Got a sago palm, have a few questions....

chippy(7)April 25, 2007

Hi all,

Got this Sago palm in today.

Can anyone tell me any info about it? Is it planted correctly? Can I use fertilizer that I use for my palms from TMS?

Full sun? Slow growth rate? water frequently?

Sorry for all the questions, I'm very new to this plant.



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shiollie(z5 MI)

A Sago is not a palm, it is a cycad. It is my understanding that they need much more nitrogen than palms do. On watering, let it dry out before watering again, remember it is actually a desert plant. I believe that the growth rate is rather slow but someone else will chime in to confirm or deny.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 11:31AM
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Thanks for the info. I was aware that its a cycad, just got used to everyone calling it a palm.
Pretty nice looking plant. Since its a desert plant, I hope the humidity hear in NY doesn't affect it. I was actually going to get another one, I guess ill wait for more input.

Any other suggestions will be appreciated.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 1:09PM
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cycadjungle(z9b Cent FL)

Well, for one it IS NOT a desert plant. Cycas revoluta comes from Japan (and Rykuru islands) where it is used for food during times of famine (thus the name "sago" palm, sago is a food substance)They usually grow in full sun on hillsides, which means they can tolerate water, but in habitat, the water drains quickly. The plant prefers full sun. Other than that, what I would suggest is to read articles about cycads in general, but all you need to know about this species is that it likes full sun and water regularly (and if the people that you bought it from said it likes it dry they know nothing about this plant) Here are some good general articles on cycads:

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 2:33PM
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cycadjungle(z9b Cent FL)

I forgot to mention, see those white spots on a few of the leafbases on the right side of the close up? That is either Asian scale or the remnants of the scale. It could have been shipping in from Miami or somewhere else in south Florida. I would watch it to make sure they are all gone, or dead.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 10:59PM
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Thank you for your reply. I will closely watch it for any diseases.
This plant came from TMS in California. Not sure if it was grown by them or they got it somewhere else.

I do have a couple of questions...
How does one know that its growing? I'm confused about the "flush" that occurs 2 times per year (more or less?)
I know on my palms I see the center spear coming up. Does this actually lose all its branches to produce new ones or will little branches be seen emerging from the base?

Thanks for the link as well. I will try to read it more when time is allowed. Background color of the link strains my eyes. :-/

THanks in advance for your help!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 6:40PM
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cycadjungle(z9b Cent FL)

Palms have a continuous growth pattern, so you are seeing a new leaf all the time. As the newest leaf is about finished, you can always see another one coming out. Cycads produce a group of leaves all at the same time which some people call a flush. I may have my number off by 1 or 2, but from the looks of the plant, you will see that your plant produced a flush of 7 leaves at the same time. See the gap from the top leaves compared to the lower leaves that have spread down a little? So, each time the plant will produce a new batch from the middle. When the plant is getting ready to produce more leaves, you will see the gap in the middle getting wider, where right now, those 7 leaves are pretty close together. Cycads will usually produce more leaves each flush as it gets larger, so next time, that plant could produce 7 to 9 leaves, and the ones that are more upright in the picture will pull down a little like the others are now. If the plant is healthy and growing well, you should be able to keep old leaves and then a new flush can add to the amount of leaves the plant has. As an example, if you are getting 7 leaves in a flush, and I can get 4 flushes in a year, I could take that plant and put 28 more leaves on it by the end of the year.
Sorry about the blue swirl, I thought the blue was sort of cool looking. I have had 4 people complain about the background though, but that is in 9 years.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 10:43PM
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Is it just me or does that not look like a sago? It looks like some other cycad to me. I'm not very knowledgeable about cycad IDs but that doesn't look anything like mine or the ones I see littering the stores here. It seems as if all anybody carries is C. revoluta, I've never seen another cycad for sale here.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 8:04AM
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cycadjungle(z9b Cent FL)

It looks like a revoluta to me. The stem will color up more as it gets older. Maybe it is the way the leaves are shaped. You can see that the plant was growing in more sun when the lower leaves were produced as compared to the newer leaves which came up in a lower light situation. It would probably look more like what you are used to if it was in all day fun sun. Here in central Florida, the HDs have revolutas, Z. furfuraceas, and coonties. A couple of the ones daring to try something different have carried a few more species like Zamia vazquezii and Dioon edule. Luckily there are places like The Cycad Jungle that have 100 species that can be shipped when I look for something unusual and hard to find.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 2:05PM
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Awesome info. Thanks all.
This is a new plant to me so the info has shed some light. I guess theres really no way to tell if its growing until you see a flush.
What happens if something goes wrong such as a disease or malnutrition? Will the branches turn color?
I know on 2 of the lower branches, the leaves are yellow on about 1 inch of each. But this was the way I received it so maybe it was due to shipping in a box?
If the branches get worse, is it wise to snip them?


