By Tennessee Palms
A couple days ago I noticed the leaf on my Sabal Minor seedling has been taking off. To me it seemed like it grew about half an inch or so however when I looked back at a Facebook post from November I realized how much it has grown and I'm surprised to see that it slowly pushed out way more than I thought. The picture of it sitting in water is the November picture and the other one is from a few days ago.
For my next post, I want to highlight some of the palms that I've come across in the Cincinnati suburbs outside of the ones in my yard. The first picture is of a windmill palm (trachycapus fortunei) on the eastern side of town. According to the grower, this specimen has endured three winters in the ground with minimal protective measures. His protection for this palm is only a heating cable around the trunk and a frost cloth. This picture was taken in late spring, 2019. It had completely defoliated during January,2019 when temps did drop below zero. The palm started to rebound very quickly. The second picture is the same palm this spring shared to me by the grower with the heating cable still on the trunk and a fully recovered crown.
The next several pictures are from a grower just a stones' throw away from me in the northern Cincinnati suburbs. This grower has some truly wonderful exotics that most nursery staff would say are a waste of time and money in his yard that have proven to be as reliable as tulips simply from protection for wind, placing in the sunniest spots, and extra mulch. The first of these pictures from his yard is a rare true trachycarpus takil that he raised for seed. It has also been in the ground for three years and is only protected by being covered with a mound of straw, no added heat. The other pictures are winter time pictures of his needle palm and sabal minor, He unlike me, does take some protective measures. His protective measures are just covering the trunk of the plant with straw while leaving all leaves exposed. these needle palms and sabal minor have been in the ground since 2006 and laughed off the vortex years.
In my previous post, I shared some pictures of some established needle palms that were planted at a Cincinnati restaurant in about 2009 that never get any special protection of any kind. Here are some pictures that were taken by another local palm enthusiast and shared with me. These pics show the needle palms during the freeze of January, 2019.
Several days ago I received a request for an update on our world famous Sabal Row. But first, some background. I joined PalmTalk and IPS in Jan. 2008 and soon decided I wanted to germinate palm seeds. I chose (and recommend) the Sabal genus for beginning palm growers. Sabal palmetto is FL's State Tree and ubiquitous and I managed to beg, buy and barter Sabals domingensis and maritima. From early 2008 into 2009 I germinated a slew of seedlings. A quick tangent: In 2003 during the housing bubble, some HGTV rejects decided to build a spec home four lots east of our little cottage. Then that spec home bounced through a series of flippers, sustained roof damage in Hurricane Charley and thereafter sat empty and abandoned year after year until well into the housing bust. I looked across the vacant lot next door at that never-lived-in stack of cinder blocks and decided to plant my side of the vacant lot with Sabal seedlings to block views at and from that abandoned edifice. What you see in the following photos grew up since 2009 (the house sold in 2010; the neighbors are nice people). None of these palms are technically mine but I hope if anyone ever builds there, they appreciate privacy as much as we.
Note: Sabals domingensis and maritima are really large palms. Sabal palmetto is the smallest trunking Sabal and one of the slowest growing. Sabal causiarum is a total behemoth. I added a seedling one to the Row after the others and it dwarfs them all.
Sabal Row, March 2020, Cape Coral, FL
Sabal Trunks x3: Palm on left is S. palmetto. Other two may be domingensis and maritima (ID tags disappeared long ago)
Sabal maritima (left), Sabal palmetto (right) - Same age but look at size differential.
Opposite view: Sabal palmetto (right) and Sabal maritima (left)
Sabal palmetto Trunk
Sabal maritima trunk
I germinated the little stemless Sabal in the photos below 11+ years ago from seeds sent to me as "Sabal etonia." My recollection is that these seeds came from a generous PTer in Europe, which complicates matters more than a bit but I was eager to find seeds of S. etonia to test my germination skills. This is the only remaining palm from that lot of seedlings. As I have never met a Sabal etonia in the flesh, I have assumed for years mine is a true etonia. But now I wonder if it might not be a Sabal minor and a "uber dwarf" minor at that. For a Sabal that may be nearly 12 years old, it has remained remarkably tiny: 24" tall by 30" wide. It flowers yearly and produces fewer than 100 fairly small seeds. Its leaves are green but show occasional blue hints and are almost flat. Sabal minor has flat leaves while Sabal etonia leaves are quite costapalmate.
Please study the photos and help me decide which stemless Sabal this guy is.