This unique plant resembles a palm tree but is actually a cycad. These living fossils, members of the Cycadaceae family, dominated the landscape during the Mesozoic era over 150 million years ago. Today about 10 genera of cycads still survive. The most commonly grown is the Japanese sago, also called the sago palm (even though it isn't really a palm).This very symmetrical plant supports a crown of shiny dark green leaves on a thick shaggy trunk that can grow to 10-12 ft (25.4-30.5 m) high. The plant is very slow gowing requiring about 50 years to achieve this height. As the plant matures branching of the thick stem may occur which only adds to the interest and charm of this beauty. Japanese sago also tends to produce suckers at its base forming a large multi-stem clump over time.
The sago palm is native to Japan's southern most islands. This is a subtropical area of high rainfall and warm temperatures. As a result, this beautiful plant is right at home in Florida and throughout the Gulf Coast.
Plant in sandy, fast draining soil, preferably with some organic matter. Also recommended is a light mulch of bark or leaf mold. Plants appreciate light feedings of balanced, slow release fertilizer granules or diluted liquid fertilizers. Strong fertilizers, fresh manure and the like are best avoided as they can damage the sago's coralloid roots (specialized structures that host blue-green algae that fix nitrogen from the air and make it available to the plant).
Publisher: Hirt's Gardens
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