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Saw palmetto growing haphazardly

How to Grow Saw Palmetto


If you live in Florida, growing saw palmetto palm trees aka serenoa repens should not be a hassle. The tree is indigenous to the region and is often seen adorning residential landscapes. Plus, it can tolerate a lot of severe conditions and can even thrive in coastal regions. I have several plants that I am cultivating at the moment and would love to share how I grew them with you.

Growing Saw Palmetto

Step 1 – Plant the Seeds

Unlike plants, the best way to grow saw palmetto is by propagating it from a plant from the nursery. While you can grow it from a seed, you will have to wait longer (15 to 20 years) to enjoy the berries it produces ( However, if you want to start from the seed, soak it in warm water for 24 hours first and score the seed coat beforehand. This will allow moisture to seep through.

Step 2 – Transfer the Seedlings to a Pot

The seed may take a month to sprout and when it does, transfer the saw palmetto plant into a pot and allow it to grow for at least two or three years before transplanting it. When the plant is mature enough, choose an area that gets some sun as well as shade. It can grow in direct shade and/or sunlight, but it will not be as hardy as you want it to be. You can also transplant it in a pot.

Step 3 – Transplant the Saw Palemetto to your Garden

The palmetto plant needs a lot of space to thrive. Even though it can thrive in almost any kind of soil, you should plant it in soil that is slightly sandy. The serenoa repens plant thrives in burnouts so plant it in an area that you want to vegetate. Once you find the ideal spot, dig a hole that is larger than the root bulb and place it in there before covering the roots with soil.

If you are planting several palmetto plants, make sure they are 36 to 60 inches apart from one another. Otherwise, the plants will not establish, which can stunt their growth significantly. Given the fact that saw palmetto grows an inch only every year, following this tip will be worth your while (

Watering and Harvesting

Water your saw palmetto palm plant regularly, but don’t overdo it. If you add too much water to the soil it can get waterlogged, which is not good for the roots of the growing plants. Just give them a good soak once in a week. Once establishes itself, the saw palmetto can withstand the toughest droughts without drying out.

You will have to wait three to six years to harvest the berries though. These are purple in colour and are similar in size to cherry tomatoes. Just make sure you wear heavy gloves when you are picking these out. The leaf stalks of saw palmetto palm plants are filled with sharp saw-like ‘teeth’ and you will tear your hands to shreds if you get caught in them (


Q: How do you take care of saw palmetto?

A: Saw palmetto can thrive under direct and consistent sunlight, but it can flourish in almost any light conditions. Water it thoroughly in the beginning but reduce that to once a week once the plants are established.

Q: Where does saw palmetto grow?

A: Saw palmetto thrives in sandy soil and can be found growing abundantly in Georgia, Cuba and Florida.

Q: How fast does saw palmetto grow?

A: It doesn’t grow fast at all. In fact, it grows one to two inches every year provided it is well taken care of.

Q: How do you dig up saw palmetto?

A: Just dig it up from the base using a shovel and some thick gloves. However, you should ask a professional to do it first. You may injure yourself otherwise and they may have more tricks up their sleeve than you do,


Growing this haphazard, yet beautiful plant can be difficult at first and the rewards will be slow in coming. However, patience will go a long way. Just remember to:

  • Water the plants once a week only and thoroughly.
  • Use heavy gloves to handle the saw-like fronds.
  • Do yourself a favour and get a plant from a nursery and transplant it. A seed may or may not germinate.

If you have any queries just mention them in the comment section below and I will get back to you.