Cycas revoluta (SIGH-cus re-vo-LOO-ta)
Evergreen Full sun to light shade Height 10’+ Spacing usually used singly
HABIT: A primitive, rugged trunk, planted with feather-looking leaves and the appearance of a palm. It is related to conifers and ginkgo trees. Trunks are typically 1 – 2’ in diameter and can branch. Stems (petioles) have small protective barbs. Slow growing.
CULTURE: Grow in bed or deep pots with quality potting soil. Need both male and female plants to produce seed. Slow growing. Plants can be started by seed or pups. Feed with mild application of organic fertilizer 2 – 3 times per season.
USE: Evergreen dramatic specimen for beds or containers and can make good bonsai plants.
PROBLEMS: Freeze damage in extremely harsh winters.
NOTES: Cycads have changed little during the last 200 million years. Native to Japan. Seeds are poisonous to dogs – so I’m told.
Q: Until the recent deep freeze, my huge 8-year-old in-ground sago palm had never lost a frond. Despite my best efforts to cover it, water it, and keep it warm, it still got frostbitten on several upper fronds. What's the best way to help the plant bounce back? Thanks very much. J.C., Lewisville Jan 2010
A: Way too far north for them to be outside. Cut the dead fronds off, drench the soil with Garrett Juice or a homemade aerated compost tea and cover the plants with floating row cover if more cold weather comes this way. For long term success with sago palms, move to Houston.