>>> Gardening questions
A practical guide to Sago palm growing and caring
Where can sago palms grow?
Sago palms will grow anywhere where the summers are warm and mild and where they will be sheltered out of frosts and snow. If kept in pots they can be grown in cold climates providing they are overwintered and your summers aren't too cold. If your climate isn't characterised by frost-ridden winters then growing a sago palm in the ground is certainly an option. Obviously palms that grow in the ground have less maintenance requirements and can grow much taller than their pot-bound counterparts.
What problems can you expect with the sago palm
- Slow growing - while they look fantastic when they're a decent size waiting around for them to grow can be an exercise in patience. In most cases they will only add 1-2" (2-5cm) per year - and that's a good year.
- Great leaf catchers - because of their shape and growing habit, sago palms are great leaf catchers. This is a bonus if that's why you wanted to grow this plant but for most gardeners it can become they reason they rip them out. Therefore, plant them in a location that isn't beneath a deciduous or leaf-shedding tree.
- They need warm summers - while sago palms can put up with cold winters they really struggle if they can't enjoy some summer warmth. If your summers don't average at least 20°C (70°F) then the sago cycad may not be an option for your garden.
- They need sun - just like warm summers, cycas revoluta basks in full sun. While they will grow in shade and perform quite well in part-shade they can often become leggy and more disease-prone without at least half a day of full-sun.
- Deadly to dogs - for those gardening pet-lovers keeping a sago palm and a dog in the same confines is asking for trouble. The seeds from the sago palm are extremely poisonous and will kill a dog within a few hours of digestion. And, don't think your children are immune - this can seriously harm them as well.
How to care for your sago palm
Apart from the growing conditions mentioned above sago palms are quite easy to care for. A feed of a balanced fertiliser every six months and caution taken when watering (they don't need much) is really all these plants require. If your sago palm has become a leaf catcher then removing the built up compost from with the plants centre is paramount. Leaving it to rot down within the plant can cause a myriad of disease and fungus problems which are better prevented rather than trying to cure.