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Sago Palm

November 2010

QuestionI have a large Sago Plant that I keep outside. It is doing well, but is now inside. I want to make sure I do the right thing during the time the plant has to be in the house. Should I water less, how often? Please give me some advice.

 

AnswerAll plants need less water when they are inside, so that is a given. I would water no more than once every two to three weeks. Sago palms should dry out between watering. I would not expect it to grow in leaps and bounds indoors either, so no fertilization indoors. If you have a bright sunny room that is on the cool side, that is where I would put the sago palm. I would also put it as far away from human traffic as possible, since it is not pleasant to rub against. Indoor conditions can be tough on houseplants and tropical’s, since indoor heat lacks humidity and low light is also tough. Cooler conditions tend to make the lack of humidity less of a factor. The key is to protect it from freezing.


September 2010

QuestionI saw this plant at a hotel in Aiken, South Carolina and I would like to know what it is and if it would do well in the Little Rock area? The climates seem to be comparable.

 

AnswerIt is a cycad commonly called Sago palm: Cycas revoluta. It has been overwintering in central Arkansas, but it often freezes back to the ground and then starts over in the spring. Last year with all the rain we had, and colder than normal winter, we did lose some. Drainage is critical. If you want them to start large each season, then they can be brought inside or in a garage for overwintering.


January 2010

QuestionWe see Sago Palms in yards where we live in Conway; will they over winter here? I have 2 in pots that I would love to plant in my flower beds. I see them in yards on the East side of homes and the South side. Also what about Banana Trees? I see bunches of them in yards and noticed yesterday that one yard had cut the trees to about two feet off the ground and had mulched them. They had a whole row of the trees. We always bring ours into the garage to over winter.

 

AnswerThere are a lot of plants that we are now overwintering outdoors that were not possible ten years ago. This year may be a test for us--or at least it is looking like it up front! Sago palms can overwinter, but may not be in-tact when it is over. If they get frozen back they should re-sprout from the root system. They are considered hardy to around 15 degrees F, but leaves can get nipped if
the temperatures are in the low 20's of if there is ice. If damage occurs, wait until late February to early March and cut off the damaged foliage. As long as the crown is firm and undamaged, it should re-sprout with spring growth. Bananas are similar. There are new varieties which are quite cold hardy--even in NW Arkansas, but even the older varieties have been overwintering with extra mulch. If you want large plants with the potential to bear fruit, then moving them in the garage each year is still the best bet. If you want a combination, leave half outside and move half in. Be sure to cut back the foliage after a killing frost and add several extra inches of mulch to protect the common varieties for the winter.


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