Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cabbage Palm, Sabal Palm
Sabal 'Birmingham'

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sabal (SAY-bal) (Info)
Cultivar: Birmingham

4 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

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USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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to view:

By sylvainyang
Thumbnail #1 of Sabal  by sylvainyang

By cstart
Thumbnail #2 of Sabal  by cstart


3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Mike_W On Aug 30, 2012, Mike_W from Sterling, MA wrote:

Last fall I had purchased 8 birminghams with 2 or 3 strap leaves and kept them in pots outside during the winter. They did very well, showing no damage with temps into the teens. Like my windmills, I would bring them in if it was forecast to go below 13'F. But, during January, I learned a very hard lesson with palms. It's not always the air temp. that can kill a palm. We had a very mild winter, but in January, it was just cold enough for a period of time for the soil in the pots to freeze. The strap leaves all crinkled up like little blades of grass and faded in color. I brought them in and kept them in the basement under a grow lamp, but it was too late. With the soil frozen, the roots couldn't take up water and they dried up. All 8 were lost.

This past April I bought 2 more, larger birminghams and I'm feeling better about these. They grew a few leaves this summer, which began splitting into the palmate shape rather than single strap leaves. This winter I plan on keeping a closer eye on the soil. Once they are large enough for the ground, they should be bullet proof hardy in my microclimate. This little chunk of my back yard faces south and not only are the air temps that of a zone 8, the ground there never freezes. I'll have to provide updates once they are in the ground.

Positive hardyinokc On Feb 19, 2010, hardyinokc from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

Have had this planted on the exposed western side of my yard for two winters. No mulch used. Very minimal freeze damage to the tips of some leaves during winters.

Neutral gtr1017 On Feb 13, 2009, gtr1017 from Roanoke, VA wrote:

I have a 2 - year old plant in the ground with about 7 or 8 strap leaves, with near 0 F here in Roanoke VA which is supposed to be a zone "7A" , all the leaves died back to within a few inches of the ground. I decided to dig it up and keep it inside at least until it has grown some fronds. I must say that it developed an impressive & healthy root system after only being in the ground for about 9 months. I am going to obtain a larger specimen for the spring and see how it does next winter.

Positive sylvainyang On Jun 13, 2006, sylvainyang from Edmond, OK wrote:

The most trunking palm you can find. Unlike T. Fortunei which defoilage in freeze winter, Sabal Birmingham is bullet proof hardy.

There are currently two varieties in the market, the one from Wichita Kansas seed grown from Woodlanders and other one fromTulsa OKlahoma. Slow grow, might need ten years to see the trunk. It stays green all year round. It might or might not be a hybrid of Sabal Palmetto (Cabbage Palm} and Sabal Minor.

Since it rarely get tip burns in freeze winter, it beats Sabal Palmetto and become the best cold hardy trunking palm.

I planted ten of them in my yard, there is only one got killed because I planted it in a 15 gallons pot and left it out in freeze. All the others were survived because they were all in the ground even some were planted in late fall. The conclusion is do not leave it in the pot unless you want to move it indoor in winter.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Visalia, California
Miami Beach, Florida
Augusta, Georgia
Douglasville, Georgia
Newnan, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Sterling, Massachusetts
Edmond, Oklahoma (2 reports)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

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