Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto)
- The Cabbage Palm is Florida’s state tree and is well-suited for landscapes, reaching 40 to 50 feet in height. Cabbage Palm is topped with a very dense, 10 to 15-foot-diameter, round crown of deeply cut, curved, palmate leaves. The four to five-foot-long, creamy white, showy flower stalks in the summer are followed by small, shiny, green to black fruits which are relished by squirrels, raccoons, and other wildlife.
- Cabbage Palm is about as hurricane-proof as a tree can be. They stand after many hurricanes have blown over the oaks and snapped the pines in two. They adapt well to small cutouts in the sidewalk, and can even create shade if planted on 6- to 10-foot centers.
- Cabbage Palm is exceptionally easy to transplant and will thrive in full sun or partial shade. It will adapt to slightly brackish water as well as dry, sandy locations and requires no special care once established. But it needs to be watered regularly until established since all cut roots die back to the trunk after transplanting. New roots are regenerated from the base of the trunk and require warm soil temperatures and plenty of water to survive. There is evidence showing that removing all the fronds increases transplant survival. (Which is why ours have few leaves – we are still waiting for them to fan out.)
- If you can’t afford to purchase a transplant, trees can be started from seed which germinate readily.
- There are a few insect pests to watch for: the Giant palm weevil, cabbage palm caterpillar, and a large number of scales infest cabbage palm. The giant palm weevil attacks recently transplanted palms and can kill them. (So keep them well watered during establishment!)
Information Source: Sabal palmetto: Cabbage Palm