Photo Credit: CSBE
Botanical name: Cycas revoluta
Common name: Sago Palm, King Sago, Sago Cycad, Japanese Sago Palm)
Sago Palm is a popular slow-growing, drought-tolerant plant which bears an attractive dark-green rosette of stiff arching foliage.
The leaves in Sago Palm are a deep semi-glossy green and reach a length of 20-60 in. long.
Sago Palm leaves grow out into a feather-like rosette up to about 3 ft in diameter. The leaflets are stiff and have strongly recurved or revolute edges.
The trunk is characterized by a thick coat of fibers and can branch several times to produce multiple heads of leaves.
Though distinctly palm-like, Sago Palm is not a true palm but belongs to the family Cycadaceae.
Sago Palm matures at the height of 2 ft. The leaves can reach a length of 20-60 in. long and a diameter of about 3 ft.
Sago Palm is native to Southern Japan including Ryukyu Islands and grows best in sandy, well drained soil with some organic matter.
Photo Credit: Virginia Nursery
Sago Palm grows best in bright light or partial shade with some direct sunslight. It can also tolerate direct sunshine. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
Water Sago Palm liberally during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist.
Average warmth with a minimum of 100C is ideal for Sago Palm. It is tolerant to cold temperatures provided the ground is dry. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.
Average room humidity is ideal for Sago Palm. Mist the leaves occasionally and wash them by splashing water from a hose or a spray bottle.
Feed Sago Palm with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.
Repot Sago Palm during the growing season only when the plant has become pot-bound as the plant doesn't like to be disturbed.
Use fast draining soil that is rich in organic matter and a pot that has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
To control the growth of your Sago Palm, grow it in a small sized pot to prevent it from becoming too big.
Pruning Sago Palm involves frequent removal of any dead fronds to maintain your plant neat and tidy.
Cut the fronds of your Sago Palm at the base with clean sharp scissors while taking care to avoid injury as the leaflets are sharp-pointed.
Sago Palm can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from seed or offsets (pups) from mature plants.
Sago Palm seeds take several months to germinate and achieve adequate size for transplanting.
The Sago Palm seeds contain toxins therefore wear gloves while handling.
Soak the Sago Palm seeds in water for a day to soften the outer husks.
Remove the husks and sow the Sago Palm seeds about 1-2 in. deep in moist free-draining soil.
Place the set up in a warm shaded place and maintain the soil moist through out until germination takes place.
Allow the new Sago Palm to be well established before transplanting after which routine care can begin.
Carefully seperate the offset from the mother Sago Palm by cutting with a clean knife or scissors. Ensure the offset has some roots.
Pot the Sago Palm offset in moist free-draining soil and place the set up in a cool shaded place.
Maintain the soil moist through out until new growth emerges in the Sago Palm offset.
Allow the new Sago Palm to be well established before transfering it after which routine care can begin.
Photo Credit: myGarden.com
Yellowing leaves in Sago Palm are caused by underwatering. Maintain the soil consistently moist and never allow the soil ball to dry out completely. Read more on how to water houseplants.
The lower leaves in Sago Palm may turn brown and droop due to age. Remove the aging brown leaves by cutting and not pulling.
If leaf browning in your Sago Palm is general and accompanied by rotting the cause is soggy soil and wetting of the crown. This is an indication of Crown and Stem Rot Disease.
Discard the affected Sago Palm as it will not recover and avoid wetting the crown of your Sago Palm in future.
Water Sago Palm from the bottom in the future and always ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
Overfeeding Sago Palm will result in dry and shrivelled leaves. Sago Palm is a slow grower which does not need frequent feed feeding. Feeding your Sago Palm every four weeks is adequate.
Regularly flush out accumulated salts from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage hole. Read more on how to feed houseplants.
Overwatering or sudden decrease in temperature due to cold draughts are the causes of brown leaf spots in Sago Palm.
Remove the affected leaves from your Sago Palm, reduce watering and protect the plant from cold draughts.
Underwatering Sago Palm is the cause of brown leaf-tips. Maintain the soil moist while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings but never allow the root ball to dry out completely. Read more on how to water houseplants.
Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.
All parts of Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) are toxic to both pets and humans if ingested.
The Sago Palm seeds contain the highest level of the toxin cycasin which causes gastrointestinal irritation and liver failure.