Common name: Sago Palm
Regarded as the most commonly grown cycad in domestic gardens, Cycas revoluta is usually seen as a single trunked specimen in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate gardens.
Leaves, which form a rosette, are up to 1m long with each leaflet tipped with a sharp point. New foliage emerges as soft, green growth and matures over time to a stiff, dark green. This new growth flush is referred to as a ‘break’.
Offsets (commonly called ‘pups’) are frequently produced at the base and sides of the plant. These can be removed with care and grown on as a new plant.
Each plant will be either male or female, a feature known botanically as ‘dioecious’. Male flowers are created in a pineapple-like cone structure. Female flowers are short feather-like structures.
This plant is notoriously slow in poor growing conditions but with extra care, growth can be quite fast.
A number of foliage colouration and leaf shape variations exist overseas.
Old yellow leaves can be caused by overwatering or too much fertiliser.
New leaves that turn yellow are often caused by excess fertiliser or poor soil conditions.
Prone to scale attack.
Damage to frond tips is caused by the Australian native moth (Common Imperial Blue, Jalmenus evagoras) - caterpillars eat leaves resulting in serious damage. Spray all new growth with a system insecticide.
Best growing conditions:
- full sun to partial shade
- tolerates heavy rainfall provided the drainage is good
- well not tolerate wet poorly drained conditions
- mulched plants tend to grow more quickly
- tolerates light frost on matured leaves but does best in the subtropics.
Grow this cycad as a pot plant or in the garden as a mass planting or a single feature.
Do not plant near pathways due to spines.
Allow sufficient room for this plant to reach its full diameter – about 3 metres.
Well suited to dry and lush tropical gardens.
Written by Paul Plant, Editor of subTropical Gardening magazine - www.stgmagazine.com.au