Alphabetical Plant Listing

Rhapidophyllum hystrix (Needle Palm)

Needle Palm, Blue Palmetto, Porcupine Palm


One of the hardiest palms, Rhapidophyllum hystrix (Needle Palm) is a shrubby, rounded, evergreen palm with a short, thick trunk and large, palmate, lustrous dark green leaves that can reach 3 ft. in diameter (90 cm). Borne at the tips of unarmed petioles, each leaf is deeply divided into 5-12 stiff and narrow segments, arranged in an open fan. Creamy-white flowers are held in densely branched panicles and are usually hidden by the foliage. They give way to small, reddish brown fruits. The leaf sheaths have long, needle-like, stiff and sharp spines (hence the common name), making this dense-foliaged palm impenetrable to most wildlife. Tolerating drought and heavy soils, Needle Palm is also hardy to 5°F (-15°C). It may be killed to the ground, but since it is a suckering palm, it may come back from such a hard freeze. Cultivated for its ornamental characteristics and its rusticity, Rhapidophyllum hystrix brings a handsome foliage mass to the landscape and can be used as a textural accent or a foundation plant. It also lends interest to a shady border or a container.

  • Grows up to 3-6 ft. tall (90-180 cm) and 4-8 ft. wide (120-240 cm). This plant suckers along the stems to form dense clumps.
  • Easily grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade in a location that is sheltered from winter winds. Best performance is in part-shade. Mulch around the base of the plant in winter.
  • No serious pest or disease issues.
  • Propagate from suckers or from seed. Seeds germinate in about 6 to 12 months.
  • Native to South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.

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Requirements

Hardiness 6 – 10
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Palms - Cycads
Plant Family Palms - Cycads
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spread 4' – 8' (120cm – 240cm)
Spacing 72" – 84" (180cm – 210cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Drought
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden

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 Sanyawadee (Shutterstock)

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 6 – 10
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Palms - Cycads
Plant Family Palms - Cycads
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 3' – 6' (90cm – 180cm)
Spread 4' – 8' (120cm – 240cm)
Spacing 72" – 84" (180cm – 210cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Drought
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden

Great Plant Combination Ideas with Palms - Cycads

Guides with Palms - Cycads

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