The Mule Palm is a rare hybrid cross between a Butia capitata and Syagrus romanzoffiana. This palm, just like the mule animal, is sterile and must be pollinated by hand. The pollination process tends to be tedious as the small flowers needed for reproduction reside on the plant’s spikes.
Mature Mule Palms are very strong and hardy, allowing them to withstand frost and temperatures to at least 14°F (-10°C). Mule Palms grow best in full sun or light shade. Resembling a Coconut Palm, they are well sought out for cold climates as they can thrive in areas where the Coconut Palm cannot.
Good drainage is key when growing a Mule Palm. Most will be found as a single focus point in landscapes, but they can be formed in threes to create a small colony. They should be given ample space to not only grow, but also to have viewing room, as they may get wide. Mule Palm are often used to create an island-like feel in landscapes due to their resistance to heat, as well as their appearance.
Mule Palm, Butia Queen Cross, Hybrid
Hardy Range: 8A-10B
Mature Height: 15 -30’
Mature Spread: Feather type leaf can grow between 6-8′ long
Growth Rate: Medium-fast
Mule Palms can grow anywhere from 15 to 30 feet and span their feathery, pinnate leaves up to 6 to 8 feet in width. The shape of their leaves are gracefully curved and create a type of droop as they grow. The bark of Mule Palms is grey and slender. Male Palms may produce small pink flowers. Although this tree can grow rather quickly, it is important to note that these plants are sterile and go through a tedious hand-pollination process. In the rare event that a Mule Palm produces seeds, they will not be able to produce new growth.
Drought Tolerance: High
Exposure: Full sun