Sago palm (Cycas revoluta) is a member of the Cycadaceae family and not a true palm, even though the leaves resemble palm fronds. Sago palms are sometimes referred to as sage palms, king sago, funeral palm and Japanese sago palm. Native to the southernmost islands of Japan, sago palms grow best in USDA zones 8b through 11outside or in containers in other areas. Caring for sago palms begins at planting and requires patience for this long-lived, slow-growing evergreen shrub.
Plant your sago palm in a location providing full sun to partial shade and sandy, well-draining soil. Allow enough room for the full size of the plant, as they reach over 10 feet tall with 4- to 8-foot spreads.
Dig a hole the same depth of the container or root ball and twice as wide. Place your sago palm in hole, backfill and saturate with water to settle soil around sago palm’s roots.
Water the sago palm with 1 inch of water weekly, if the top few inches of soil is dry. Allow the top 1 inch to dry for potted plants. Water your sago palm less often during the winter.
Cover the area with 3 to 4 inches of mulch (leaf mold or bark). Keep the mulch away from the trunk and extend it out annually, as needed, to cover the drip-zone of the sago palm.
Apply a fertilizer, such as 6-2-0 in the spring and again at the end of summer. Follow the package instructions, and remember it is better to apply less fertilizer than more.
Remove spent fronds and any offsets appearing around the trunk, if needed.