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Native to the Southern United States, the Sabal minor or Dwarf Palmetto is a smaller and much shorter cousin to the familiar Sabal palmetto that lines the streets and palisades of cities in the Deep South, where the fronds were once cut to make ladies’ hand fans. Part of the Dwarf Palmetto’s native range includes the extreme southeastern portion of Virginia. As a result, S. minor is one of the most cold-hardy palms that can be grown in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
S. minor features evergreen, deep blue-green fanlike fronds of one to three feet in length, depending on the age of the plant. A shrubby, clumping palm, it may form short trunks of one to three feet after many years of growth. At maturity, S. minor can range from six to eight feet tall and wide.
Many specimens have endured Zone 7 and lower winter temperatures and being covered in thick ice and deep snow with little or no damage. Given the proper conditions and period of establishment, S. minor should be hardy throughout all Virginia zones. (See Resources, below, to determine your USDA Zone.)
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
September 5, 2013