The Q&A Archives: Sago Palm

Question: I bought two Sago Palms. IT says that it will survie in zones 9 thru 11. I live in zone 7 temperataure 0 to10 during the winter but not too often. What can I do to protect these palms during the winter. There are not too many nights where it goes below 20 . IF it does it is only for a few days.

Answer: There is a big difference between zone 9 and zone 7 so it may not be reasonable to expect these to overwinter outdoors successfully. For example, it would be better if you had a heated greenhouse to store them in each winter. However if you can plant them in a very sheltered microclimate, mulch very heavily in late fall and then wrap them for the winter they might survive. Some gardeners will mulch deeply and then cover the surface of the ground surrounding the plant with a layer of insulating styrofoam for extra protection. You could try wrapping the entire plant in burlap stuffed with a nonpacking material such as straw or oak leaves and then cover that with bubble wrap and then a layer of plastic to keep it dry. Leave gaps in the plastic to allow for some air circulation and prevent it from overheating on sunny days. Some gardeners will try unique methods such as enclosing the plant in a clear plastic tent or temporary greenhouse and then wrap the plant itself in a string of small lights, with the hope that running the lights on extra cold nights will put off enough heat to prevent the plant from freezing. This usually takes a certain amount of experimentation and may not work at all, but can be interesting to try. Your local nursery and/or county extension may also have suggestions based on knowing other gardeners who are succeeding with these locally. Good luck with your project!

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