Sago Palm Growth

the_gardenerMarch 23, 2010

Forgive me for my basic questions as I'm new to gardening. I know sago palms grow really slow, but I think I read somewhere that the growth can be triggered but don't know how, can anybody here tell me how to make these palms grow fast?

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butiaman(8a Douglasville,GA.)

Is it in a pot or in the ground?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 10:01AM
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subtropix

Sagos tend to grow in annual spurts. A good number of the growers on this forum either grow these outside (where hardy) to put them out seasonally (mine for example are out from early March until some time in December). The outdoor triggers are easy (heat plus sun and a bit of fertilizer). Cycas revoluta (Sago palm) is not the easiest cycad if you are going to grow it as 100% indoor plant.--Sagos really enjoy life outdoors (even if only seasonal). Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 4:49PM
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butiaman(8a Douglasville,GA.)

Mine are in pots,15gal.size.Four years ago they were just 3gal. size.I put mine on each side of my driveway,on top of concrete in full sun,from mid March to the day before the frist freeze,whenever that happens to be.Everything I have read says not to give them a fast release fertilizer.This is what I do,I give them 1 tablespoon of epson salt the frist of march,I dont water in march unless it dont rain for two weeks.If I do water,it's luke warm water with no fertilizer.I start to give them all purpose mircle grow the frist of april, I give mine 1 teaspoon of MG to 2 gallons of water for each plant every other saturday,I give them 1 tablespoon of epson salt once a month till november.Mine put out two big flushes of fronds each summer,one in early summer and another in late summer.Remember mine are 15gal.size.So reduce or add for the size of yours.Mine are dark green and grew to a very large size very quickly,for cycads.I dont know why they say not to give them quick release fertilizer,I get great results with it.I forgot,I also give them Ironnite twice, once in early summer than again in say September.I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 7:57PM
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jimhardy

Not sure where your located but the best time to encourage growth would be late May when it is warm outside,so I guess you would need to put them outside.
(-;
I have made mine flush by putting lawn fertilizer on it,usually works in less than a week.
In the link I say to be careful with the lawn-fert but the next year I bombed it like 3-4 times with it(flush or die!),it flushed,Sagos are pretty tough!
Here is a thread I posted on it back in the day(-:

Here is a link that might be useful: Sago flushing

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 9:35PM
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tropicalzone7(7b)

Lawn fertilizer... Good Idea jim. Thats really high in nitrogen and must work really well as a last resort for growth. I wonder how good it is for normal heathy palms?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 10:09PM
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the_gardener

butiaman: It is in the pot.

njoasis: Thanks for the suggestions, I have placed it outdoors. Anything else I should do?

butiaman: Thanks, some great tips. That was helpful.

jimhardy: Thank you for that helpful thread. Your sago look cool in the pictures.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 12:41AM
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jimhardy

Your very welcome!

Lawn fertilizer is really not the best choice,I was bullying my Sago because it was LAZY-haha,just kidding I love my Sago-especially now that it is growing.
I will post a pic of it this summer when it flushes again-bully,bully!
Something like Carl Pools that has all the minors and the RIGHT ratio of NPK would be better.

Also,20-20-20 or something close to that
(tomato fertilizer)really gets them going,they really don't need all the P but.....my palms respond well to(K) potassium.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 5:07PM
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subtropix

Gardener, as long as your Sago gets lots of sun, fresh air, adequate but not excessive moisture and fertilizer, it will grow. As I said they grow in spurts. So a plant that essentially looks the same for months will suddenly put out up to dozens of new leaves. When it does begin to flush, make sure you do not damage the newly emerging fronds. When they are emerging they are very delicate and easily injured. After a few short weeks those delicate fronds become virtually indestructible. Cycads are not plants that can be rushed. They have been around forever and will be around when we all are dust. Why would any plant be in a hurry when it intends to be around for up to a 1000 years.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 6:27PM
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alabamatreehugger(8)

Where I live they don't even need full sun, they do quite well in the shade of pines and live oaks.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 10:00PM
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butiaman(8a Douglasville,GA.)

They are more closeley related to pines than palms.Thats why they are cone bareing plants.If you have ever seen a big male plants cone,it's impressive to see In person.I've only seen one in person in my life.Does anybody know how to tell a male from a female plant,before they start a cone or in the case of a seed sack on a female plant?Why I ask is I have two 15gal.plants and I cant tell any difference so far.One does have pups growing around it,but the other has none around it,they are both the same size,and the same age.They are both cycas revolutas also.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 10:34AM
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xerophyte_nyc(7)

Most Cycads are highly dependent on building up enough carb reserves in the caudex for a flush of leaves. Each species has an undefined threshold level that must be reached, along with the right temperatures and light, etc, before a leaf flush is initiated.

A high Nitrogen boost seems to be highly effective for this. Many species have nitrogen-fixing root nodules which gives us a clue: they need nitrogen, which is lacking in habitat. Artificially boosting N can trigger new growth quickly.

Lawn fertilizers tend to be high in N, so they work nicely. Just remember that the goal is a boost in nutrition for several weeks duration. Long-term all cycads must have a well-balanced fertilizer with all the micro-nutrients, especially Mn and Mg.

