Dwarf Palmetto, Bluestem Palmetto, Blue Palm, Louisiana Palmetto

Sabal minor var. louisiana

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sabal (SAY-bal) (Info)
Species: minor var. louisiana
Synonym:Sabal louisiana




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:

Mobile, Alabama

South Lyme, Connecticut

Auburndale, Florida

Augusta, Georgia

Clayton, Georgia

Woodstock, Georgia

Chicago, Illinois

Murphysboro, Illinois

Plainfield, Indiana

Edgard, Louisiana

La Place, Louisiana

Mandeville, Louisiana

New Iberia, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Schriever, Louisiana

Thibodaux, Louisiana

Vacherie, Louisiana

Bishopville, Maryland

Centreville, Maryland

Preston, Maryland

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Edmond, Oklahoma (2 reports)

Jay, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Jacksonville, Texas

Norfolk, Virginia

Martinsburg, West Virginia (2 reports)

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 25, 2017, PhillyLover from Philadelphia Suburbs, PA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Someone in Northern Florida gave me seed from flowering age plants that he said were sold to him as the Louisiana variety. He has several other Sabal minor types in his garden so not sure of the genetics due to possible cross pollination. They all germinated easily and were grown for a year to a full one gallon size before they were planted in the garden in full sun in exposed areas. Their first winter in the ground was the coldest in 30 years here. They survived but all growth above the ground was dead. They pushed new growth over the summer. Three years later, they are now all about 2 1/2' tall and the leaves are fewer but larger than my (possible) S. minor 'McCurtain'. The Louisiana plants seem to get a little less winter damage and grow a little faster as compared to the (possible) 'Mc... read more


On Oct 27, 2014, CrispyCritter from Clayton, GA wrote:

I live in North Georgia in the Appalachian mountains, these things grow great here. I started with a 5 gallon about 5 years ago. It has never been damaged by the Winter cold, snow, ice, temps down to 10F.

Actually this largest one has been going to seed for the last few years, and I've been randomly poking the seeds into the ground around my property, where they tend to come up the next year- even the tiny one,two leaf seedlings are undamaged by the cold.

I have one other sabal minor that is in a very exposed place and it has gotten some damage- burnt leaves- but every year it replaces anything burnt the winter before.


On Apr 23, 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 Apr 15, 2014, niagarapalms from St. Catharines,
Canada wrote:

Grew 50 Louisiana's from seed about twelve years ago and planted in ground about 9 years ago once established. Some of the faster growing plants had reached frond heights of 5 feet on my west facing wall. The winter of 2014 finally reminded me that I live in Canada. I lost 7 of 10 in one garden and the three remaining really took a beating. Very disappointing to see them go. I am certain that they were the only true sabal's growing in the area naturally (zone 6b niagara).


On Jan 8, 2014, longjonsilverz from Centreville, MD wrote:

Louisiana Palmetto is a great palm for cold tolerance. Here in Eastern Maryland (zone 7) this palm thrives and received very little damage from the 2014/15 winter which was one of the coldest on record (many nights near 0F). During average winters its flawless and has never been protected. It seems every bit as hardy as standard Sabal Minor, at least for this area. It grows very slow, compared to other plants, but when compared to Sabal Minor, and some other Sabals, it seems to have a faster growth rate at least from what I have observed here. Eventually it will form a trunk but be very patient because it will take MANY years. It is much hardier than windmill palms and is a good choice for those wanting a trunking palm but have not had success with windmills.


On Oct 28, 2013, TDogg77 from Belle Vernon, PA wrote:

This palm made it through last winter (it's first here) with little trouble. Some tip burn but most foliage came through intact. I did give protection from the wind and mulched heavily around the base.
It saw temps as low as 5 degrees in addition to heavy snow and ice. Sabal Louisiana is a pretty fast grower too adding 5 new fronds this summer. A good palm to try in zone 6A!