    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 3:34PM
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The Cycad Jungle has many to choose from, but looking at the web site, the price they want for the size of caudex is rediculous. I'll stick with Robert Chumley (who taught Tom Broome everything he knows about cycads) of Chumley's Cycads. He always has unbeatable prices for the size of caudex and always throws some extras in. Plus, he has more species than to choose from than Cycad Jungle and Tom Broome.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 11:46PM
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cycadjungle(z9b Cent FL)

I don't want to get into any arguements here, but you have just mentioned something that I need to address because this is VERY wrong, and one of the reasons I have a problem with him. I have heard from more than a few people that Bob has told them that he taught me everything that I know about cycads. That comment is so ridiculous it is unbelievable! Yes, we used to talk about cycads when I would go over to the nursery he worked for, but what I have actually learned about cycads from Bob is VERY LITTLE. He helped a little as the first source when I first started growing cycads 20 years ago. I'm not going to go into what Bob knows and compare it to what I have learned about cycads. I learned twice the amount about cycads from Larry Bussell (who taught Bob when they used to go to Mexico and remove cycads from the wild) than I ever learned from Bob. Larry is the only person I have ever met who instinctively understands cycads. When I first started growing cycads, I had many questions, and nobody, including Bob could answer my questions and most people told me that "nobody has ever tried that before". I was forced to perform many, many controlled experiments on my own to find out the truth on how these plants work. You can forward this to Bob too, like was done before on another thread if you like, but if Bob tells you that he taught me everything that I know, and truly believes that, he gives himself way too much credit. Also, if he thinks this, let him be the person on this forum to answer everyone's questions on cycads for now on! Lets see if he cares to do what I do for free!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 2:49PM
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I think that this needs to be brought to the attention of others here.

CycadJungle: "Luckily there are places like The Cycad Jungle that have 100 species that can be shipped when I look for something unusual and hard to find."

This post is from just 4 posts IN THIS THREAD.!!! You prove your worthyness in that post. You ARE CYCAD JUNGLE, so why would you say, "Luckily there are places like The Cycad Jungle that have 100 species that can be shipped when I look for something unusual and hard to find."???????
Why would you put "I" when YOU ARE "I"??? Do you order cycads from yourself???????
That post made it sound as if you are some other person than the one that owns the company.
It's not very good business practice to lie to the public.
And no, Robert never told me that he taught you everything you know about cycads. That was just me. In fact Robert said NOTHING about you. Robert would NEVER say anything bad about ANY other person. I knew you were "cycadJungle", and saw how your post tried to deceive people on this board by saying that when you need something thats hard to find, you call them (which of coarse is yourself). You fell right into the trap.
So, do you sell many cycads to yourself? When you call yourself on the phone, are you able to answer all your questions? Does yourself give yourself good customer sevice?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 4:12PM
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cycadjungle(z9b Cent FL)

Boy wannabe, you are a clever person! You figured out something that should have been pretty obvious to all of the regulars to this forum, maybe to even the new guy, with my username and all. I'm sure you realize that I can't tell this guy outright that I know where he can find what he was trying to find because of the rules of the forum. I'm not supposed to send direct links to my sale page like your good buddy does. At least with a third party reference, it might have been alright, but, instead you decided to write something that would include everything that would provoke me, except calling my mother names and at least you made me bite at a recent sore subject that you have provoked before. Not only have you now made it where I will get the e-mail from the forum person, but you have started something that I'm sure will form a larger wedge between two people that were very good friends years ago, and for no good reason than to bring out the obvious. The regulars will be able to thank you every time a new person comes in looking for cycad information that might be slightly harder than the regular easy stuff, and nobody helps them with their problems. I'm sure your buddy will be here to answer all their questions for now on.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 10:57PM
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Good Job !
"I'm sure your buddy will be here to answer all their questions for now on ".

Well if he's not at least we know we want be lied to
anymore by some one trying to make a sale !

I don't think anyone on this forum will listen to anything you have to say..
futhermore i don't understand why you have to make some big charade on the forum just to improve your business..

Do you make it a habit of lying to all your customers ?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 11:29PM
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I am sure he will too:-) After all, he cares about the cycads and the other trees, the money he might get is nothing to him. He cares about helping people learn about cycads, not selfeshly promoting his store with third person statements.
How where you answering a question with, "Luckily there are places like The Cycad Jungle that have 100 species that can be shipped when I look for something unusual and hard to find."????????

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 11:31PM
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It does seem like a marketing type of thing and its obvious hes the owner/employee, however, I don't mind.
If it gets him a sale, then so be it. There is much great info on the that site and its a site that I never knew about.

So Thank you for pointing it out!

If we can get back on topic here, it would be great....

