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Dwarf Sugar Palm

Arenga engleri


The Dwarf Sugar Palm or Arenga is a multi-trunk, clustering palm with a short and wide spreading growth habit that makes them a great hedge. You can use a Dwarf Sugar Palm (arenga) almost as you would a large, wide-spreading shrub but it gives a yard a decidedly tropical look. Its long, large-leafed fronds with silvery undersides contrast well with the textures and colors of other plantings.  Dwarf Sugar Palms can also be used as an understory plant in a garden shaded by trees or taller palms.  They tend to spread less and can also be an outstanding stand-alone specimen.




Dwarf Sugar Palms are slow-growing to an average height of about 8 feet tall.  Their width may be determined by whether they are planted in sun or shade - expect 8 feet wide (in shade) to 15 feet wide (in sunnier locations).


Arengas are cold-tolerant palms that thrive almost anywhere in South Florida - from Zone 9B and southward.

The Dwarf Sugar Palm will grow slightly faster in full sun but it will keep a deeper green color when planted in partial to full shade. In a full sun location, this palm's fronds tend to turn lime-green




Enrich you soil with an organic peat moss or top soil when planting.

Arenga Palms like to be watered regularly but don’t like to have “wet feet”.  Plant Dwarf Sugar Palms on the high side if the area isn't well-drained. 


As the Dwarf Sugar Palm matures it will form aerial roots that push it above the soil surface.  That actually helps provide good drainage for the health of the plant.


Apply palm fertilizer at least 3 times a year, in spring, summer and fall. If the palm is planted in full sun, fertilize it more often (up to once a month in warmer weather). In a full sun location, this palm's fronds tend to turn lime-green or yellow, so the extra fertilization helps prevent this discoloration.


These palms aren't considered self-cleaning but you'll only need to trim off an old frond occasionally...or side shoots if you want to keep it less wide.




Even though its fronds can extend an average of 6 feet or more you can plant an Arenga Palm as close as 3 feet from the house. Just cut off any fronds along the back that touch the wall.


For a privacy screen or hedge you will want to space the plants 3 to 6 feet apart, depending on the density you want. When planted as a screen their fronds will merge together in tight-knit plantings.


As a stand-alone specimen, a Dwarf Sugar Palm will extend to 6 feet, so allow enough room to get by comfortably as it matures.


The Dwarf Sugar Palm makes an excellent container palm because of their slow growth rate.


Landscaping with Dwarf Sugar Palms


• use as a privacy screen along a patio, pool or property line

• as a hedge plant

• as a single specimen

• to accent a corner

• to provide interest along a tall blank wall

• to cover an unsightly fence

• as a container palm


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