Alphabetical Plant Listing

Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto)

Saw Palmetto, Brahea serrulata, Corypha repens, Serenoa serrulata


Extremely sturdy and long-lived, Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto) is a slow-growing, clumping, multi-trunked palm with creeping, horizontal, many-branched stems forming a tangled mass. Occasionally, it grows as a small tree with erect or oblique stems. At the tips of long petioles armed with sharp spines (hence its common name), are fan-shaped, waxy, evergreen leaves that can reach 3 ft. in diameter (90 cm). They are deeply divided into 18-30 narrow pointed segments. The leaf color ranges from silvery-white to blue-green to green. In late spring to midsummer, fragrant, creamy-white flowers appear on long plume-like branched stalks, up to 3 ft. (90 cm), that grow from the leaf axils. Bees collect nectar from the flowers to produce honey. The blossoms give way to small, fleshy, yellow berries that turn black as they mature. These berries are an important food source for many mammals and birds. Additionally, it is a host plant for the larvae of the palmetto skipper and monk butterflies. Native to the southeastern United States, Saw Palmetto thrives in a humid, subtropical to warm-temperate climate. It is often found as understory in pinelands, hardwood hammocks and woodlands, sand dunes, sand pine scrub, and savannas. It usually occurs on nutrient poor, dry, very well-drained soils, but tolerates seasonally water-logged soils. Cultivated for its ornamental characteristics, Saw Palmetto brings a handsome foliage mass to the landscape and can be used as a textural accent or a foundation plant. It is useful for erosion control, naturalizing or as a groundcover. Salt and drought tolerant, Saw Palmetto can be used in coastal or seaside landscapes. Saw palmetto is exceptionally fire resistant and survives fire by resprouting from persistent root crowns and rhizomes. Saw palmetto has very flammable foliage.

  • Grows up to 5-10 ft. tall (150-300 cm) and 4-10 ft. wide (120-300 cm).
  • Easily grown in any well-drained soils in full sun to full shade. It will benefit from regular waterings at first, but will be very drought tolerant once established. Drought and salt tolerant.
  • No serious pest or disease issues.
  • Propagation by seed is a slow process.
  • Native to the southeastern United States, it is endemic to peninsular Florida and the coastal plains from southeastern Louisiana to southern South Carolina.

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Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 11
Heat Zones 9 – 12
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 5' – 10' (150cm – 3m)
Spread 4' – 10' (120cm – 3m)
Spacing 36" – 60" (90cm – 150cm)
Water Needs Low, Average
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, Southeast, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina
Tolerance Drought, Salt
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Ground Covers, Hedges and Screens, Rain Gardens
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden

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Forest and Kim Starr, Flickr, 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 8 – 11
Heat Zones 9 – 12
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 5' – 10' (150cm – 3m)
Spread 4' – 10' (120cm – 3m)
Spacing 36" – 60" (90cm – 150cm)
Water Needs Low, Average
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, Southeast, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina
Tolerance Drought, Salt
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Ground Covers, Hedges and Screens, Rain Gardens
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden

Great Plant Combination Ideas with Palms - Cycads

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