Learn how to grow sago palm in this article. Growing sago palm is easy, it is a beautiful ornamental plant and can become an excellent specimen in your home and garden.
Sago palms are slow growing plants that take a fair few years (5 or more) to reach their maximum height of appoximatly 2ft, when grown indoors. A plant may only produce one leaf per year, so don’t expect lot’s of new foliage to appear during it’s growing period.
Common name — Sotetsu, sago palm, king sago, sago cycad, Japanese sago palm
Family — Cycadaceae
USDA Zones — 8 – 11
Propagation Method — Seeds, pups
Difficulty — Easy
Soil Type — Slightly acidic to neutral
Native to Japan, cycas revoluta is not a true palm tree (Arecaceae) this slow and low growing ornamental plant is actually a cycad. It has shiny, dark green, feathery leaves which can grow upto 150 cm. (60 inch) long. Its leaves spring from a kind of short and stocky trunk, formed as scales.
The plant contains reserves of water to use during droughts. The cycads live very long life without any difficulty.
Sago palm propagation
You can propagate sago palm from seeds or from lateral shoots. In both the cases, the process is slow and germination rate is low, so it is better to buy a plant from nursery.
Requirements for growing sago palms
Sago palm can be grown in full sun but performs better in area with shade in afternoon.
When plant is actively growing water sago palm moderately. Do deep watering, moist the soil well in each watering session but let the soil to dry out between this. During the period of dormancy (when the light is low or in winter) water sparingly.
Sago palm prefers sandy, well drained neutral soil with pH level around 6 to 7. Even so, it can be grown in wide variety of soils it is best to grow it in potting mix formulated for palms.
Sago palms are grown outside in subtropical and tropical climate without much care. Below USDA Zone 9, care in winter is needed. Plant can withstand 14F (-10 C), below this temperature damage occurs.
Sago palm requires nitrogen rich fertilizer such as of N-P-K (18 – 6 – 8 ) with trace elements to maintain its lush green crown.
Look out for magnesium deficiency like yellowing upper leaves and frizzle top. Spray with one tablespoon epsom salt mixed in one gallon of water if necessary.
Repot your sago palm plant when the trunk covers 2/3 surface of soil. Generally in every 2 or 3 years.
Pests, Diseases and Other problems
- Sago palm is relatively disease free plant but due to poor drainage, problems like root rot and crown rot can occur. To save the plant, ensure good drainage and treat rotted parts with fungicide.
- Young plants are more prone to pests than adults. Some common pests that attacks it are scales, mealy bugs and thrips. For a pest free sago palm, keep the plant healthy and spray with pesticides if it is infected.
- The malformed leaves are due to lack of light or excess of water. To cure this, increase interval of watering and place your plant in more sunny spot. Whereas, yellowing and drying of lower leaves is nothing but probably a natural disposal of older leaves