The Sabal minor is a small palm of Central-North American origin; the adult specimens reach 180-250 cm in height. It has a short roundish stem, 40-120 cm high, made up of segments of the petioles of the fallen leaves, green or brown green. The fronds of this plant are green on the upper side, bluish green on the lower page; they have a long, thick and rigid petiole, which reaches 90-100 cm in length; the foliage is roundish, consisting of 20-50 segments lanceolate, rigid and with a papyrus appearance. In spring it produces small whitish or brown flowers, gathered in erect, ramified inflorescences, which rise from the foliage; the flowers are followed by numerous dark, oval fruits, whose weight generally causes the arch of the inflorescence. Each fruit of sabal minor contains a fertile seed. These palms are quite common in the Mediterranean area and are also cultivated in continental Europe; they are often planted in groups of some specimens or at the feet of taller palms.
It is a species that in the places of origin develops in the undergrowth, therefore it prefers shady or semi-shady locations, with a few hours of direct sunlight per day; it does not fear the cold and can withstand winter temperatures close to -15 ° C; it can happen that particularly cold winters damage the plants until they freeze completely, in these cases generally in spring the plant starts producing new fronds.
From March to October we water the sabal minor with regularity, avoiding leaving the soil dry for a very long period of time; in any case, these palms can easily withstand short dry periods. During the winter months we water only in case of very prolonged drought. Pay attention to water stagnation which can be tolerated for short periods but not very long. In fact, this plant clearly suffers from prolonged water stagnation and continuous humidity.
These palms love the soft, rich in organic matter, and quite well drained soils. They can also be cultivated in a container by solving the problem of winter by moving the plant to a sheltered area, away from cold currents and frost. If we cultivate in vado we will have to remember the fertilizations from time to time. If you have no idea how much to fertilize your plants you can use a very simple method: look at the plant. In general, the plant that needs to be fertilized is decaying, yellowish and badly placed and these signs of malaise are typical of a plant that needs fertilization as soon as possible.
If we do not want to get to this stage but we intend to intervene before the plant gives signs of discomfort, let us remember to fertilize at the beginning of every season with natural fertilizer (pelleted or flour) or slow release granular chemical fertilizer. In both cases, but especially in with chemical fertilizer, we make sure not to overdo the quantities because we could burn the plant.
Sabal multiplication typically occurs by seed; the young specimens must be cultivated in a place protected from the direct sun for some years before being able to be planted; remember that young plants may be more prone to damage from cold or drought so we will need to pay special attention and proper care at this stage of its growth.
Sabal minor: Pests and diseases
In general, sabal minot plants are not attacked by pests or diseases; the cultivation in a very dry place can cause the development of mites and cochineal.