetto
(Cabbage Palm, Sabal Palm)
Other Names: Palmetto, Palmetto Palm

Related To: n/a

Main Uses: Ornamental, food (bud is edible).

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Mature Height/Spread: Can grow to 65 feet in the ideal native environment. Significantly smaller in cultivation, especially in colder climates.

Flowering/Pollination: Self-fertile. Flower stalk to 4 feet long, yellow flowers.

Tolerance: Sabal Palmetto is highly tolerant of both salt and drought.

Soil/Nutrition: It is extremely adaptable and will grow in heavy, light, sandy, damp, dry, and anywhere between. It has few nutritional requirements and prefers moist, sandy, acidic soils.

Light: Can grow in the shade for the first few years, but as the trunk begins to form, will require 1/3 shade to full sun.

Wind: Like all cold-hardy palms, it is susceptible to cold, drying winter winds. Plant this palm in a wind-protected location (or construct a winter wind shelter). This will prevent it from losing leaf tissue to freezing dehydration.

Temperature: Sabal Palmetto, once established, can take temperatures down to 5 degrees F. Cold-hardiness is more apparent in trees from the northerly end of its native range.

Dangers: None.

Diseases Prone: None reported in cold climates. Palmetto weevils and leaf hoppers can be a problem in warmer climates.

Bearing Age: n/a

Fruit: n/a

History/Origin: Sabal Palmetto is native to subtropical and tropical USA. It occurs from Florida up to North Carolina (Bald Head Island), and it is the official state tree of South Carolina.

Species Observations: Though it will grow in open sun in northern cold climates, it will lose its leaves to dehydration unless it is afforded protection from sun and winds. Even with near total leaf loss, the crown of this species is hardy to around 5 degrees F. If the spear leaf pulls out during the spring, apply fungicides to prevent rotting, which is the enemy of the recovering bud tissue. It should send out a new spear leaf with a few weeks of warm weather. This species needs 3 seasons of growing to establish its roots and achieve its full cold hardiness. The most cold protection should be given during its first year when it is weakest.

Propogation: Seeds, which take anywhere from 1 week to 6 months to germinate. The fresher, the better. Soaking them for 24 hours significantly speeds up the process.

Container Culture: Can be grown in a container for many years. It is a moderate growing species, however it does need at least part sun.

Medicinal Uses: n/a

Nutritional Information: n/a

Preparation / Food: n/a

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