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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - November 09, 2012

From: Dale, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Transplants, Trees
Title: Freeze-resistant palms for Central Texas
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I live in Lytton Springs just north of Lockhart. What is a good hardy palm that I can get that will grow without the worry of freeze?

ANSWER:

There are two cold-tolerant palm species native to Texas.  Sabal mexicana (Mexican palm) is found along the lower Rio Grande.  Like all palms, it grows slowly, but ultimately can reach 50 feet in height.  Sabal minor (Dwarf palmetto), on the other hand, only grows to about 5 feet and is found in Central Texas.  Sabal palmetto (Cabbage palmetto) is a native of the southeastern U. S. coast, and Washingtonia filifera (California fan palm) grows in desert canyons of California.  These are described in a useful web site describing palms suitable for the Dallas area. Some non-native palms are also listed there, along with tips on cultivation of palms.

A variety of palms can be purchased at Central Texas nurseries, as listed on this Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center web site.  Images of the U.S. native palms are shown below.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas palm
Sabal mexicana

Texas palm
Sabal mexicana

Dwarf palmetto
Sabal minor

Cabbage palmetto
Sabal palmetto

California fan palm
Washingtonia filifera

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