Dwarf Palmetto, Bluestem Palmetto, Blue Palm

Sabal minor

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sabal (SAY-bal) (Info)
Species: minor (MY-nor) (Info)
Synonym:Corypha minor




Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


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:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer


Grown for foliage



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


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

Midland City, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Encino, California

Los Angeles, California

Upland, California

Grand Junction, Colorado

Old Lyme, Connecticut

Millsboro, Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware

Auburndale, Florida

Brandon, Florida

Grant, Florida

Havana, Florida

Old Town, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Venice, Florida

Atlanta, Georgia

Clayton, Georgia

Douglasville, Georgia

Macon, Georgia

Newnan, Georgia

Palmetto, Georgia

Chicago, Illinois

Murphysboro, Illinois

Plainfield, Indiana

Lawrence, Kansas

Ledbetter, Kentucky

Paducah, Kentucky

New Orleans, Louisiana

Vacherie, Louisiana

Centreville, Maryland

Cockeysville, Maryland

Easton, Maryland (2 reports)

Germantown, Maryland

Preston, Maryland

Silver Spring, Maryland

Stevensville, Maryland

White Hall, Maryland

Needham, Massachusetts

Detroit, Michigan

Columbus, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Ridgeland, Mississippi

Morganville, New Jersey

Brooklyn, New York

Roslyn, New York

Staten Island, New York

Emerald Isle, North Carolina

Gastonia, North Carolina

Rolesville, North Carolina

Ada, Oklahoma

Edmond, Oklahoma

Jay, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (2 reports)

Warfordsburg, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Bluffton, South Carolina

Cayce, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Fort Mill, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Inman, South Carolina

Lexington, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

Cleveland, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee

Mount Juliet, Tennessee

Alice, Texas

Austin, Texas

Boerne, Texas

Cedar Park, Texas

Devers, Texas

Huntsville, Texas

Kendalia, Texas

Mcallen, Texas

Rockport, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Santa Fe, Texas

South Padre Island, Texas

Roanoke, Virginia

Sterling, Virginia

Suffolk, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Allyn, Washington

Kent, Washington

Shoreline, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 10, 2015, UrbanGreenThumb from Detroit, MI wrote:

Sabal minor survived underneath 1-2 feet of snow for over a month here in zone 6b Detroit, Michigan.

Two of them, in fact. One that was a bit more exposed (some fronds peeked out from underneath the drifts) has some cold damage (-9F was our lowest low, with about 6 nights below zero) compared to the one that was completely buried in the snow until I partially dug it out this morning (3/10/15), which looks almost flawless.

Aside from snow, both got a healthy 6-8" blanket of black mulch (wood chips) in November and a covering of dry(ish) maple leaves, 6" for the semi-exposed Sabal and 12" for the completely covered one.


On Dec 13, 2014, Nomadct from Old Lyme, CT wrote:

Sabal minor is doing very well in my zone 7a coastal Connecticut garden.

Planted 4 years ago, and while some fronds burn in winter, it always grows 3 or so new fronds each growing season. My sabal took the severe winter of 2013/2014 (worst in at least 15 years) with a low of 3 F with about 40% of fronds burned, but still put up 3 new fronds this past summer. From observations in nearby Long Island and coastal New Jersey, Sabal minor seems to be the best bet for a palm in the Tri-State (NY/NJ/CT) area.

Should be planted on a SHELTERED south side location out of cold northwest winds, and given fertilizer during the growing season. Water well first growing season to encourage deep roots below the frost line.


On Sep 26, 2014, OldLineState from White Hall, MD wrote:

The Sabal Minor or Dwarf Palmetto is an extremely tough palm that can be planted in zone 6b with some natural protection and will eventual winterize.

I bought two Sabal Minors in May and June of 2013. A medium size one and a very small one. Here in Northern Maryland, we have hot humid summers so growth isn't a problem. However, this winter was the worst in about 20 years. There were about three dips to 0 degrees F, another dip to about 3 degrees F, and there were many days where the daytime high temperature never got above freezing. (This is what causes the most damage to palms.) The cold also continued well into March which is rather unusual.

Despite the winter from hell, both of the sabal minors, even the small one, survived the winter. Both of the palms t... read more


On May 2, 2014, nativeOkie from Edmond, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

I planted a Sabal Minor "Louisiana" in my Zone 7A garden three years ago in Central Oklahoma. I bought the palm at a local nursery in a five-gallon container. I planted it along a south-facing fence in full sun. It's put on a frond or two each year and is approaching four-feet tall. I left it unprotected during a rare cold snap that got down to three degrees this past winter and suffered some leaf tip damage, but the spear and base of the plant remained green and healthy. I threw a blanket over it any other night that got into the mid-teens (which isn't really necessary, but I babied it a little bit after the initial damage).

