The Q&A Archives: Planting a Sago Palm

Question: I just purchases a sago palm. I have received conflicting advice on whether to plant it on the northeast corner of my house where it will get about 6-7 hours of sun and shade in the afternoon or in another spot that gets only 3-4 hours of sun and is in shade the remainder of the day. Which would you recommend? Also, we have heavy clay soil, how should I amend the soil for transplanting? I live in Zone 8 near Dallas, Tx and our weather varies a great deal. What would you advise I do for it in the winter?

Answer: Cycas revoluta, or Sago Palm, has airy, lacy, fern looking foliage in youth, but takes on more of a palm appearance as it ages. The plant likes partial shade, so if you can protect it from afternoon sun during the hottest months of the year it will thrive. Give your plant regular watering during the growing season and prepare the bed prior to planting by spreading 3"-4" of organic matter over the surface and digging it in. Don't just amend the planting hole or the roots will stay where it's moist and rich. This can lead to girdling as the roots circle around and around. Instead, incorporate the organic matter over a large area to encourage the roots to spread out and explore. Sago is a tough and hardy plant (to 15F degrees) so no protection is necessary unless you expect extremely cold weather.

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