Update September of 2014:
Sabal Louisiana had a rough winter here. It saw 2 nights of -8 and a few more below 0. There were also many days in a row that never reached freezing. That being said it died almost to the mulch line.
It was still very much alive though. Sabal Louisiana has put out 3 fronds and is working on 4 right now. In addition it is pushing a flower stalk.
... read more


On Oct 29, 2012, WVTropics from Martinsburg, WV wrote:

This is an update to my previous post in 2011. So far this plant has been in the ground for 3 years in Martinsburg, West Virginia (6b) and has done better than even my Needle Palms. This plant has had, at most, only minor tip burn. While it is planted near the house it is not protected from the cold winter winds. This plant has set seed twice for me. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this plant if you are into trying out palms in marginal climates. It is tremendously slow growing but when people think you can't grow palms where you live it doesn't matter.


On May 1, 2012, SuburbanNinja80 from Plainfield, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is very Fast Grower, When I got it it just had its fat Grass looking Leafs on. Now its starting its full Fan leafs. Very very Hardly. My Only Complaint is If you don't Protect it Really well then your going to have Cold damage on it. I learned that the hard way. yet the Standard "Sabal Minor" was still 95% Green. In Zone 6a. Last winter was a 9b winter so very mild winter.


On Mar 5, 2011, Polarpalm from Martinsburg, WV wrote:

I planted a large Louisiana Palmetto in my yard (zone 6b) near to the house but not smack dab against it. It pulled through the winter marvelously! There are a few leaf tips that have browned, but that's it! The spears are solid and the plant looks wonderful.

I must admit that I was surprised that it did so well. The only protection I gave it was some leaf litter. In the fall (late November) I piled some dried leaves from the yard over it...but it only covered the part of the plant closest to the ground. Most of the plant was exposed...increasingly so as the wind blew away many of the leaves over the winter.

I am highly impressed with the performance of this plant. I plan to try another specimen of this plant to see if it does as well as the one I h... read more


On Jan 5, 2011, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is an incredible understory plant that is totally taken for granted around here in southern Louisiana. Apparently it will soon be getting its own species name (Sabal louisiana?), or so I've heard. Amazing glaucous (bluish) foliage, ridiculous cold tolerance (probably in the top 3 most cold-hardy palms on earth), rigid leaves that do not get torn up by wind (unlike those of its ugly taller brother the Cabbage Palmetto). If you're standing in a forest and can look around and not see a Dwarf Palmetto growing right at the base of a Live Oak or Bald Cypress, you're not standing in south Louisiana.

Due to their deep underground trunks, these are all but impossible to dig up in the field, unless you're talking about a little baby seedling. I generally have to forcibly rest... read more


On Nov 7, 2009, purplesun from Krapets,
Bulgaria (Zone 8a) wrote:

This one is another survivor. It didn't die after three weeks with no watering after being planted in the ground. It has even grown its first bifid leaf here in Z8a. I already lost one plain Sabal minor because of transplanting in mid-season, so I hope this one will become a permanent element of my garden.

Update April 7th, 2010: My three-year old Louisiana Palmetto has survived a bitterly cold winter with temps dipping to -3 degrees F under heavy snow cover, in Krapets, Bulgaria. Palm virtually untouched!


On Jan 22, 2008, hardyinokc from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

I have had this growing on the south side of my house for 4 years now (Z7). I have never covered it with anything, just 6" of mulch around the base. Have never lost a single leaf to the cold. Lovely bluish-green leaves.


On Apr 30, 2005, aviator8188 from Murphysboro, IL (Zone 7a) wrote:

The louisiana variety is a Sabal minor with a trunk basically. Some debate whether it's actually a different variety of minor or not. In some cases, old specimens of S. minor can form a short trunk, similiar to the louisiana variety. There are native populations of the louisiana variety growing near lake Ponchatrain (sp?) just outside of New Orleans. The louisiana is usually as hardy as minor, but can lose some hardiness when it forms a trunk. I would rate minor a 7a hardy palm and would grow in 6b if planted in a warm microclimate. However, to be on the safe side, var. louisiana is probably a 7b palm, definitely worth a try in 7a. It would probably require adequate protection in 6b compared to minor. It's very beautiful with costapalmate leaves and a short, fat trunk. Seeds are also very ... read more