Overall for the Minor "Louisiana", I've had no problem over-wintering it here and it's shooting up it's first seed stalk this spring.

I ... read more


On Mar 16, 2014, Sabalpalmfeller from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

You can just about grow these anywhere. I havent done anything other than water/fertilize and just watch it slowly grow! *note its a real sloooowww grower.


On Dec 17, 2013, longjonsilverz from Centreville, MD wrote:

Dwarf palmetto is a very underrated landscape plant since it doesn't usually form a trunk above the ground, however they add a great tropical look when planted under larger trees. Sabal minor is one of a few palms hardy enough to survive here in Eastern Maryland (zone 7). In fact, they seem to thrive here without any damage in an average winter. All Sabals are very sensitive to transplanting, so be careful not to mess with any of the roots, especially when growing these in colder areas because a healthy root system will make a more cold hardy plant. They grow very slow, but faster with hot and humid summer conditions, since they are native to the Southeastern USA. If you are looking for a "trunking" version, try the Louisiana palmetto, which has appeared to be just as cold hardy as th... read more


On Dec 2, 2013, CrispyCritter from Clayton, GA wrote:

I planted a 5 gallon plant about 3-4 years ago and had some slight damage the first winter here in the Appalachian mountains zone 7B/8A.
Since then though, it has received no damage and even went to seed for the first time last year.

I took the seed and stuck them in the ground in various places around my property- woods, out in the open, near a pond,etc.
and just this week I noticed 2-3 inch tall babies in all of these places.
Some I planted in pots are just a bit larger.
(So, about a year to germinate if planted directly in the ground for me)

I also have a larger specimen planted in the open in full sun and it looks very healthy.

I don't see any reason that these couldn't naturalize in this area. Th coldest tem... read more


On Jan 24, 2013, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

The picture I just posted (1/23/13) pretty well illustrates that give appropriate care, this can be a beautiful plant.


On Jul 29, 2012, Tntropic from Mount Juliet, TN wrote:

I've been growing sables for about 5 years in mt Juliet tn, they have survived a week of temps where the low was 5deg and the high was in the mid 20 (winter of 2010) this same winter I lost a Trap, and the spear pulled from a sable louisana which to my joy survived and now has a 8" trunk and stands 3 ft tall. Sable are slow to grow from seed so obtain the largest you can. My sable estonia has bloomed the last two years in a row I removed the flower stalk this year in hopes for the plants energy to be focused on growth. The seeds that were produced in 2011 I removed and tossed them into the woods behind my house, although I have found 3 seedlings at the base of the parent plant I have not looked in the woods to see if they have tried to naturalize. Currently I have a assortment of 15... read more


On Apr 9, 2012, AllSport28 from Concord, KY wrote:

I live in zone 7 Paducah ky. The dwarf palmetto has proven to be the hardiest of all my palms. I have 7 growing in my yard. I also have 4 windmill palms, 2 sago, 3 needle palms, 3 pindo palms, 1 sable birmingham and 4 yucca rostrata. I've lost a pindo palm and a few windmills over the last 6 years. I've not lost any dwarf palmettos. They look as good in February as they do in July. The Sabal Birmingham seems to be more hardy then my Windmills also. Based on my experience. I would rate the dwarf palmettos hardier than the needle palms. They tend to grow faster if u keep them moist and look better if they're not grown in full sun but still do well there.


On May 23, 2011, SuburbanNinja80 from Plainfield, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have to say in Indiana there not very many palm growers. sabal Minor is a Huge winner in my eyes. Low Growing Palms that's insanely Hardy. It does the job in my Zone 6a. I have many most of them are small palms. Other than the Slow growth them its for the best they have that. I Seen one of the Underground Trunks.


On Oct 15, 2009, walkingthefrog wrote:

Native to the southeastern United States. It's slow growing but can become quite a pest when established. Much of the untamed, swampy lands of eastern Texas are filled with dwarf palmettos, sometimes farmers simply mow them with tractors or burn them to stunt their growth...but the palms grow back quickly. Tends to look like a short tangled mess when growing in the sun...when grown in shade it is much more attractive. Doesn't like to be disturbed after it has established itself, so digging them from the wild tends to be unsuccessful. It is extremely frost tolerate, every wild dwarf palmetto growing on my property survived the hard freeze of 1989 when the temperature dropped to 11 F.


On Aug 14, 2009, palmbrad from Summerville, SC wrote:

I have a sabal minor growing in Warfordsburg, PA (zone 6b) with no protection since 2006. Some winters the fronds die back to the ground other winters some make it through but the palm comes back every spring.


On May 24, 2009, patp from Summerville, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

This palm is a very common understory plant in the wet coastal regions of South Carolina, where it receives very little sunlight. My husband found a small single fan in the back of our property years ago and moved it several times. It now resides near the base of an oak tree, where it quickly developed additional fans, then surprised us with a couple of seed stalks in late May 2009. We didn't know the name of this palm until today.


