Glades County, Florida is located in the south-central part of the state and lies to the west of Lake Okeechobee. The county is located in USDA hardiness zone 10, where temperatures rarely get below 30 degrees F. This zone also includes the Miami metropolitan area, though Glades County is on the northern end of the zone. Palm trees grow well in this tropical climate and many are native to the area.
Many palmettos varieties, including the cabbage palm, dwarf, saw and scrub palmettos, are native to Glades County and grow wild. The cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto) is the Florida state tree, and this distinctive tree has a slender trunk with a ball of fan-shaped leaves at the top. The cabbage palm can grow to 60 feet, attracts birds, requires full sun and is very drought tolerant. The saw (Serenoa repens) and scrub (Sabal etonia) palmettos are also native, and both have large fan-shaped leaves that grow on individual stalks. These plants may be invasive and have a deep root system, making them difficult to remove or transplant.
The areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) is also known as the yellow butterfly or bamboo palm. This tree is not native to Glades County but grows well in the area as it requires moderate water and thrives in full sun, though it can grow in some shade. The areca palm, which can grow to 25 feet, is considered a feather palm. The leaves, which resemble feathers and may be up to 8 feet long, grow out of the crown from a slender trunk. Leaves are a green-yellow in color. The areca palm is prone to pests and requires regular fertilizing for best growth.
The Coontie (Zamia floridana) is the only cycad that is native to Florida. A low-grower, the coontie has a short trunk that is mostly underground, and fronds with as many as 30 pairs of dark, green leaflets may appear to grow out of the ground. The fronds can grow to 3 feet and are narrow. This plant, which attracts butterflies, thrives in filtered shade, unless potted inside where strong light is required. Coonties require regular watering and fast-draining soil.