The Q&A Archives: Sago Palm from Seed

Question: How do I start a sago palm seed ?

Answer: Seeds develop slowly during the summer, become walnut-sized, turn from yellow to bright orange in the winter, and are ready to be removed from the female Sago in January through March of the following year. Seeds that are ready to harvest will easily pull off the plant and be about the size of a walnut.

If a seed is tiny or floats when placed in water, then it wasn't pollinated and won't sprout. Remove the orange skin by soaking in a bucket of water for a few days (change the water every day), then peel off the skin. Use gloves, otherwise your hands might turn orange! Once the seed has been cleaned and allowed to dry a day or two, they can be planted. Choose a shady, protected area to sprout your seed since "first leaves" can be tender.

Fill flats or containers (they need to be about 5-6" deep) with moistened potting soil and press the seeds 2/3 of the way into the soil so that only the top flat side can be seen. Water well, press the seeds down again if some "bubble" up and water again. It's important that you plant sago seeds on their side. To demonstrate this, take a handful, drop them on a soft floor and watch how they fall -- they fall on their sides just like if they fell out of a mother plant in the forest. Only the top flat side of the seed should peek out of the soil. Mother Nature usually covers them with falling leaves and natural mulch, but we'll have to improvise by covering them with a little extra potting soil.

Water the seed when the soil becomes dry about 1-2 inches down. You do not want to keep them constantly wet, yet you do not want them to dry out completely.

Seeds will sprout within a few weeks of being sown.

Good luck with your new Sago palm!

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