How to Grow a Sago Palm Tree – Cycas Revoluta

The Sago Palm Tree , scientific name Cycas revoluta, is a widely cultivated palm that is native to southern Japan. It is very popular plant that grows throughout the tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and Australia, Asia, North and South America. Although it is commonly known as Sago Palm, this plant is not really a palm but rather a Cycad. It is one of the oldest plants in the world going back 300 million years. This plant is member of Cycadaceae family and Cycas genus.

The Sago palm is one of the most popular cycads in cultivation. This ornamental palm can be grown outdoors or indoors. It is often used alone as an accent tree or grown clusters. It can be grown as a border shrub and combined with border grass and camellias. Since this is very short plant, it looks great under taller palm trees and will be a wonderful addition to the Asian rock garden. It is also a great container plant that can be grown in the pot indoors or outdoors on a patio. This Cycad is a very popular bonsai tree.

Subterranean shaggy trunk supports a beautiful crown of dark green, feathery, arching leaves that are about 4ft long. Fronds have glossy leaflets that grow in a ‘V’ shape on both sides of the leaf. This tree is very symmetrical. In late spring or early summer, new light green leaves appear all at once creating a circle that looks like a rosette. This palm is very slow growing and it will take years for it to reach 6ft. It can eventually get up to 20ft, but that might take over 150 years.

This plant is dioecious, buy tropical plants in NY is either male or female. Male plants have a rod shaped cone and the female develops a group of scalelike leaves that form a globe. Male cones are yellow, about 12-18 in tall. Female formation is light yellow with bright orange seeds among the leaves that are about 1.5 in. Pollination occurs by wind or insects.

Cycas revoluta is very durable and can tolerate drought and cold temperatures. It grows best in full sun and wet but well-drained soil. Too much water might cause a root rot. This palm is extremely cold hardy and can be grown in 7b zone where temperatures can drop down to 5F. It will tolerate cold temperatures that cold without a damage for a short period when mature enough. If the cold lasts for more than few hours, it might cause leaf damage or even kill the tree. It is very easy to grow and care for since it doesn’t require any maintenance except for fertilization. Apply high quality fertilizer during growing season.

You can propagate this palm by seeds or by offsets. Seed germination will take around 3-6 months. You can propagate by removing offsets that grow at the base of the tree. To do that, remove the suckering offsets by carefully cutting them from the base. You can also try pulling them off. Make sure not to damage the plant. It is better to do it during winter months when the tree is dormant.


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