Long-lived, slow-growing sago palm (Cycas revoluta) has 2- to 3-feet-long leaves and also using age, a trunk, giving it the look of a mini palm. But it belongs to the cycad plant order, a primitive group unrelated to hands. Sago palm’s ancestors dominated Mesozoic forests 65 to 230 million years ago and were probably dinosaur food. If you want a large sago palm and you are not prepared to invest the opportunity to develop one, be prepared to pay a steep price.
Sago palms start out of a circular, orange-red seed that comes out of a female cone. The female cone itself seems like a large, rounded, yellowish flower, with the seeds tucked in one of the cone’s scales. After harvesting the seeds, then place them in a cool place for 2 to three months. Plant seeds on their sides in moist sand. Seeds germinate in two to three months. A two-year-old sago palm seedling typically fills a 5-inch pot with drainage holes. You can also start a small plant by cutting off and rooting a branch from a larger sago palm.
Medium-sized plants are the ideal size for container plants. A 3- to 5-gallon sago palm gives a tropical look for the patio, deck or a brightly lit area of the house. Growing sago palm at a container will slow down the already slow increase, but if you want to maintain it as a houseplant, this is desirable. Native to Japan, sago palm is used there as a bonsai subject. Sago palms typically develop 1 to 2 inches per year, but the speed varies depending on local climate and growing practices. Give sago hands a well-draining potting mix very similar to cactus potting soil and make sure the container has drainage holes. Sago palm is hardy at U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.
Normally only sago palms planted in the ground will reach flowering size. They bloom for the first time at about 15 to 20 years old, having a trunk 10 to 14 inches wide. The leaves cover about a 6-foot location. Sago hands of all sizes have just one set of fresh leaves a year, but they usually don’t make leaves when they’re going to blossom. Plants don’t flower each year even when they’re old enough, creating a cone about every two or three years. To be able to create seeds, both a male and female plant has to bloom at precisely the same time. The male cones are tall and make pollen, differing from the fluffier, dome-shaped female cones.
It takes about 50 years for a sago palm to achieve its adult size of 10 to 12 feet tall with an identical leaf spread. Plants can remain single-trunked or multiple branches develop with age, giving sago hands nearly a shrubby facet. Long-lived sago palms can live to be over 100 years old. Be aware that all plant parts are poisonous, containing a neurotoxin that is harmful if eaten.