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Sago Palm

Cdycas revoluta 'Sago'

Sago Palm

Introduction

The Sago Palm has become a very popular landscape item. However it is not a palm but rather a Cycad. Cycads are a group of plants that are date back to the dinosaurs. Therefore as a group, cycads are often referred to as “living fossils”.

Sago Palms have erect, sturdy trunks that are typically about one to two feet in diameter, sometimes wider and can grow into very old specimens with twenty feet of trunk. The leaves are dark olive green and about three to four feet long when the plants are of a reproductive age. They can be longer if not grown in full sun. Trunks can branch multiple times, thus producing multiple heads of leaves. The trunks are rough and retain the old leaf bases. It is also the norm that plants will produce basal offsets or “suckers” at the base of the main trunk. An older plant with a well-established trunk will have foliage overhead. Younger plants look like a rosette of leaves coming from a stem near the ground.

Use and Management

In general, Sago Palms need full sun to grow well. In more interior locations or dessert localities, they still prefer good sun or at least part day sun. Growing the Sago Palm in the shade typically gives one lanky, starched-out leaves that are weak. With too much shade, this species can actually just stop growing and do nothing.

Like other cycads, they do not want to be over-watered. Let the soil dry out before watering. Try to avoid overhead watering; this may cause rot and possibly total decay of the plant. The soil mix should be quick draining. The plants are quite cold hardy and can tolerate temperatures below 20 degrees F. Overall, it is an available species that is quite versatile and easy to grow. It is usually free from pests but can occasionally get into problems with scale or mealybug, which should be treated.

Plant in pool areas for residential areas.

Planting

  • Typically planted in 5, 7, 10, 15, 30, 45, 65, or 95 gal containers.
  • B&B trees are specified in height (6’ – 8’ ht, etc)
  • Container trees can be double the price of B&B trees
  • Plant container trees in late summer, if price allows
  • Plant B&B trees if they were dug and cured in the winter months

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