Cycas revoluta
Common Name: Sago palm
Type: Palm or Cycad
Family: Cycadaceae
Native Range: Southern Japan
Zone: 9 to 10
Height: 3.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: non-flowering
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-10 (possibly including protected areas in Zone 8) where it is easily grown outdoors in sandy, humusy, well-drained soils in full sun to shade. Perhaps best in part shade. Appreciates a good mulch. Superior soil drainage is needed. Established plants tolerate some drought. Plants also tolerate temperatures that briefly dip into the high teens but some frost damage to the foliage will occur. Plants may not survive temperatures below 15 degrees F. Plants sucker at the base. Propagation is by suckers/offsets or seed. Very slow growth, but plants live a long time. Indoors plants should be planted in containers with a soil-based potting mix amended with sand and peat. Site plants in filtered sun for 4-6 hours per day (as through a window curtain on an east, west or southern window). Needs regular and consistent moisture with soil surface nearly drying between water applications.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Notwithstanding the common name of sago palm or King Sago palm, this cycad is botanically closer to conifers than to palms. This species in native to Kyushu (third largest Japanese island), the Ryukyu Islands and southern China. It is a very slow-growing, symmetrical plant that produces a crown of shiny, arching, palm-like, evergreen palmate leaves atop a shaggy upright trunk. Trunks take a long time to form (1" diameter trunks may take years to eventually reach 12" diameter). Young plants typically grow to 2-3' tall over several years, but may take 50 or more years to eventually reach 10' tall. Arching pinnate leaves (to 3-7' long depending on age) form a loose, feather-like rosette with leaflets to 7" long. Each leaf has a large mid-rib with very narrow, rigid, spiny-tipped, deep green leaflets. Leaflets have revolute edges (margins rolled downward), hence the specific epithet. Young sago palm plants produce leaves intermittently in several different growth spurts per year, however mature plants only produce leaves once per year. Plants are dioecious (separate male and female plants). Female plants will not produce seed without a nearby male, however these plants rarely flower when grown indoors in containers. Males produce upright yellowish ellipsoid pollen cones (to 12-18" tall). Orbicular female cones produce vermilion seeds.

Genus name comes from the Greek name for a kind of palm.

Specific epithet means means rolled back.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Scale and mealybugs. Spider mites in dry air. For more information see: Problems Common to Many Indoor Plants

Garden Uses

Shrub border. Lawn specimen. Rock gardens. Containers. Easy to grow houseplant.