Common Names: blue palm, blue palmetto, dwarf palm, dwarf palmetto
Family: Arecacea/Palmae (palm Family)
Shrub Palm Tolerant of Shade and Low Light Conditions Has evergreen
foliage Has Unusual or Interesting Foliage
Blue-stem is a small fan palm with a trunk that remains below
ground. Depending on age and growing conditions, the leaves can be
anywhere from 1-5 ft (0.3-1.5 m) in length and width. The smooth
petiole (leaf stem) is a little longer than the leaf. The
inflorescence (cluster of flowers) is erect, extending well above
the leaves. The fruits are black, about 1/2 in (1.3 cm) in diameter
and their weight causes the flowering stalk to arch downward,
sometimes to the ground. Also called dwarf or bush palmetto, the
leaves of blue-stem differ from those of the similar-looking saw
palmettoSerenoa repens in having a short midrib, an extension of the
petiole and a smooth stem while the saw palmetto's is armed with
small sharp spines that form the saw like edges that give the plant
Blue palm grows naturally in moist forests, ravines and bottomlands
from North Carolina to east Texas.
Light: Prefers partial sun and can tolerate light shade
Moisture: Prefers moist soils but can tolerate drought
Hardiness: Hardy in zones 8-10. Some varieties are hardy to Zone 7.
Blue-stem palm is sometimes killed above ground by freezing weather,
but re-sprouts the following spring.
Propagation: By seed
Use blue-stem palm as an underplanting or in front of a grove of
tall palms. Blue-stem is one of the hardiest palms in the world, and
for many areas it is one of few palms that can be grown outdoors.
Use it in mixed borders or hedges. Blue-stem palm is especially well
suited for massing around the base of a large live oak. Plant this
palm in shady beds to provide a backdrop of spectacular form and
color for low-light flowering plants like impatiens (Impatiens
wallerana), justicia (Justicia spp.) and caladium (Caladium
Beautiful evergreen foliage makes a dramatic statement under tree
canopies and other shady places. The Louisiana palm is an especially
cold hardy variety of Sabal minor that has been grown as far north
as Zone 7. There's another trunkless member of the Sabal species
that is native to Florida called the scrub palm (Sabal etonia).
Unlike the blue palm which prefers shadier sites and moister soils,
the scrub palm grows on dry sandy soils often on hot sunny sites.
Yet another shrubby palm native to the southeastern United States is
the needle palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix). Young specimens of these
may resemble blue-stems but you can distinguish the two - dark
needles emerging from the base of the plant show that it is a needle