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Cycas revoluta

Sago palm

Reader rating

From 3 ratings

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Key information

Plant type

Evergreen shrub

Flower colour

Yellow

Feature

Dramatic foliage

Hardiness

Hardy

Skill level

Beginner

photo by bbc.co.uk/gardening

Plant details

Despite its common name, this plant is not in fact a palm but in fact a cycad. Originally from Japan and Korea, it has been cultivated for centuries. It's undemanding and easy to care for, and can also be kept as a long-lived house plant. It has a reputation for being slow-growing, but it will often suddenly swing into action and grow several new leaves within a matter of weeks. A sago palm make a great addition to a summer patio, but larger specimens can also be planted out into the garden. Mature plants can withstand quite severe frosts, but do insulate any younger plants against cold weather.

Genus: Cycas

Species: revoluta

Plant type: Evergreen shrub

Flower colour: Yellow

Foliage colour: Dark green

Feature: Dramatic foliage

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 150cm

Spread: 100cm


Reader reviews

marlyclay

I have read that this plant is very toxic and has been known to cause liver damage and death to many pet dogs.Anyone else know of this?If so ,should it not have a warning label on it ,particulary as it seems such a popular plant to sell in so many well known retail garden centres


Maximus2

Despite being touted as an easy plant to grow, this plant does need care. You won't be able to just leave it in a pot. You have to be careful not to over or under water (yellow leaves or crown rot will result), over/under feed (again yellow leaves) and although it likes full sun, I have also read not during the middle of the day or for too long. Rather indirect light is best, perhaps filtered through a voile curtain. It won't tolerate frost, so don't plant it outside in the UK, and this plant doesn't like to be repotted. So if you pot it up wrong to begin with (e.g. not enough drainage in the bottom) you have a problem on your hands. It's very slow-growing, although if all the leaves turn yellow and you cut them off, you might have a big flush of leaves that grow 20cm or more in the space of a month.


Susanne Pope

Marlyclay you are absolutely correct - this plant is HIGHLY TOXIC TO DOGS AND HUMANS. Most adults wouldn't chew on it, but children could be attracted, especially by the berries, and I know of 3 dogs affected by chewing it - and 1 is fighting for his life (July 2014)


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