Palms and cycads are very versatile in the landscape. A grouping of palms and cycads of the same species or with plants other than palms makes an interesting tropical landscape when accented by soft lights.
Although palm-like in appearance, sago palms are not true palms but are primitive plants called cycads, according to Clemson University. They grow slowly and can be easily overgrown by other nearby plants in the landscape, if not provided adequate spacing. In South Carolina, the sago palm (Cycas revoluta) is grown in the eastern part of the state.
“This evergreen cycad is native to the tropical islands of southern Japan,” according to information from the University of Florida IFAS Extension, “but it grows well in the subtropics of the United States: in particular, Florida, Georgia, and Puerto Rico. Sago palm grows well in full sun or partial shade but exhibits larger leaves in more shaded situations.”
”More importantly, take caution when using this plant as an accent in home landscapes, since it contains a strong neurotoxin that can paralyze or even kill animals or humans who ingest it,” the University of Florida IFAS also warns.
The University of Georgia’ Cooperative Extension suggests fertilizing in early April and early September. “As with palms, cycads will show yellowing of older leaves with a magnesium deficiency. Yellowing and frizzling of new leaves may indicate symptoms of a manganese deficiency in Sago’s. Sago’s growing in the shade should receive less fertilizer than Sago’s in the sun. Sago’s have one or two flushes of new leaves per year.”
Sago palms can be propagated by removing the offsets or planting the bright red seeds of the female plant.