Can anyone address the last post I made? Also, I'm seeing some tiny spots on the leaves, yellowish color. They are like dotted.
Could this be a shock from transplanting it? Some of the leaves are also like "coiling" up.
Hope this thing makes it!


    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 12:33PM
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If so they are probaly scale
Do not cut the other fronds until a new flush appears
If you see some browning it is probaly from transplant just give it some time..
oh by the way i had a king i just got from tms covered in fungus ! don't know what they are or are not doing to them
Good Luck !

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 1:00PM
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No, they aren't hard. Its just a color. Nothing that can be felt. Almost like freckles.... lol

Thanks for the advice. I will take a pic when I can.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 2:56PM
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Here are some pics:

This pic shows the little dots which are on most of the branches.

This is also something I seen today. This branch seems to be much lower than others. Its appears very weak. It also has some type of "gel" like gooey substances on the base where it comes out from. Is this something worry about? Is the branch broken or need to be cut off?
Actually, pic got deleted on my cam!! Ill try to take a picture tomorrow.

Here is a pic of some of the leaves on the branches. They seem to be coiling up....

Any suggestions?


    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 6:03PM
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Did you have this tree in shade or in a greenhouse when you bought it?
It could be sun burning. I know some times mine get those spots early after I put them outside without slowley bringing them out from shade. Not to worry thou as it will flush a new set soon and if you do not like the old spotted leaves, you can cut them off.
I wouldn't worry too much about this tree, these are almost impossible to kill.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 9:01PM
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I would have to agree with florida_wannabe on this. Tom wasn't Robert the one who taught you everything you know about cycads in general ?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 4:37PM
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Why does this whole thing with Tom & Bob keep coming up? I have bought stuff from both of them and am glad that the world has both of them.

Tom posts on several web sites and always has (free) advice & experiences to share. He is never arrogant or disrespectful - always gracious and helpful. As an amateur cycad enthusiast, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the research he has done (and information published). While some of us may get tired of seeing the 10,000 questions asked about 'sago palms', Tom graciously tries to help and answer questions such as the one posed in this thread (and make a point in his crusade against CAS). Thanks Tom.

Anyone interested in buying cycads & not sure who to trust on the internet can rest assured that he's the real deal. I have no problem with people posting links to their businesses as long as they are legit & offer a relevant service to those who are viewing the thread. If he were posting links to V I A G R A or some other BS, then it would be unwelcome and he should be rightly shot or hanged.

Bob is also a nice guy whom I have bought a few plants from. Always helpful, always throws in and extra plant or seeds or whatever. His web site is not as informative as Tom's, but he knows his dioons & ceratozamias better than I ever will. Another trustworthy source.

BTW - Chip, the sago looks great. You have a nice plant. After it flushes, be prepared for nothing to happen for another year (unless you fertilize regularly & have warm weather). As long as it's green (not brown, yellow or covered with white crud), it's healthy.

Cheers & Happy New Year!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 8:47PM
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Well said! Now let's end this silly feud please. New year's resolution anyone?


    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 10:24PM
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petsitterbarb(Zone 6, N.E. OK)

I just got a warning email regarding Sago Palm from in New York. Apparently the Sago Palm will cause fatal liver failure if ingested.
As a petsitter, I want to warn all that have pets or children of this fact. Also heard from another petsitter that knows of a dog that died from playing tug-o-war with a piece of this palm. Anyway..please help spread the word. Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 2:35PM
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puglover2(USDA 10A (S Calif))

The plant that is commonly known as "sago palm" is cycas revoluta. An early post in this thread stated that this plant was used for food in Japan. The true sago palm, metroxylon sagu, is indeed sometimes eaten. However, the cycad revoluta, commonly known as a sago palm, is very poisonous to both humans and animals and should NEVER be eaten.

I wouldn't have bothered to correct cycadjungle on this except that the misinformation could prove fatal.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 3:33PM
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Doesn't change the fact that historically this cycad (and many others as well) have been used as food sources, toxic or not. The starch (Sago) has to be treated properly to leach out the cyacins, but it is an age old and fairly well known process (not by me as I don't go about eating cycads) and in some areas of Afria and Asia, cycads are still an important food source. You just have to know how to prepare them.

Cycadjungle (Tom) was not incorrect in mentioning that point, though indeed a Sago Palm (Metroxylon) is a completely different plant, and is ALSO eaten by some of the native populations (as are many other palms). You can read about some of the differences here:

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 6:27PM
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I have a Cycad Revoluta (I Believe) which has produced many large seeds. Question what is the best way to get them to germinate?. I live on the coast in the tropics

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 10:50PM
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Tom Broome is the man to talk to or go to about anything to do with cycads.

I have grown way too many sagos from pups. In my experience their growth rates vary quite a bit.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 8:35AM
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