Sago Palm is a member of an ancient plant family known as Cycadaceae, dating back 200 million years ago.

Sago Palm is a member of an ancient plant family known as Cycadaceae, dating back 200 million years ago. It is a tropical and sub-tropical showy evergreen that is related to conifers but looks more like a palm. The Sago Palm is very slow-growing and may take up to 50 or more years to reach 10 feet tall. It is frequently cultivated as a houseplant. The leaves grow from the trunk. They are shiny, palm-like, and have spiny tips and the margins of the leaves roll downward.

Sago Palm and Emperor Sago are closely related. Sago Palm has a leaf span of about 6 feet and brown stem color; whereas Emperor Sago has a leaf span of 10 feet with stems that are reddish-brown and leaflet margins are flat. It is also thought to be slightly more cold weather tolerant.  Both of these plants are dioecious which means there must be a male and female plant to reproduce. They reproduce by using exposed seeds (gymnosperm), much like pines and fir trees. Both plants have a palm-like appearance, but they are not true palms. They do not flower, but they produce cones much like conifers. 

The plant is native to the Japanese Island of Kyusha, the Ryukyu Islands, ad southern China. They are found in thickets along hillsides.

The genus name, Cycas, is derived from the Greek word, "kykas," thought to be a transcription error for the word "koikas," meaning Palm tree." The species name, revoluta, means "rolled back or curled back" and refers to the plant's leaves.

Sago Plant requires very little maintenance and prefers bright, but indirect sun. Harsh sunlight can damage the foliage. If the plant is grown indoors, filtered sunlight for 4-6 hours per day is recommended. The soil should be moist and well-drained. They are intolerant to overwatering or poor drainage. They are drought tolerant when established. Sandy, loamy soils with a pH acid to neutral are recommended. They can tolerate brief periods of cold, but frost will damage the foliage. The Sago Plant will not survive if the temperature drops below 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Suckers are produced at the base of the evergreen. The plant may be propagated by seeds or suckers. Pruning may be done to remove dead fronds. 

It will take years for the trunk of Sago Palm to grow from a 1-inch diameter to a 12-inch diameter. This evergreen can range in size from 3-10 feet and 3-10 feet wide. Indoor plants are smaller. Because of their slow growth, they are popular as bonsai plants. The leaves are deep green, stiff, arranged in a rosette, and are supported by a short stalk. The leaves may be 20-60 inches long. Each leaf is divided into many 3 to 6 inch needle-like leaflets.  There must be a male and female plant to produce seeds. The seeds are pollinated by insects or the wind. The male produces an erect golden pineapple-shaped cone. The female plant has a golden feathered flower head and forms a thickly packed seedhead. The seeds are orange to red in color. Pollination occurs from April to June. The seeds mature from September to October. 

Sago Palm is an easy houseplant to maintain. They are elegant grown in containers or urns for use on patios, sunrooms, or entrances to homes. They are beautiful evergreens for use in subtropical or tropical home landscapes as borders, accents, specimens, or in rock gardens.

Caution: All parts of the Sago Palm are toxic to humans and pets if ingested. The plant contains a toxin known as cycasin, and the seeds contain the highest levels. Cycasin can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, weakness, liver failure, and cirrhosis if ingested. Pets may exhibit symptoms of nosebleeds, bruising, and blood in stools after ingestion. Ingestion of any portion of this plant may cause permanent internal damage or death.

Post time: May-20-2022