Houseplants forum: Sago Palm

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Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Spiders! Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants I helped beta test the first seed swap
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Chillybean
Nov 22, 2015 2:33 PM CST
Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)
This was a clearance item, but it didn't look in too bad of shape. The tag says it needs one cup of water, every two weeks. Ooo, nice. I bought a planter that should fit it for years to come. Sticking tongue out And the potting soil suitable for palms.
Thumb of 2015-11-22/Chillybean/d92982

Came home and looked up info about it. Well, the employee's description it should not get above waist height was wrong- up to ten feet! Ok, that's fine. Our downstairs ceilings are about that high, if I remember. But the database says it likes to be under potted, so as of now, it's in the original pot until I get the right size. So under potting is just putting it in a pot that would otherwise be considered too small for other plants?

And that abnormal branch... would it kill the plant if I just cut that off? I think it would look a lot nicer if it was uniform, but maybe the rest will come out like this eventually?

I am trying to overcome my black thumbs, so I hope you do not mind the questions.
Thank you so much.



Plantomaniac08
Nov 22, 2015 4:39 PM CST
I could be wrong, but I think that new leaf is a new growth, so I wouldn't cut it off. It's doubtful that it would kill it, but the leaves will get larger/longer over time, so it'd just be slowing the inevitable IMO.

I'm not very knowledgeable about growing these indoors, but they are grown in the ground here year-round and I've seen some huge ones. Blinking
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Nov 22, 2015 5:48 PM CST
I found two of them on sale this summer. I have been reading different discussion here in different forums. There are two discussing this plant in the Tropical forum

Recomended Palm ?
The thread "Recomended Palm ?" in Tropicals forum
and
Palms and Cycads
The thread "Palms and Cycads" in Tropicals forum

From what I have seen we will never see a big plant growing them in a pot. They are saying they get really big in the ground but still it takes years and years to get much growth.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Nov 22, 2015 10:22 PM CST
Usually the leaves tend to grow way longer when it is trying to get more sun. It may have been in a shaded spot so the new growth tried to find more light. If light conditions are good, it does not grow too long, at least that is what I have seen in my plants. I have trimmed a long leaf before, but I make sure the ones I am trimming off are the older leaves not the new growth from the center. The older leaves are the ones on the outer side. I get my new growth around late Spring to Summer time usually a batch of 10 to 12 leaf stalks at a time, and usually when our temps are soaring into the high 80's to mid 90's. If it is planted in ground, then it will have more resources so it can really grow much bigger.

During winter, since I grow them outdoors, I just let Mother Nature water it. It is quite drought tolerant, but your media has to be very well draining, it does not like being too soaking wet. And if you do plan to repot later, make sure you raise the caudex up a bit. I try to position this plant in a spot where it can get good sunlight and away from areas I frequent, those tips are rather sharp and pointy!

I had to repot mine a year ago to get the two babies and I was really being mean to it. Thankfully it is such a resilient plant..unfortunately, I think I may have been too mean on the babies..but it does have another baby at the base of it, and will leave it alone for now.

See how the new leaves form, this is from last July 2015
Thumb of 2015-11-23/tarev/2184fe Thumb of 2015-11-23/tarev/b24e4a
Thumb of 2015-11-23/tarev/350025 Thumb of 2015-11-23/tarev/e47f7a Thumb of 2015-11-23/tarev/3f3841

Pretty much at this cold season time of the year, they are in very slow growth, almost dormant actually, so less water for now. Once a month watering will be more than enough, especially if it is growing indoors. Come late Spring, you can bring it out so it can enjoy more of the sunshine and as it takes in more heat, it can then appreciate a bit more stepped up watering.
Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Spiders! Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants I helped beta test the first seed swap
Region: Nebraska Keeper of Poultry Rabbit Keeper Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 2
Chillybean
Nov 24, 2015 11:06 AM CST
Thank you all for the great info and links.

http://garden.org/thread/view_post/982292/ mentions repotting progressively larger pots more quickly than normal, but mentions to do it in the spring. I just happened to look at the bottom of the pot and found roots already growing out of the pot. The only other time I saw that happen was a philodendron and new leaves were dying off quickly.

What should I do about my palm? Repot now, or continue to wait. If this makes a difference on timing, we tend to keep our house at 68 degrees in the winter, but I wonder if the humidity is still high since it takes the soil in most of my plants a long time for the top to dry out between waterings.

I am going to have to develop a habit of writing down when I water this palm, so I can do the maximum 1 cup every two weeks. I guess I should ask this. The first time I watered after bringing it home, I watered it over the sink and whoosh... out came all the water. Is that normal, or should I have it sitting on a plate to catch the water and let it absorb some before dumping the rest out?

Thank you so much for your patience and time in answering my questions.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Nov 24, 2015 11:21 AM CST
I will wait for Spring to repot. It is better for the water to drain out during watering, don't let it sit on water. It will not like that. 68F is actually cool temps..so it will slow down in growth. So once a month watering indoors will be more than enough. You will have to treat this plant like a typical succulent growing indoors, less watering. As I have said, it is active at the the higher temps of 80's to 90's to triple digits.

I am thinking the soil is already too compacted so any water you put is just not swirling into the roots. You can try for now to gently poke holes on the soil, be careful of the roots ,so when you water the roots, it actually gets some water. But delay repotting.. Wait for the warmer months.
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Nov 24, 2015 12:51 PM CST
If you have forced air heat make sure it is not in the line of fire. By that I mean make sure that the vent is not blowing at the palm or in its directions.

Forced air heat is the worst for drying up plants. I have not had forced air heat in years but I remember killing a lot of plants because they were near heating vents.

My mom use to keep her heat up to 80 so it was so hot in her house I had to wear summer cloths when I had to sit in her house more than 10 minutes. It was truly hot and tropical at her house in the winter. Hilarious!

[Last edited by Cinta - Nov 24, 2015 12:53 PM (+)]
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Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Spiders! Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants I helped beta test the first seed swap
Region: Nebraska Keeper of Poultry Rabbit Keeper Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 2
Chillybean
Nov 25, 2015 9:28 AM CST
I checked and only my indoor weed (philodendron) was above a vent. Our heat is not as dry as natural gas or propane, we have geothermal, but I need to think of where to put that crazy thing. It was a gift that survived all this time.

I will post a picture later of what the roots of the palm look like. I will have to carefully cut the pot apart of get it out.

We have friends who keep the heat between 80-90 in the winter. Their plants thrive. Smiling

Plantomaniac08
Nov 25, 2015 11:59 AM CST
Wow, that's hot. ::fans self:: I like my low power bill, I keep it 74 in here. Hilarious!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
Image
tarev
Nov 25, 2015 12:03 PM CST
Indeed, those are super hot temps..nose bleed! I keep our house at 68F. Smiling
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Nov 27, 2015 12:25 PM CST
At 80-90 I would be dead forget happy plants. I have steam heat and there are times I turn that to 62. Steam heat is constant and it was too hot even for my mom when I turned it to 68 and she liked 80s.

I cannot take that much heat indoors. If it is dry heat like Arizona I was comfortable when their temps were running in the hundreds. As long as I can dress according, aka nude enough not to be arrested, I am fine with dry heat. Inside forget about it I have to be cool.

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