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Texas palmetto

Sabal Mexicana

Sabal mexicana, Texas palmetto Central Texas Gardener

Sabal Mexicana, often called Texas palmetto, is native to the Rio Grande Valley in extreme southern Texas, near the Gulf of Mexico.

They’re normally available in quite small containers, but don’t let their size in the nursery fool you. These stout-trunked palms get up to 50 feet tall in their native habitat.

The larger they are when purchased, the more expensive they will be, since growth is very slow. The larger the specimen, the older it is and the more time and effort the grower has invested in it. Because of this, most palms are sold according to caliper inch, rather than container size.

Although palms aren’t generally planted for their flowers, once mature, Texas palmetto produces creamy white flowers in spring, on stalks that may extend seven to eight feet above the top of the plant. This is noteworthy, since birds are attracted to them, and to the black, berry-like fruit produced afterward.

As with many other palms, Texas palmettos are evergreen and very adaptable to different soil types. They are fairly xeric, but since these palms are native to a warm, humid, relatively rainy region, they do need a bit of water to stay healthy. Listed as hardy only to USDA Zone 8, an unseasonably harsh winter may lead to the demise of this tree, so be sure to plant on the southwest side of your home, and be prepared to protect this tree during an especially harsh cold snap.
Viewer Video goes to Diana Saunders for her remarkable shot of a Zebra Longwing butterfly laying eggs on passionvine.

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