Another technique for quick growth is to cut off all the leaves. The plant needs leaves for photosynthesis so a new set can be formed prematurely if the old ones are removed. The new leaves however may be smaller and fewer in number than expected. This technique is used to speed up stem elongation. With each flush there is also cataphyll expansion and extension, which may be desirable for a grower looking for quicker gains in height.

What I do is wait until the weather is consistently warm and then I apply a well balanced fertilizer. After a few weeks, assuming the root tips are now active, I supplement one time with a granular, quick release lawn fertilizer and also a weekly drench with Miracle-Gro liquid lawn fertilizer for about 3-4 weeks +/-. As soon as I see signs of a flush - older leaves bending down, the growth point expanding - I stop with the liquid N and rely on the long-term granular fertilizer for the remainder of the growing season.

If all goes well, you can pretty much be guaranteed a nice new set of leaves about a month later or sooner. The only time this hasn't worked for me is for a recently transplanted Cycad. These tend to sit around for up to a year with no new growth.

x

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 7:43AM
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TT, zone 5b MA

x-

What kind of granular lawn fert do you use? I assume you can apply the same fert to sagos, zamia, and encephalartos...?

Thanks.

T

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 8:33AM
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xerophyte_nyc(7)

I can't think of which one of the top of my head, I think it's one of the Scott's brands. I know for sure it only has N-P-K with N around 25 or so. It is quick acting and has no herbicides or fungicides.

N is found as urea or ammonia. By mixing granular and liquid feed, the plant can take advantage of the good qualities of both. Also make sure to water thoroughly to wash out the salts, etc.

x

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 9:40AM
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jimhardy

Xero
Makes sense-I tried this because mine hadn't grown in 2 years.
One thing that was probably contributing to this was that I didn't give it much direct light during winter,probably depleted it's carb reserves over the winter-

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 11:53PM
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xerophyte_nyc(7)

If you can keep your cycads cold and dry enough during the winter they enter dormancy and metabolic activity slows down significantly, thereby maintaining rather than depleting starch reserves.

If it is too warm during the winter but there is inadequate water and/ or light you will see older leaves lose their coloration. What is happening is the plant is pulling nutrients out of the older leaves and shunting them towards new growth. Old leaves are "disposable". If you cut them off completely, a new set soon forms because photosynthesis is obviously critical, but depending on how much energy is stored, the new leaves won't be a full set.

One of the great things about Cycads is that their growth patterns are very predictable and can be manipulated for a variety of purposes.

x

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 12:07PM
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mooseling(Z5 CO)

Very interesting. I was wondering if I should be fertilizing my cycads. So far, only one has put up a frond. The rest are just chilling out. Probably literally, too. The one that sent the frond out is closest to the heater. I think I should wait to fertilize though - it's too cold for them to go outside and I've got too many to drag in and out every day.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 2:52AM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

Sago palms (Cycas revoluta) and cycads in general are slow-growing but grow in spurts. They grow new leaves in "flushes" that emerge and expand, all at once, and quite rapidly and can have one, two, or maybe more flushes per growing season (and occasionally none). I grow mine in pots and get one, sometimes two flushes a year. I've heard that using a high-nitrogen fertilizer will encourage flushing but since mine are in pots (and slowly but steadily outgrowing their allotted space!) I'm not trying to make mine grow fast so I don't fertilize heavily.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 10:45AM
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butiaman(8a Douglasville,GA.)

I've been reading more about cycads.I read where they can pull nitrogen out of the air.Has anybody read about this?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 11:26AM
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xerophyte_nyc(7)

Cycads will develop root nodules on the surface roots which contain Nitrogen-fixing bacteria. These modified roots are short, thick and bumpy. It is a symbiotic relationship, also seen with Legumes.

It probably accounts for a minor portion of Nitrogen intake. Fertilizing your plant should maximize a Cycad's growth potential, all else being equal.

x

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 5:59PM
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mrgreenthumb27

I have a potted indoor sago palm its in an east/south window I have noticed a flush of leaves but there is only one leaf coming out of the top of the crown i fertilized it will slow release fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season and again this month I water it when the soil is dry what do you think is causing this? can anyone help!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 5:57AM
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mrgreenthumb27

I have a potted indoor sago palm its in an east/south window I have noticed a flush of leaves but there is only one leaf coming out of the top of the crown i fertilized it will slow release fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season and again this month I water it when the soil is dry what do you think is causing this? can anyone help!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 6:04AM
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jimhardy

How big of a plant is it?
When they are small they only
flush a few at a time
until the Caudex gets bigger.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 1:57PM
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mrgreenthumb27

the trunk measures 2ft wide give or take this is the first time i'v seen new growth ever on this plant

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 7:36AM
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jimhardy

Any pics???
Can you take/post one?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 12:06PM
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subtropix

The trunk of the Sago is two feet wide and you have it on an indoor 'window sill?!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 2:07PM
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mrgreenthumb27

yeah it gets less than an hour of direct sunlight but bright light the rest of the day. The new growth ( Single frond dosn't seem to be streching so i guess its getting enough light and i don't let the soil dry out at this time of growth.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 5:33AM
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