Georgia Gardener Newsletter Cool Plant: December 14, 2006

Needle Palm
Rhapidophyllum hystrix

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Species Native Range: Southeastern United States
Hardiness: USDA Zones 6-10
Mature Size: 6-10 feet tall and wide
Exposure: Light to moderate shade
Soil: Moist, well-drained or sandy; tolerates salt
Ease of Culture: Easy

The low temperatures experienced last week in Georgia may have been damaging to other palms, but not the needle palm. This plant can be found growing as far north as Boston with protection and without protection in Washington, D.C. Accounts vary, but established needle palms are reported to be hardy to as low as -15 degrees. Therefore, they can be grown throughout Georgia, even in the mountains.

Needle palm will a maintain a shrubby habit slowly expanding to its mature size. The plant gets its name from the nasty 6-inch (or larger) sharp needles that grow from the crown of the plant. As long as you don't reach into the center base of the plant, you'll be fine.

Use needle palm as an evergreen accent or for a tropical look in a partial shade area, around pools, near ponds or at the edge of a woodland garden. It can also be grown in containers. Good companion plants include: Sum n Substance hosta, Autumn fern, Cast Iron plant, Hydrangeas, etc. Deer resistant.

For more information, visit the web site of the Southeastern Palm Society.


Although I have seen or purchased this plant from the nurseries below, I cannot guarantee that they will have it in stock at the time this newsletter is published.

Home Depot/Home Depot Landscape Supply: multiple locations
Nearly Native Nursery: Fayetteville
Plant Delights Nursery: mail order
Randy's Perennials: Lawrenceville

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