Despite its common name, this exotic plant is not a true palm but a cycad, one of the most primitive of plants. It is extremely slow- growing and therefore usually quite expensive to buy.
Originally from Japan, where it grows under the tree canopy, it has a brownish pineapple-shaped stem from which projects a loose rosette of feathery fronds up to 31t/90cm long.
Each evergreen frond has a stiff central rib, from which emerge many closely packed 3-6-in/8-15-cm-long needlelike leaflets, arranged in a chevron pattern.
Some of the inner fronds are almost vertical, but most arch gracefully; the plant produces only one new set of leaves a year. Both male and female specimens are needed for cycas to produce its large red seeds, but they are not very likely to flower in pots, and if they do, must be hand-pollinated.
HEIGHT To 6ft/1.8m or more
POTTING MIX Equal parts of soil-based medium, peat moss, and coarse sand or perlite.
REPOTTING Repot every 2-3 years, in spring or fall.
PROPAGATION In spring, by potting the basal suckers, if any, or by sowing seed. Both methods are difficult for the amateur.
KEEPING PLANTS Put the plant outdoors in summer if it is warm. Plants live for many years; 60-year-old specimens are not unusual.
PLANT CARE of Cycas Revoluta JAPANESE SAGO PALM Cycadaceae
- Strong indirect light or sunlight all year.
- Minimum winter temperature of 40°F/4°C, with temperatures up to 65°F/18°C at other times.
- Allow to.dry between thorough waterings; water less in winter, especially if temperature is at the minimum.
- Feed once a month from spring to fall with weak liquid fertilizer.
- Scale insects, mealybugs, and red spider mites may attack this plant; check regularly for these pests.
- Overwatering causes the leaves to develop brown spots or patches; underwatering turns them yellow.
- New leaves unfurl like those of ferns. Take care: these tender young leaves are delicate and easily damaged.