How To Grow Cabbage Palm Tree (Sabal palmetto)

Group of Cabbage Palm Trees (Sabal palmetto)
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto). Photo by Wiki Commons.

The Cabbage Palm Tree, scientific name Sabal palmetto, is one of many of the cold hardy palm trees belonging to the genus Sabal. The Cabbage Palm Tree has gain popularity because it is very durable and will tolerate a wide variety of soil and weather conditions.

This cold hardy palm is widely used for landscaping all throughout Florida and other southern states, including; Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, Arizona, and California. Because it is very salt tolerant you can plan it in the beachside.

Quick Facts:

Scientific name:Sabal palmetto
Common names:Sabal bermudana, Sabal causiarum, Sabal etonia, Sabal mexicana, Sabal minor, Sabal miamiensis, Sabal Palmetto Sabal Palm, Carolina Palmetto, and Sabal Palmetto. All these names come from the Spanish “palmito” that means small palm.
Origin:Native to Southeastern United States.
Growth Rate:Slow. Up to 40 ft tall and 15 ft wide.
Cold Tolerance:USDA Zones 8a (10 -15 F) to – 11 (above 40 F)
Light Req:Full sun.
Water Req:Moderate. Drought tolerant.
Soil Req:Widely adaptable
Fruit:Black. Edible.
Propagation:Seed, germinating in 2-3 months. Stems developed deeply in soil.

Cabbage Palm Identifying Characteristics

The Cabbage Palm has a single, gray, unbranched trunk covered with old leaf bases, also known as boots. Leaf bases create a criss-cross pattern. It gets smoother as the palm matures. Trunk is about 10-15 inches in diameter.

Because there is no crownshaft, large leaves grow right from the trunk spreading in all directions 15 ft wide. Leaves range in color from bright green to deep olive green. Spineless stems are about 5-6 ft long.

The Cabbage Palm has costapalmate type leaves, mix of palmate and pinnate, or mix of feather shaped and fan shaped leaves. Leaves have 50-80 leaflets that are about 1″ to 2″ wide. The Cabbage Palm is very durable and resistant to breaking with strong root system which penetrates the soil to 15-20 feet deep.

In the wild Sabal palmetto can grow up to 80ft tall, but in cultivation it usually doesn’t get higher than 30-40 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide.

Cabbage Palm Flowers and Fruits

In the summer, the Cabbage Palm bears small creamy to white flowers that droop in clusters from within the crown. Fragrant flowers are held by 2ft long branching inflorescence.

Flowers are followed by a black fruit 1/3 inch with a single seed inside. The Cabbage Palm fruit is edible.

How to Care For Cabbage Palm

The Cabbage Palm is very durable because it adapts to all kinds of soil and weather conditions. It can tolerate drought as well as cold down to 10F when mature enough. Grows best in the USDA Zones 8a (10 to 15 F) to – 11 (above 40 F).

It likes full sun but can also grow in a partial shade. Less sun exposure will increase the crown of the palm. Although it is very tolerable palm it likes moist well drained soil.

The Cabbage Palms is very much maintenance free. Apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during growing season.

Generally very healthy palm but might have some problems with leaf hoppers, Palmetto weevils, Ganoderma, graphiola false smut.

Cabbage Palm Pictures

Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto).
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto). Photo by Flickr.
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto). Photo by Flickr.
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto)
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto). Photo by Flickr.
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto)
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto). Photo by Flickr.
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto)
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto). Photo by Flickr.
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto)
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto)
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto). Photo by Flickr.
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto)
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto). Photo by Flickr.
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto)
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto). Photo by Flickr.
Cabbage Palm Tree (Sabal palmetto)
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto). Photo by Flickr.
group of Cabbage Palm Trees (Sabal palmetto)
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto). Photo by Flickr.
Row of Cabbage Palm Trees (Sabal palmetto)
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto). Photo by Flickr.

More information can be found on EDIS and Floridata sites.

2 thoughts on “How To Grow Cabbage Palm Tree (Sabal palmetto)”

  1. QUESTION: HOW OLD DO THE CABBAGE GET? I KNOW OF ONE THAT IS AT LEAST 80. I REMEMBER IT FROM WHEN I WAS SIX YEARS OLD.

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