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Sago Palm—How to Grow Sago Palms

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Sago Palm—How to Grow Sago Palms Photo © Jon VanZile
Sago palms aren't palm trees at all—these attractive, low-growing plants are actually cycads. These plants are extremely slow-growing and will often put out only one new frond every year. It can easily take a sago palm five or six years to achieve its full pot-size of two feet. These plants are important in tropical landscapes and yield a distinctively Asian look to any houseplant collection.

Growing Conditions:

Light: Bright light, but avoid direct sunlight in summer.
Water: Keep soil continuously moist throughout spring and summer, and reduce watering in the winter.
Temperature: Prefers warm and humid conditions. Hardy to 50ºF, but avoid freezing drafts.
Soil: A well-drained potting mix.
Fertilizer: Fertilize in Spring and throughout growing season.

Propagation:

By seed. Most people do not attempt to propagate sago palms at home, and few home-grown plants will produce cones (the cycads version of flowers), and it takes both a male and female plant to produce viable seeds. In warmer areas with perfect conditions, sago palms may produce suckers that can be potted up individually.

Repotting:

Because they grow so slowly, sago palms will likely only need repotting every three years. In the Spring, however, gently remove plant from pot and refresh potting media to ensure continued healthy growth.

Varieties:

Sago palms are cycads, belonging to the Cycad family and the Cycas genus. Although there are about 40 species in the Cycas genus, the only one seen commonly in the United States is the C. revoluta, or common sago palm.

Grower's Tips:

In their native, subtropical environments, sago palms grow to much larger specimens, with arching fronds that easily measure four feet and often producing suckers that can be individually potted. In the home, replicate these conditions by misting frequently and providing plenty of summer warmth. Consider moving them outside in warmer months. Scale are also a considerable problem in some areas, so treat aggressively at the first sign.
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