One of our favorite native plants for the garden is Sabal minor, yet you rarely see these mentioned in lists of great native plants to use in the garden. I wonder if this is because they don’t have that “weedy, unkempt” look that most folks associate with Southeastern US natives. I’ve talked with many native plant enthusiasts, who dismiss Sabal minor as not fitting well into a native plant garden. Imagine that, for a plant that thrives in both sun and shade, and in both wet and dry soils. I would think this would be the poster child for great garden-worthy natives.

Below is a clump of Sabal minor ‘Pittsview’, grown from our seed collection in 2006 of a particularly narrow-leaflet form in Russell County, Alabama near the town of Pittsview. There are few other plants, with this much interest in the winter garden. Sabal minor varies greatly in mature size, from the giant 6-8′ tall specimens from Eastern NC, to dwarf populations were the plants never top 18″ tall.

Sabal minor ‘Pittsview’

Below, growing a few feet away in full sun, in a bone dry location, is Sabal minor ‘Wakula Dwarf’, a compact selection from a Florida population.

Sabal minor ‘Wakula Dwarf’

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