On Feb 6, 2009, gtr1017 from Roanoke, VA wrote:

Near 0 deg. F. here in Roanke Va a couple of weeks ago, with no damage to the three of these I have, all unprotected and all in different areas on the property, with none near the house.


On May 30, 2008, keep_trying from Augusta, GA wrote:

I have never lived anywhere warm enough that palms were a good idea. So for that exotic look I have always liked Palmettos. Slow growing but very tough plants, cold hardy, and the same look as Spanish Bayonet without the danger. I planted several in Houston, they loved the wet, heavy clay soil, and mockingbirds loved the seeds. They were also occasionally to be seen wild in East Texas dry woods. Now I see densely packed trunkless Palmettos growing wild in low wet woodlands in Augusta, GA, and five foot trunks along the Atlantic coast. Of course it is the state tree of SC and appears on their flag, figuring in the patriot victory at Ft Moultrie.

I have a volunteer in my dry shady clay back yard, it is growing slowly - after 2-3 years just beginning to think about throwing up... read more


On May 17, 2006, Hikaro_Takayama from Fayetteville, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

According to Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery, The Mc Curtain county, OK form of this palm seems to be hardier than the Needle Palm, and Logan Calhoun, whom he bought his first seeds from, reported that a number of seedlings planted in Wichita, KS survived winter temps of -24 deg F, and are producing seeds. Now if only these remarkable plants were more readily available (Plant Delights Nursery sells them as fast as they can grow them).

Update #1: I have managed to purchase two 1-gallon plants from Gerry's Jungle, and planted them in an area that is semi-shaded, near a natural seep that stays moist all year (even in our worst droughts). The palmettos are doing well thus far, but we'll see how they handle the winters around here. I'll be updating this comment next spri... read more


On Aug 19, 2005, sylvainyang from Edmond, OK wrote:

I did not like this palm at the begining. I went to the Nursery several times but I did not even look at it. The reason was, it forms no trunk forever! Until now, afterI got all the trunking Palms like Takils, Fortunei and Wagners all planted, I knew something was missing. I needed some bushy to be plant around the Trunked Palm. It could also use as a edge plant. It works perfect for the landscaping without spending a lot of time and money. A main theme of the tropical garden actually form like this.
It was very hard to make the decision to choose between Oklahoma Sabal Minor or T. Nannus (Yunnan Drawft Palm).
I finally got one T. Nannus for fun collection and majority of the bush, edges went by Oklahoma Sabal Minor. It's a native plant, unbelivable that you can find wild pa... read more


On Jul 12, 2004, aviator8188 from Murphysboro, IL (Zone 7a) wrote:

I can tell you that the Sabal minor is much hardier than one may think. The S. minor is cold hardy to temperatures as low as -5deg.F suffering from little if any damage. This palm can be grown in zones 6b - 10. I live in extreme southern Illinois(USDA zone 7a as indicated by the map on this webpage). In my yard on the south wall, I have two S. minors successfully growing. My Sabal minors were purchased from a palm nursery in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The seeds of the two specimens were collected from a native cold hardy population growing in northeastern Texas. As far as appearence, I enjoy the clumping form of the palm, it adds a "deep south" look to a northern garden. In places like Miami, the S. minor may not look very attractive growing next to a Cocos nucifera, but it looks great here!


On Jul 25, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Personally, from a palm collector point of view, this is my least favorite of all palms. It rarely, if ever forms any trunk and tends to looks scrubby/messy all the time. Whenever we go to the palm auctions here in So Cal, and someone has a Sabal sp., it invariably ends up being one of these.

I love Sabals, but this is not my favorite. Even S etonia, another native of this area, has more interesting leaves, being more costapalmate and generaly more green (though S minor is a variable species that can be green as green can be in some individuals... yellow-green is not all the uncommon, either). It must be said this is an incredibly easy palm to germinate, though, and a prolific seed producer. Plants just 5-6 years old in the ground in Southern California (U.S.) are al... read more


On Jul 24, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

This interesting, small native palm grows in large patches under old live oak trees on my six acre property in Northcentral Florida, zone 8b. It grows near the road and driveways, where it can get some sun during the day. It is "a very fine dwarf palm with glaucous, silvery-green, fan-shaped leaves, almost circular in outline, and deeply and geometrically cut into 20 or 30 segments," which is a quote from an English seed catalog. The Europeans seem to value our American native plants as landscape specimens much more than we do--the grass is always greener?

This plant is highly variable, due to genetics. Its native range is the coastal plain of the Atlantic states and the states along the Gulf of Mexico, and the varieties grow larger from East to West, with some specimens... read more